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Stoners gather at Yonge-Dundas Square for 4/20

Posted by Mariam Matti / April 20, 2012

4/20 Weed TorontoHundreds gathered at Yonge-Dundas square to partake in the yearly celebration that is 4/20. A cloud of thick smoke rose over the square at 4:20 p.m. as everyone (yup, even the wee teenagers) lit their joints and bongs.

The crowd was made up of predominantly 18 to 30 year olds, though there were a few of the requisite Timothy Leary types hanging around too. More entertaining was the dude dressed in a cannabis leaf with a QR code on the back (sign of the times I'd say). Some guy was enjoying the day so much that he was taking a... err... refreshing shower in the fountains running in the square.

Police stood surrounding the square as passer byers made non-sensical remarks to them. A overly happy teenager wished the officer, "Happy weed day!" One of the officers who has been at the event yearly remarked that it is always people coming together in a positive way. Not everybody felt that way, though.

4/20 Day TorontoAs the crowd dispersed, I noticed a Sun News reporter wearing a gas mask that looked like it was from the First World War. He was interviewing/mocking one of the participants, who seemed to be transfixed by the mask. It actually looked scary (or maybe at that point I was starting to feel the effects myself).

I guess some people can never get into the spirit.

4/20 Toronto4/20 Toronto4/20 Day Toronto420 Day Toronto420 Day Toronto420 Day Toronto4/20 Day Weed Toronto4/20 Weed Toronto4/20 Weed Toronto4/20 Day TorontoPhotos by Tom Ryaboi



gr1mey / April 20, 2012 at 07:25 pm
chong / April 20, 2012 at 07:37 pm
why do all dope smokers look like losers and try-hards.
Mike / April 20, 2012 at 07:40 pm
I would say that it looks like a lot of people called in sick to work today to attend the gathering, but you need to be employed to do that.

You like to smoke weed? Awesome. Do it in the privacy of your own home.

Demonstrations like this are just stupid.
Foghorn O'Kalashnikov / April 20, 2012 at 07:45 pm
Poor doggy. I'm sure he loved having "clothes" put on him so he can't see, being dragged out in the rain to a rowdy crowd stomping around him and breathing in low quality weed mixed with streetcar fumes.
Mason / April 20, 2012 at 07:45 pm
@chong Only the people who go to things like this look like that
Ach… replying to a comment from Mike / April 20, 2012 at 07:46 pm
they said the same thing about homosexuals
Doug / April 20, 2012 at 07:50 pm
Why didn't Rob Ford attend??
asa / April 20, 2012 at 07:53 pm
@Mike doesn't like people having the right to protest for what they .
Mike replying to a comment from Ach… / April 20, 2012 at 07:53 pm
Yup, you're right. The horrible struggle faced by stoners to make weed legal is so very similar to the decades-long fight that gays and lesbians went through (and are still going through in many places) for basic human rights.

Burnouts are probably the most oppressed people in the world.
Dope replying to a comment from Mike / April 20, 2012 at 08:04 pm
Mike your stupid, this is not a demonstration, this is a celebration and also a protest to LEGALIZE IT, that why we go out on street..
I only smoke weed in my house, without bothering anyone, but on 4-20 its a different meaning!
Whoa / April 20, 2012 at 08:18 pm
I bet these people only leave their parents' basements for these gatherings.
Pietro Garcia replying to a comment from chong / April 20, 2012 at 08:18 pm
You're right ... I prefer to look like a winner with my suit behind a desk, working 12 hrs a day to die with no time to enjoy life. But sure you don't seat behind a desk, you must be a manager, for sure!
Mike replying to a comment from asa / April 20, 2012 at 08:29 pm
Not at all. By all means, people can protest away for anything they like. It doesn't mean that I have to agree with them or take them seriously.
Peoplerespectcleanliness replying to a comment from Pietro Garcia / April 20, 2012 at 08:30 pm
Smoking pot, looking like a dogs breakfast implies you're enjoying life?
Sure people love weed, but why is it those who look like garbage are the only ones who attend this crap?
Plenty of decent looking people smoke weed more than you and your like do, yet you all wonder why you get such a bad wrap.
Be presentable and your cause will get the attention it deserves.
Evan / April 20, 2012 at 08:37 pm
So much judgement. Stoners are entitled to get together and have a good time just like anyone else.
Sean / April 20, 2012 at 08:43 pm
I have to be honest - I don't really care if people smoke weed or not. I just can't stand the smell. You can smoke it all you want as long as you're "responsible," but it stinks like hell and I don't want to have to smell it, you know?

