On Easter Sunday, 2013, I participated in the second annual Vintage Easter Parade. I had been looking forward to this for months, thinking about what to wear, who was going, and how to get those not involved in the Toronto Lindy Hop community to come out and join us.
On the first Vintage Easter Parade, our small group of living history enthusiasts walked from Yonge/Bloor to Christie Pits Park, with a stop for crepes and dancing along the way. The weather last year was a bit chilly for my taste, and apparently my outfit was not weather-appropriate for that nip I felt in the air.
This year was going to be different! I was going to make sure that I was dressed for the weather; I was not going to freeze, but I would still have a vintage look going. I debated between several dresses, contemplated wearing layers, alternated between boots and Mary Janes, and looked at my hat collection.
As the date approached, it was decided that we might switch from an outdoor route to an indoor route, riding the subway and walking through malls. The final decision was going to be left until the actual day, in case Mother Nature decided to be kind and show us some warmth and sunshine. Both possibilities were posted, and in the meantime, the parade picked up some surprise media attention, announcing it on CP24. I had put the word out amongst my photographer friends, and apparently BlogTO and The Grid had heard about it too. I think it may even have made it onto the City of Toronto Events page!
On Easter Sunday, the route was changed to an indoor route, probably partly because of the lack of sunshine or warm temperature and partly due to the strong possibility of an afternoon rainstorm. I arrived early at the meeting point, and over the next hour, people trickled in, both vintage dressers and photographers. One of my photog friends even arrived in some vintage-looking apparel, camera in hand!
When we left the meeting point, we walked outside to a huge surprise — there were about 40-50 people standing on the street, waiting for the parade. Unfortunately, they were facing Yonge Street, expecting, I believe, to see a bunch of floats and the Easter Bunny, instead of 30 or so vintage-dressed pedestrians. Oops! Guess the media coverage wasn’t for the best! Our group walked south along the sidewalk, smiling and waving, calling out “Happy Easter” to those waiting alongside the road, and then we crossed the street and walked north to the subway. Some photographers joined us along our indoor route, but many awaiting the parade did not.
We got onto the subway, and headed north. We decided to ride the older subway train one stop, get off, and wait for the new “open concept” subway train. We sang, danced, and entertained the people at Rosedale Station. A new train arrived and we got on, en masse. We sang, we danced, and we entertained the subway patrons. I think we entertained ourselves too!
At Eglinton station we got off, and decided to go up a level to a larger area for photos and an impromptu Shim Sham. Then we continued south to Union Station on the subway, where there was more singing and dancing. Once we left the TTC, we detoured into the Royal York for some photo ops, and then headed into the PATH. There weren’t many people in the PATH system, but when we stopped briefly outside a convenience store, there was more impromptu singing and dancing. It was a very friendly and happy atmosphere!
Once inside the Eaton Centre, we decided another Shim Sham was in order. We stopped in the large area by the Swarkovsky store, and started dancing. Hundreds of people on several levels stopped to watch, and it was like a flash mob, except that we all started singing and dancing at once. It was great! Until, that is, the mall cop came over and told us we had to leave. Fortunately, he had waited until we had finished our song , and we were ready to go anyway. We walked through the Eaton Centre, calling out “Happy Easter” and waving to mallgoers, and stopped one last time inside the doors at Yonge/Dundas. We took a few more group shots, and headed our separate ways. What a really fun afternoon on a dreary day!
Maybe you’ll come and join us next year?