Vancouver's First 4/20 Celebration: This Day in Vancouver – April 20, 1995

4/20 Celebration at Vancouver Art Gallery - 2013 - photo by Miranda Nelson

4/20 Celebration at the Vancouver Art Gallery, April 20, 2013. Photo by Miranda Nelson.


“Starting at Noon, more than 200 people begin to gather in Victory Square for the city’s first 4/20 celebration, an event that, according to the BC Marijuana Party Leader and “Prince of Pot” Marc Emery, is the first of its kind anywhere in the world.”

“…there were about only 150 people by 2 p.m., peaking at 250 people at 4:20 p.m. Nonetheless, open pot smoking went on for about 6 hours without any police interference”

This excerpt was taken from the book This Day in Vancouver by Jesse Donaldson. The book is available for purchase at the Museum of Vancouver’s Gift Shop, or online at Anvil Press.

This Day in Vancouver by Jesse Donaldson, Anvil Press

Since then, 4/20 movements have spread throughout the world. Vancouver’s iconic protest saw record breaking numbers of 25,000 supporters in 2016, and organizers continue to expect big crowds today. The event has moved from several different venues in the past (Victory Square, Vancouver Art Gallery) and now finds its temporary home at Sunset Beach. Although the annual pot rally has seen tremendous growth and there are federal plans to legalize the recreational drug, organizers say this still isn’t a celebration. The 4/20 event continues as a development and protest until legalization arrives. Only then, will become a celebration.

To learn more about revolutionary movements, come visit the Museum of Vancouver’s 1960s-1970s: You Say You Want A Revolution. The exhibition highlights Vancouver’s radial youth and time of contention.

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