Keep that indoors, in your apartment, if you want everything to stink. I don't want to.
Bill Harris / April 20, 2012 at 08:52 pm
I work in a professional setting, I am clean cut and well behaved, and I use marijuana. I do so in my own home, and I don't "blow my smoke" in other people's faces, as it were.
I hate this gathering. The type of people who attend this gathering are the reason pot is still illegal. If everyone were to use it responsibly and maturely, there would be no issue with legalization.
You guys are your own worst enemies.
R replying to a comment from chong / April 20, 2012 at 09:12 pm
"why do all dope smokers look like losers and try-hards."

They only look like that to people who believe that one should never act silly, dress casually, protest unjust laws, or have spontaneous fun in the company of others. I feel sorry for those people.
Chris / April 20, 2012 at 09:56 pm
I went there. Not everyone looked like a loser and "try-hard". The photos shown here are obviously just photos of the most colourful people at the demonstration. Some people looked like regular people.

Marijuana is a safe and fun drug that causes a temporary and pleasant psychoactive reaction. Because some people irrationally think the government should prevent this particular type of happiness, billions are wasted on a pointless drug war, racial minorities are disproportionately charged with drug crimes, prisons are overflowing with people who never did anything to harm anyone, and worldwide underground drug cartels result in the death of thousands of people every year. So these people should be applauded for standing up against this drug war insanity, and one of the best ways of convincing people that the war needs to be stopped (in particular with regards to marijuana) is for people to realize that marijuana is a harmless, safe, and enjoyable plant that peaceful people use recreationally and responsibly.
Mike replying to a comment from Chris / April 20, 2012 at 10:05 pm
Chris, you seem intelligent. In your honest opinion, how many people there were "standing up against this drug war insanity?" I'm guessing very few would know anything about a drug war and were there to get high in public.

Please don't pretend that this is a noble cause. Nobody was there because lives are being lost in places like Mexico because of underground drug cartels. They were there to get high in public and "protest" the fact that they can't legally buy weed.
Jacob replying to a comment from Doug / April 20, 2012 at 10:19 pm
Rob Ford didn't attend because people were getting high and being happy, not getting drunk and abusing their wives.
~la replying to a comment from Mike / April 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm
whether or not those in attendance are there for so called "noble" causes is irrelevant. we should be examining WHY cannabis is illegal!

how does the government benefit from this?
how do, oh say, pharmaceutical companies benefit..

start digging deeper people. examine the issues that aren't on the 6o'clock news
T420 / April 20, 2012 at 11:05 pm
Haters gonna hate!
meh / April 21, 2012 at 12:45 am
word to that T420!
K.T / April 21, 2012 at 01:03 am
All those people should have been arrested for smoking in public! Smoke, drugs are all disgusting! Why do people still need that in their life in this day and age! Learn how to be stronger and stop depending on stupid things that is just gonna cause you cancer or an illusion that you're life is gonna be better! Bunch of idiots!
GG / April 21, 2012 at 01:10 am
"Potheads are losers and stuff, yeah!" *drinks alcohol and celebrates St. Patty's*
thinkaboutit replying to a comment from Foghorn O'Kalashnikov / April 21, 2012 at 01:38 am
Firstly, could you clarify what 'streetcar fumes' are? You know that they're electric, right?

Now, more to the point of this article, it is an issue which you (kind of) raised that, being smoke, it can be unpleasant for those around the smoker. The same is true of tobacco, but it is particularly interesting to note here.
Bobby / April 21, 2012 at 03:26 am
Everyone who posted something negative really hates who they are and the manufactured purpose of their lives. It's really sad what we have become. One day we will all wake up. I don't smoke pot at all and I completely accept this protest.
Derek B / April 21, 2012 at 04:18 am
I love weed. I smoke it almost daily and I am stoned right now.

Something like this would be a lot of fun. I went to some 4/20 thing back at Queen's Park a few years ago and it's a trip. Really good vibe. So Dundas Square would have been great too.

I hate the Grateful Dead. I hate hippies for the most part as well. I don't care if weed ever gets legalized because it's not exactly hard to find. It makes me happy that this can happen in Toronto and nothing bad comes from it.

