They came, they bought, they toked. So goes another 420 in Vancouver.
420 began as a couple hundred people in 1995. The 20th year of the annual marijuana market/smoke-in attracted what appeared to be a record number of vendors and participants on Sunday (April 20), despite somewhat dreary weather.
While I'm not a professional guesser of crowd sizes, I have been attending Vancouver's annual 420 rally for at least a few years now and can safely say this year's gathering was the largest in memory. Robson Street between Howe and Hornby was closed due to the overwhelming crowds by 2:30 p.m., and by 3:15 p.m., the same stretch of West Georgia Street was cordoned off, the earliest I've ever seen that happen.
Rough estimates suggest at least 200 boothed vendors were on-site (plus who knows how many roving sellers hawking bags full of pre-rolled joints and cookies), while the crowd, at its height, was a conservative 25,000, with people packed shoulder-to-shoulder on the grounds of the art gallery. Robson Square was similarly full of people, and the 800-block of Robson between Howe and Hornby streets was ringed with tokers, something I haven't seen frequently before.
Next year's 420 gathering won't be at the Vancouver Art Gallery as the site will be undergoing renovations. Let's hope the organizers take this as an opportunity to find a space that can hold all people who plan on showing up.