4/20 Concerts In Ontario
On Oct. 17, 2018, cannabis became legal in all provinces and territories for adults 18 and over, making Canada just the second country to legalize recreational use of the drug. Many don’t know the origins of the “420” reference, but have vague recollections of once-heard tales about its origins. It can all be traced back to a group of five California teens who used to hang out by a wall outside their San Rafael school—a meeting spot that inspired their nickname, “the Waldos.”
In the fall of 1971, the Waldos learned of a Coast Guard member who had planted a cannabis plant and could no longer tend to the crop. Provided with a treasure map (some say by the plant’s owner himself) supposedly leading to the abandoned product, the group would meet at the Louis Pasteur statue outside their high school at least once a week conduct a search. Their meeting time? 4:20 p.m, after practice (they were all athletes). The Waldos would pile into a car, smoke some pot and scour the nearby Point Reyes Forest for the elusive, free herb. One of the original members of the Waldos, Steve Capper, told the Huffington Post, “We would remind each other in the hallways we were supposed to meet up at 4:20. It originally started out 4:20-Louis, and we eventually dropped the Louis.”
They never did score the free bud, but perhaps they stumbled on to something more lasting? The term 420 was coined, allowing the high schoolers to discuss smoking pot without their parents or teachers knowing. But how did this ragtag team of pot plant-seekers at a high school in California manage to spread their secret phrase internationally? For that, we turn to the Grateful Dead.
Members of the Waldos had open access, and many connections, to the band. Mark Gravitch’s father managed the Dead’s real estate. Dave Reddix’s older brother was good friends with Dead bassist Phil Lesh and managed a Dead sideband. Capper told the Huffington Post, “There was a place called Winterland, and we’d always be backstage running around or on stage and, of course, we’re using those phrases. When somebody passes a joint or something, ‘Hey, 420.’ So it started spreading through that community.”
While it began in the US, 420 has since become a celebration observed all over the world. In addition to the widespread smoking of cannabis which occurs on 20 April, several events also take place to mark the occasion. If you’re in Ontario and looking for a concert to celebrate 4/20 now that we’re out of the lockdown, here’s a list of some of the shows happening in the area!
Broken Social Scene – Massey Hall – Toronto
Devious One, Aawks, Too Nice, Superstack, Myndset, Colin Brown – Queens Hotel – Barry
Blushing Brides (Rolling Stones), Five Against One (Pearl Jam) & Neon Nostalgic – The El Mocambo – Toronto
Glorious Sons – Budweiser Gardens – London
Wednesday Bender, El Paladin, Weekend Goodbye – Horseshoe Tavern – Toronto
Vodnik + Open Mic – The Mix – Toronto
Rav, Kill Bill: The Rappper, Airospace, Scuare – The Garrison – Toronto