I'm glad BlogTO was there to take photos. Thanks guys!
Larry / April 21, 2012 at 06:33 am
What the "haters" fail to acknowledge is that a large group of people got together to protest and draw attention to this cause. They did it without yelling and screaming, no taunting or baiting of the police, no damage to public property, no getting sh#t faced on legal alcohol and going nuts. Just a large group of people getting together in a peaceful manner to bring attention to a cause. Pretty hard to hate that whether you smoke or
Larry replying to a comment from K.T / April 21, 2012 at 06:37 am
@K.T. Do your research, cannabis is showing to help reduce and reverse cancer but is suppressed by Big Pharma who can patent it, in this day and age? It's been a medicine for 1000's of years and only illegal for 60+ years with 0 deaths attributed to it's use. Check your facts.
Sarah / April 21, 2012 at 08:00 am
People need to lighten up. Just because I don't smoke weed or am not the type to go and celebrate/protest or whatever, and just because I don't agree with it, doesn't mean people don't have the right to do it and I should sit online bitching about it and come up with some moronic explanation to defend my view.. Lighten up people!! 7 billion live in this world, we're all bound to disagree at some point!
Rob / April 21, 2012 at 08:00 am
Seems like the Occupy Toronto sheeple have found another reason to gather.
thisguyisanidiot replying to a comment from Mike / April 21, 2012 at 09:49 am
its hard to protest from your home
gramapeachz replying to a comment from Mike / April 21, 2012 at 10:28 am
That is the kind of sterotyping we arer trying to get rid of. Most pot smokers have jobs and sounds like your just jealous you couldnt be there.
n0va59 replying to a comment from Rob / April 21, 2012 at 10:44 am
Well I am a 53yr old mother of two successful adult children and a lifelong weed smoker with a job.
My daughter smokes but my son doesn't and never has. I am not an "Occupy Toronto sheeple" in fact I have only protested once before in my entire life (against the seal hunt)
Yet I found myself down at the Square yesterday having fun...yes you heard get a life...people protest everything and anything here in Toronto and April 20th is our day to celebrate and protest...don't like it...stay the f' away from the square that day
Internet Researcher / April 21, 2012 at 10:50 am
Many studies have shown that people who anonymously insult others on internet forums are the following:

1) Always men

2) Almost always overweight or obese

3) Usually single, and virgins

4) Often unemployed

Kate / April 21, 2012 at 11:00 am
I smoke weed regularly, but at 420 Im working so I have the financial capacity to purchase my own. As said many times here, many hygienic people, dressed in clothing without leaves on their Tshirts smoke just as much as these idiots do - they just dont look as pathetic. Standing with your dog, with a bong in the middle of the street in mid day DETRACTS from the cause to legalize, when will these bum realize this?? I am gay, and i want no part of comparing this sloppy mess to that cause please!
bitinha / April 21, 2012 at 11:02 am
This is way more peace than drunk ppl on the streets.
When I see drunk ppl here, I understand why drinking on the beach, streets .. and any public places are prohibited here... Their attitude is terrible.
I never see horrible drunk ppl on the street in my country.
In my country, we can drink any where, you can buy booze at convenience stores, and we have actually vending machines. But marijuana is strictly prohibited because of Fxxx America.

So many ppl above complain about smoking marijuana... but I guess some of them drinks and had experienced getting drunk and do something stupid... maybe street fighting.

Drunk ppl in the streets scares me way more than ppl who has red eyes and talk and act so slowly. They are not aggressive like drunk dudes.

Some of red eyed dudes seriously believes they can save the world with music.
Such peace. Drunker don't even try to save the world I guess.
MrsPotato / April 21, 2012 at 11:04 am
hahaha .. this is funny.

I wasn't able to attend this 'protest' as i was WORKING. sigh/ sucks, but ya know.

And I'm a daily user. Oh, and I'm a business owner in downtown Toronto. And you'd never guess by looking at me I'm a daily pot smoker, that doesn't fit the stereotype of the photos shown above.

