If you’ve been following Toronto’s largest, public 4/20 event the past few years you’ve noticed the crowd steadily growing each year. Two years ago, 4/20 2016, Yonge and Dundas Square was packed with people celebrating to the point it was spilling out onto the streets. This was when the organizers, Chris & Erin Goodwin where told they would be granted one more permit for 4/20, (2017) but would need to relocated for the following (2018) celebration. That’s what sparked the decision to relocate to Nathan Phillip Square for the annual festivities.
Just a matter of weeks prior to the event, the organizers were notified that their permit application had been denied. The main issue appeared to be a no smoking by-law for the area. With the permit being denied so close to the event there was no time to relocate or adjust, the show must go on.
Those close to and following the organizers on social media were notified as everything progressed. With the permit not being granted it meant that vendors/booths wouldn’t be allowed as well, access to the stage was blocked. Luckily the organizers thought ahead, bringing battery powered speakers for music and speeches.
The morning started out slow with a large police presence standing off in the distance that disrupted anyone setting up a booth looking to vend products. There was some discussion about people being able to vend behind the speakers, but this was shut down shortly after.
With no official booths for people to purchase from, there was a lot of people in the crowd looking and asking for products. Some people took advantage of this, selling edibles, pre-rolls, clones, seeds, concentrates, etc. Around 2pm the square really started to fill up as people grabbed a spot to celebrate 4:20.
As anticipation grew to the 4:20 count down, speakers such as Katy Perry of Grow Op Hydroponics and patient advocate Tracy Curley shared their message with the crowd. Following the speakers, comedians Vandad Kardar and Mike Rita took the stage for some comedy.
As the clock ticked closer to 4:20, the crowd got tighter as the joints started to get lit up. There were thousands of people gathered together to celebrate 4/20 and everything cannabis, as the smoke blew over the crowd at 4:20pm. Music ensued as everyone hung out. A little while later one of the organizers, Erin Goodwin, came on the speakers asking everyone to pick up some garbage on their way out.
The crowd stuck around for a while, continuing to sesh and slowly disperse. It wasn’t until almost 7:00pm when we decided to leave a surprisingly still busy Nathan Phillip Square.
As always Chris and Erin Goodwin put on an amazing event, despite the new issues they face each year. There was some confusion for the regular event attendees who were expecting vendors. Hopefully next year with legalization, a proper permit will be granted allowing for vendors, stage, security, etc. For those who weren’t able to access the products they were looking for, the 20th Global Marijuana March is the next Toronto cannabis event happening in Queens Park on May 5th.
Thanks you again to all the organizers and volunteers who made this event possible. Big thanks to everyone who took the time out of their day to come down to celebrate in Nathan Phillip Square.
You can find information on the origin story of 4/20 here.