Some ‘alternate’ locations for Vancouver’s next 4/20 protest party

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Vancouver’s annual 4/20 celebration may still be billed as a protest, but with marijuana legalization looming, there will soon be nothing left to protest.

That won’t put an end to the festivities, however. In recent years, 4/20 has effectively transformed into a marijuana holiday, not unlike St. Patrick’s Day, but for stoners and other recreational cannabis users rather than drinkers. And as Canada begins to grow more comfortable with marijuana use, one imagines 4/20’s popularity will only continue to grow.

But where should the annual celebration be held? After years outside the Vancouver Art Gallery, the event moved two years ago to Sunset Beach, ruffling more than a few feathers as dozens of vendors and 40,000 pot aficionados descended upon the area, filling the waterfront skies with smoke and doing about $10,000 in damage, ironically enough, to the grass. The day after the event, the Vancouver Park Board announced that the park would be closed for up to five weeks to allow the field to recover. 

Despite this, the event is set to return to the same location later this month, whether residents like it or not. Until the City of Vancouver can offer up another suitable location (as well as a permit), the 4/20 community is sure to keep coming back to this one. 

That in mind, let us consider several possible venues that might be a better fit for future 4/20 celebrations.

B.C. Place

Pros: It’s an enclosed space, which should appeal to those annoyed at the foot traffic in English Bay. All the stoners can be herded into Vancouver’s largest arena. What’s more, the building has a retractable roof, which will allow all that smoke to escape. And imagine the spectacle if the stadium decided to show solidarity with the attendees by lighting up, as it were, in green.

Cons: Marijuana users love a good spectacle of lights, but they won’t be able to see them from inside the building. What’s the point, then? 

Burrard Bridge

Pros: It’s pretty high, which is sure to elicit chuckles from anyone else that is that day. Plus it’s paved, thereby sparing the precious, precious grass of the nearby parks. The bridge closes to vehicles for several other events. It nearly closed for that yoga thing a few years ago. So why not close it for this? 

Cons: Any time the Burrard Bridge is closed, people lose their minds. No one would go for this, especially on a Friday afternoon. That’s going to mess with people’s commutes. After all, the most important citizen in any municipality is the automobile, right?

A Bike Lane

Pros: People are always complaining that Vancouver’s bike lanes are underutilized. This solves that. Plus the lanes are paved, which means revellers won’t be doing any damage to the grass.  

Cons: Cyclists actually do use the bike lanes, and might have some trouble getting through, especially since marijuana users don’t tend to be the most alert.

Trump Tower Vancouver

Pros: No one is using it for anything else.

Cons: No one wants to use it.

Kingsgate Mall

Pros: Similar to Trump Tower, no one is using it. Plus there’s a Shoppers Drug Mart and a Buy-Low Foods, so it won’t be too difficult to get snacks.

Cons: As cool as it might sound to hot-box a mall, enclosed spaces probably aren’t the best venues. Plus 4/20 is supposed to be a party, and Kingsgate Mall is a total bummer. 

Jack Poole Plaza

Pros: 4/20 revellers would love the idea of having their party at the foot of Vancouver’s Olympic torch, especially if they could convince the city to light it like a flaming maypole. 

Cons: If it’s lit, someone is going to climb the torch and try to light a joint that way, which means someone is going to fall. Plus it’s probably not a good look for out-of-town convention-goers. They would be scandalized. They’re here to find creative business solutions, not a contact high.

Jericho Beach

Pros: It’s already the location of the Vancouver Folk Festival, which has a whiff of 4/20 every year. Plus it’s a sandy area, so no one needs to worry about the grass.

Cons: Unless you live out that way, going to Kits is a real hassle. The SkyTrain doesn’t stop out there. You move the party to Jericho Beach and half the potential attendees will just hold an alternate party somewhere downtown.

Langara Golf Course

Pros: The city has pitched turning the public course into a park. That would mean dismantling the greens, and no one dismantles greens quite like 4/20 revellers. 

Cons: If you think the public outcry over the proposal to convert the area into a park has been something, just wait until the city announces it’s being converted into a stoner’s paradise. Where were you for the Vancouver golf riots?, we’d be asking one another in the years to come.

False Creek

Pros: Unlimited bong water.

Cons: Most marijuana users have lungs, not gills.

City Hall

Pros: The city may not issue permits for the event, but they don’t seem to mind 4/20. Why not have them host?

Cons: After a whole day of breathing the 4/20 air, evening council meetings could run long and have too many creative ideas.

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