I don't need to smoke at the corner of dundas and yonge to prove anything. These people are insulting to the hard working people that you'd NEVER GUESS are daily users.
Oh well. Just goes to show what sort of people this event attracts.
Kate replying to a comment from Chris / April 21, 2012 at 11:16 am
Ha, like Mike said - do your research before making an ass of yourself. Was there any mention of the drug war at the gathering, minorities protesting their over representation in the prison system - doubt it. This is an excuse for people to gear up in their weed hats & sunglasses, parade around while most others are at work, & pretend they have a cause. Yes, I agree with legalization....but the drug cartels want my cocaine money not weed!?! This is not the way to make change, this detracts from the cause and manifests the stereotype. Me, my friends & colleagues - mostbof whom are professionals & smoke weed, would never be caught dead at the square.
Chris replying to a comment from Mike / April 21, 2012 at 11:20 am
I was there to protest the insanity of the drug war. I certainly can't speak for the rest of the people there. But let's put it this way, governments are not going to end the drug war until people realize that smoking marijuana is a perfectly safe and pleasurable thing. People have to see people doing it for them to realize it. There are many reasons to legalize marijuana, and one of the most important ones is that it is safe and fun. Even if the people there were just trying to make that statement, I still consider that a noble cause. It most certainly is the correct opinion.
Kate replying to a comment from Chris / April 21, 2012 at 11:27 am
Please read up - DRUG CARTELS handle harder drugs. Cross border drug cartels & the government do not view weed & cocaine etc as the same. You are the only one lumping the two together. Very separate causes Chris. I recommend you check your stats pre joint next time
Serge replying to a comment from Mike / April 21, 2012 at 11:29 am
100% agree
Chris replying to a comment from Mike / April 21, 2012 at 11:30 am
I can certainly see why people want to make marijuana a crime. It's because people don't like the people who protest here. But it is this kind of attitude that causes governments to do all sorts of stupid, evil things. Look, the people at this protest, most of them, were not like me. Maybe some of them have jobs, maybe some of them don't. It may be that some of them have jobs that just happen to not be 9-5 jobs. But what these commenters are saying is that, based entirely on someone's appearance, you can conclude everything about them. You can't. I am glad that most of these commenters are agreeing that legalization should happen, but I do sense a kind of elitism, especially among those people who are professionals but who wouldn't dare be caught in public smoking weed, or even protesting. It suggests that you are okay with these laws because they don't hurt you since you can still get weed, but all the racial minorities who are needlessly imprisoned, the children caught in drug war crossfire, the billions wasted on a needless war, since it doesn't directly effect you you just smoke weed at home and act like you don't. If it is going to be legalized you are the ones who should be joining protests.
Dasha replying to a comment from Internet Researcher / April 21, 2012 at 11:30 am
...ironically you've just outted yourself as the aforementioned I suppose ha, not too clever!
Internet Researcher replying to a comment from Dasha / April 21, 2012 at 11:34 am
The facts speak for themselves, virgin.
Chris replying to a comment from Kate / April 21, 2012 at 11:46 am
So, although it is true that Mexican drug cartels also deal with harder drugs (which I think should also be legalized, but that is a separate issue, harder drugs are harmful, marijuana is not, that alone is a significant distinction), they ALSO deal with marijuana. This link discusses some of that:

This is unsurprising. If you legalize something you get rid of the black market for it. There is inherently a more limited market for cocaine than there is for marijuana because marijuana is safe and fun, cocaine is not. If you get rid of the black market, although you don't completely eliminate drug cartels, you eliminate it roughly proportional to the amount that the marijuana market is to the drug cartels, and this is a significant portion.

Furthermore, you cannot make a conclusion as to whether or not I have even ever smoked marijuana. That is also irrelevant.
Julianne replying to a comment from Chris / April 21, 2012 at 01:07 pm
wow chris - your have a lot of time on your hands this sat. i don't think blogto is really the most productive forum for your ever so passionate rants directed toward anonymous readers who likely don't really care...who likely only stumbled on this while seeking out what restaraunt they'll be attending tonight. by the looks of your essay style narratives i'm sure i'll get a response to this too.
phil replying to a comment from Internet Researcher / April 21, 2012 at 01:09 pm
dasha's busy having hot dirty sex with her i'm replying in her place. thanks for response 'internet researcher' with a tag like that sure you're busy in the bedroom as well.
Mike / April 21, 2012 at 01:16 pm
Honest question for those who were there yesterday to protest the "insanity of the drug war": Were you smoking up whilst doing so?

Because if your aim was truly to raise awareness of injustice, you'd look pretty stupid if you were high as a kite while doing soon.

I can't imagine going to a protest of any kind stinking drunk, so why would it be acceptable to be high? It kinda defeats the purpose, no?
Jeff Merklinger / April 21, 2012 at 01:19 pm
Just a comment on the lead sentence "Hundreds Gathered" ... Based on those pictures it looks like "Thousands"...
Jeff Merklinger replying to a comment from Jeff Merklinger / April 21, 2012 at 01:27 pm
As I read your blog, I note that you missed the whole point of the rally, which is to legalize Marijuana. If you want to be a journalist, listen to the people and know your shit. The Senate of Canada has recommending it be legal. Where is that in your story?
Chris replying to a comment from Julianne / April 21, 2012 at 01:39 pm
Yeah, you are right. Actually, commenting on blog posts is pretty unproductive, that's why I usually don't do it. But let's not conclude I have a lot of time on my hands, these responses took about five minutes to write. But I also do not like the dismissive attitude people have toward people who support marijuana legalization. This kind of attitude results in Barack Obama dismissively laughing off serious questions, by his supported, about the legalization of marijuana. It IS a pressing human rights issue that is trivialized by people who just insult those who actually care about it and make unfair generalizations based on how people look.

