Saturday, May 07, 2011

Freedom Festival and March 2011

At first I thought it was going to rain in Queens Park as the storm clouds grew thick and grey. I slowly came to realize it wasn't rain clouds at all, it was the copious quantities of medicinal herb and resulting smoke that hung low to the ground during Freedom Festival 2011 (see 2010 pictures here). The pied piper, or bong smokers, drew young and old alike, but mostly young, to the north yard of Ontario's political heartland where they protested some of the current laws and their voices rang out in support of free speech. Starting before noon the venders began to set up and get the food and merchandise ready for the onslaught of festival attendees. In a little under two hours the sparse group in the park began to number in the thousands.
Streams of people came to Queens Park from bus stations, subways and other points and the park began to bulge at the seams. People seemed to be pretty mellow.
At 2:00pm an extremely large group gathered and headed out of the park (the front of the parade pictured below), north on University, then east on Bloor, south on Yonge and finally west on Wellesley.  The people were well organized by orange shirt volunteers and well supported by the Toronto police.

The police mounted unit waited at Wellesley and Yonge and helped to keep the protest on track and away from the Yonge-Dundas area.
The organized march was very peaceful and and was escorted by plenty of bike police who ensured that the route would keep away from the Eaton Centre area and back to the small forest of Queens Park. Tired marchers (there was a lot of coughing) returned to the bathrooms and snacks that so many craved (for some reason) they could also listen to some great music from some local bands scheduled until 7pm.

See lots more pictures after the jump (click Read More >>, below).

Friends on the way to the festival. Rapper Belsito is 3rd from right

Going south on Yonge Street

Zombies promoting THE ROCK ONS, Sunday May 15 at ALL STARS.
Stage and festival banner
There seemed to be a lot of solid doggie support.


Two thumbs up from mascot
Free Love sign
Playing with a bubble pipe
The cleanup crew follows the parade

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