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Review: International Pillow Fight Day – Toronto Edition

Monday 08 April 2013

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Words Spindle

Winter made one last, half-hearted attempt to maintain its grasp on the city this past Saturday, but even the chill and threat of precipitation couldn’t deter Toronto’s playful citizens from congregating in Nathan Phillips Square for International Pillow Fight Day. The global phenomenon shares a deep connection with Toronto through the originators, urban playground advocates Newmindspace, who got their start right here in the city back in 2005.

I arrived shortly before the scheduled 8 PM start time to see a relatively empty courtyard in front of City Hall, but it turns out Torontonian have a habit of being exactly on time (at least for important events such a this one), and in just a few moments the area in front of the primary stage was crowded with kigurumi-clad pillow fighters just waiting for the opening whistle.

Samba Elegua took the stage to provide the sort of tribal percussion backdrop appropriate for large-scale combat, and just a few minutes past eight Lori Kufner (one of the founders of Newmindspace) blew the whistle. The entire area immediately erupted in shrieks and laughter as the crowd – I’d estimate it at between two and three hundred people – burst into battle. The energy level was high and the drumming and good-natured battling continued until past 9 PM. At the end, volunteers cleaned up any leftover pillow fluff and those pillows left behind that were in good shape were donated to the Christie Refugee Welcome Centre, where they will be put to good use assisting families awaiting legal refugee status in Canada.

Part of the philosophy behind Newmindspace is the notion that public spaces belong to the public for public use, and its hard to imagine a more entertaining way to make that statement than a massive public pillow fight on the doorstep of City Hall. Rest assured, however, that if there is a more entertaining way to do it, Newmindspace will make it happen.

Words: Tim Ellis

2013-04-06 20.04.10