Anyone, whether they are a stoner or not, has probably heard of “420.” From its more underground origins early on to today’s mainstream popularity (even newspapers and anchors on TV), everyone is using “420” to refer to April 20th, the day of celebration by weed lovers the world over.
So, why is 420 celebrated on this day and what exactly are 420 celebrations? Who decided that 4:20pm on the 20th day of April would be the hour of cannabis? Well, according to popular opinion—and Wikipedia—the origins of 420 came from five high school students in California (of course it’s California).
Today, the reason why people celebrate 420 varies—not only is it just a good time for stoners and potheads, it’s also evolved beyond that stereotype, into a celebration that is political in nature as well, especially in countries where cannabis is not legal. In Canada (Vancouver, specifically), stoners convene at the Vancouver Art Gallery for the famous 4/20 public light-up.
How to Celebrate 420 Day
So, what are the best 420 celebrations around? Why not come up with your own party on April 20th? Here are the best ways to celebrate 420:
1. Chill with your buds. What’s a 420 party without friends? Throw an edibles party, or just have a laidback gathering at someone’s house.
2. Netflix & Chill. No, not that kind of Netflix & Chill. Pick a stoner-friendly movie (which is any movie, really—don’t be predictable and pick Pineapple Express).
3. Have a feast. When munchie time comes, you’ll be glad you have a delicious spread of amazing food. Have delivery menus ready or bake your own goodies beforehand.
4. Enjoy some music. One of the nice things about weed is how it enhances your senses. Check out a live show—or make your own playlist for the party and bask in glorious, glorious music.
5. Go to a lake (or mountains). There are few things as magical as the great outdoors. If it’s a nice day out, be outside! Find a nice easy hike, or lounge in a park nearby and enjoy the sun.
6. Wake and bake. This time-honoured tradition is always a good way to wake up on 4/20. Make sure you have your ingredients and recipes ready the night before.
How to Celebrate 420 Day… Outside of the Country
If you’ve got some time off, and you enjoy travelling, and you want to see how the rest of the world does 4/20… here are some places outside of Canada where you can celebrate with a toke.
San Francisco, CA
Much like Vancouver, San Francisco is a super chill and laidback city that likes its cannabis. Plus, with a burgeoning hippie population and even a hill (“Hippie Hill”) named for it, you can be sure that you’ll find other stoners to celebrate with. And did we mention weed is finally legal in California?
Amsterdam really needs no introduction if you’re into the herb. The earliest site of legalization in the world, this city welcomes travellers every month of the year—not just in April—who are interested in partaking in cannabis. Check out the 4/20 Festival just outside of City Hall.
If you haven’t heard, Copenhagen has a really unique hippie neighbourhood called Christiania. It’s kind of like an “anything goes” type of place where the laws are iffy and drugs can be found—yes, cannabis can be consumed here.
Canada 420 Celebrations
In Canada, the best 420 celebrations have always been also part rallies for cannabis legalization, so it would be interesting to see what they look like now that cannabis has been legalized across the country (not edibles yet, but for the most part). Here are a few of the biggest 420 celebrations in Canada.
Being the capital of Canada, it’s only expected that Ottawa is the site of a yearly cannabis celebration. Historically, this has been an important site because of the legal influence of rallying near where the nation’s biggest politicians congregate. Now, this might be more of a party—though the grey areas of the laws and the situation with edibles will probably keep this 420 celebration somewhat political.
Toronto, City Hall
As one of Canada’s biggest and most populous cities, you’ll probably find multiple (excellent) 420 parties in Toronto. And one of the biggest 420 celebrations in this city will be at Nathan Phillips Square near City Hall. This is site of many political protests (and celebrations)—the popular outdoor ice rink is here too—so it’s no surprise that 420 draws a crowd in this big outdoor space.
Montreal, Mount Royal Park
Montreal is known for its artsy, hip city dwellers, so of course, it will have a formidable 420 celebration too. Mount Royal Park is a historically significant public area, and on April 20th, you’ll find thousands of like-minded stoners and weed lovers around the George Cartier monument.
Calgary, Arts and Music Festival
Though it doesn’t have quite the hip and alt-crowd reputation that Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver do, Calgary knows how to party. In fact, the Arts and Music Festival lasts for three whole days. Yes, there will be arts, and yes there will be music—and above all, there will be a whole lot of cannabis thanks to advocacy groups that attend to answer questions about cannabis products and teach you everything you need to know about weed.
Vancouver, Vancouver Art Gallery
Of course, no discussion about Canada’s biggest 420 celebrations would be complete without a mention of Vancouver. As the country’s “stoner central,” Vancouver also has many cannabis-centered parties throughout the city—but the biggest and most visible one is either the one outside the city’s art gallery, or the one down at beautiful Sunset Beach. You’ll be amongst tens of thousands of cannabis enthusiasts, with plenty of music and other fun events to indulge in.