Anyways, this is a Blog about things to do in Toronto and where to eat. So on that note, I am not going to post anything else regarding this. Maybe tonight I will go to the new Singaporean hawker bar at Dundas and Ossington...
kevin / April 21, 2012 at 02:30 pm
ok...NEW RULE....everyone wear suits and dresses next year mmkkay?
Mike Morgan / April 21, 2012 at 02:44 pm
It's like when you watch people after 20-30 years of smoking regular cigarettes and what it does to your skin and how they look pretty d@mn nasty and that the only way for them to get laid is through a mercy F'. Here, in these pictures, you can see that they decided to start early. Man, what a fu*kin mess our country is in. It is as it always will be. Walk like a duck, talk like a duck ... it's a duck. In this case, it's trash and people wonder why no one wants to hire them at a job and then they complain. If you disagree with any of this, you're trash and you've failed to realize that.
Mike Morgan / April 21, 2012 at 02:56 pm
BTW, just to let you know, your common sense is gone when you think to legalize this stuff. It won't be a federal war, but a mess all around you. Do you actually think that stores that will be able to sell this will allow you 2-3 blocks from them. You will have bigger competition and they will kill you for this sh!t. It's like alcohol. There are people right now ready to open up their own stores to sell this stuff and when they find you're taking their money, they'll come for your @ss. I know I would.
yo / April 22, 2012 at 01:53 am
you mad, bro?
Justin replying to a comment from chong / April 22, 2012 at 08:23 am
@chung Maybe cause douchebags like you are the ones taking the pictures.

@Mike Then it wouldn't be mooch of a demonstration. The whole point is to show the weed can be consumed without any major negative side effects. Can you imagine if there was booze involved? There would be fights and people puking and at least a couple taken away by ambulances.

@Whoa Yeah the old dude, who probably at tented the first Woodstock sure does look like he lives with his parents. Not to mention all the rich and successful people that use weed. Just think of all the celebrities from Drew Berrymoore, to Snoop Dog to Kristen Stewart.

@Mikw Morgan Yu sound like you've been hitting the hard liquor, had enough to drink yet? Maybe you should slow down so you can constructed at coherent thought.

Now Harper, legalize the, before we outlaw you!
moe replying to a comment from Bill Harris / April 22, 2012 at 09:12 am
That is not why pot is illegal. It was a racist mandate dating back to the early 20th century. Be informed and apply yourself.
moe replying to a comment from Mike Morgan / April 22, 2012 at 09:18 am
Hey Mike. Let all that hate out. This (Blogging) is the forum for the anonymous to propagate bigotry.
Rick / April 23, 2012 at 04:53 pm
And not a fcuk was given that day....
mike1234 replying to a comment from n0va59 / April 26, 2012 at 08:49 am
Spoken like a classy 53 year old female adult. I'm not surprised you were down there
mike1234 replying to a comment from Justin / April 26, 2012 at 08:52 am
"constructed at coherent thought." Are you kidding me? You should be able to construct a basic sentence before you start attacking someone else. You're an idiot, just shut up.
n0va59 / April 26, 2012 at 09:38 am
smh...can you say....smelly troll....
Jackson / April 26, 2012 at 09:51 am
My personal opinion on the event aside, the claim that marijuana is "a perfectly safe drug" is false. I'm not saying it's as bad as other drugs, but the proven instances of marijuana contributing to/causing psychosis, schizophrenia, depersonalization, depression and anxiety are very easy to find with a simple internet search, not to mention the negative effects on the reproductive system in both men and women.

This also doesn't include the general side effects that are found when smoking just about anything - lung, throat and mouth cancer, heart disease etc...

Rick / April 26, 2012 at 11:39 am
Weed sucks, you get high, laugh, eat, then crash and burnout. Been there done that many times, and weed is really for losers. Who cares if you hold down a job and are a professional and still burn one down?? You are still a loser, cause you partake in illegal drugs, and contribute to organized crime.
Legalize it and leave it for the losers (or very sick people) in our society to use and I can benifit from the additional taxes in some way ore another. Enjoy your lung/brain cancer!
Stephen / April 26, 2012 at 08:59 pm
I've attended events like this in the past but have never enjoyed them, masses of stoned suburban teenagers are annoying and kind of a downer. They don't seem to help with the process with legalization but more so point out the hypocrisy we have in this city for toleration of usage and the criminalization of marijuana. Although I wouldn't want to be there, I can't hate on any of the people for showing up to these events.
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