-Marco Brasil, staff
On October 22 I had the chance to go to the ninth annual zombie walk in Toronto. Taking the train to Toronto, other passengers shot me all kinds of glances, obviously unaware of the event. Walking from the train station to Trinity Bellwoods Park however, less people were staring, in fact, they weren’t even confused.
The Toronto Zombie Walk beganin October 2003 by Thea Munster, a fan of horror movies who decided to wander the streets of Toronto as a zombie. The first zombie walk consisted of only six people. Now eight years later, the expectation on Saturday was that there would be at least 5,000 participants.
The event was sponsored by Dusk and Henry’s and was done in partnership with the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Zombie walks have spread to other cities, including New York City, Vancouver, Ottawa, Dublin and Melbourne.
Trinity Bellwoods Park was packed with undead versions of everyone imaginable, from Ronald McDonald, to Mayor McCheese and even Super Mario. Largely occupied by young adults, there were also families of zombies, as well as zombie pets. In the centre of the designated meeting area was a stage with a cryptic archway. Everyone in attendance found themselves a part of a zombie wedding. The groom was Adam Invader and the bride was Munster herself.
Both were made up as zombies, as was the priest and the wedding party. The ceremony was changed to be humorous and to incorporate zombie culture. Even the music was changed to give off a creepier vibe. Munster ditched the traditional entrance with the father and was instead carried onto the stage in a coffin.
The wedding ceremony was brief but beautiful, and all in attendance were glad to be a part of it.
Michelle Brown, a young zombie who was in attendance said, “[The wedding] added a very cool little touch and it was fitting because these are the people who founded it. Even though we didn’t know these people, it seemed like we did because we had something in common and were dressed up as zombies.”
After the wedding, the actual walking portion of the zombie walk began. The walk was five kilometres long and consisted of walking through Queen Street West, Spadina Avenue, Dundas Street, and Trinity Bellwoods Park.
All participants made an effort to be zombie-like as they walked down these streets. Some walked with a movie-extra-like realistic zombie shuffle while some merely gave themselves a minor limp. Participants in this event walk for many different reasons.
Sara Alexandre, a first-time zombie at the walk, said “I have a little bit of an obsession with zombies. They’re sick, and I love The Walking Dead, so I had to tag along.”
Student, Nicholas Carr discussed the connection the walk provides.
“I think it’s great to get involved in the zombie walk because it brings people together in a unique way,” Carr said. “People can dress up and have fun, and it celebrates Halloween and the undead.”
During the walk, the zombies knew to respect people’s property, stay off the road, respect other zombies, and not to carry weapons. They followed these rules allowing spectators to enjoy themselves and feel safe bringing their kids.
One little girl was scared to have zombies approach her, and quickly taught me that she had it covered, bringing a bottle of silly string with her. After she sprayed most of the contents of her bottle at me, I continued to walk down the street and make my way back to the park.
After the walk, the zombies were treated to discounted tickets to DeadHeads and War of the Dead as part of the partnership with the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. Casts and crews from both movies were in attendance to add to the event. After the long day of zombie appreciation, the undead wrapped up the walk for another year and returned to their not-so-undead lives.