Carry a pillow while strolling down Yonge Street any day of the year and people will look at you funny. They’ll probably think you’re insecure, and a little crazy too. But on one day every year – International Pillow Fight Day – it’s the exact opposite.
On 4 April 2015, dozens of cities from across the world participated in this fluffy flash mob, and Toronto was no exception. Nathan Phillips Square was at the center of it all. With excitement in the air, it seemed as though the entire downtown core was much more welcoming than usual. There were pillows on the subway, on the street, in restaurants. And something about people with pillows downtown brought a smile to everyone’s face, pillow or not.
The fight began at 3 pm as hundreds of people let loose on each other and an equal amount of curious bystanders came to see what all the commotion was about. The rules were simple: bring a soft pillow, and avoid hitting cameras.
The combatants quickly converged into a swarm of pillows and people in the middle of the square, with loud music blasting into the circle. The swarm of people grew and grew, and soon rivaled the swarm of late students outside the galleria in the morning.
For the first 30 minutes, the pillow assault was endless. The only sound louder than the music was the screams of laughter. Charging into the center, with your pillow swinging, everyone was your target. Some people played whack-a-mole. Others held their pillows out and spun like a top. As you pushed through to the center, you saw all kinds of people – Adults, teens, children, university students, people in banana suits, bunny suits, penguin suits. Interspersed between this diverse crowd were photographers who jumped in for the perfect shot, and left with shots to the head.
As the fight progressed, it became much more organized. People began to gang up on each other.
“Get the banana!” someone would scream. “Get the penguin!”
These people would immediately be beaten to the ground by a circle of pillows, then helped up. Small skirmishes began to break out on the side. Once you made eye contact with someone, you were obligated to duel it out, fighting until you made eye contact with someone else.
An hour and a half into the event, and the fight was as energetic as when it started. Pillow Fight Toronto seemed to have a therapeutic effect. No matter how people felt as they walked into the fight, everyone left feeling as soft and fluffy as the pillows they brought.
All in all, Pillow Fight Toronto was an awesome time to hang out with friends, meet up with old ones, and make new ones… and a once-a-year opportunity to deal with unresolved anger in a fun, loving way.
Where else can you beat up random strangers in the heart of Toronto?
I’d definitely recommend going next year. 10/10