It’s a bit early for the dead to rise this month. Toronto’s annual zombie walk—the seventh, can you believe—happened a full week before Halloween. But considering that the cruising speed of the average zombie is slightly faster than the Gardiner Expressway on Friday night, one week is probably about enough time to allow them to complete the course.
This year, all the participants assembled in the pit near Gore Vale Avenue in Trinity-Bellwoods Park. Here, people queued up to be undeadified at the Resident Evil make up tent. Thomas, from the Beach, was there because zombies “are the in thing at the moment.” One of the artists, Allison, started off painting Thomas’s face with fake blood. Then she smeared white goo over his beard, offering careful removal advice as she attached tissue paper to his cheek for texture. Her day job includes work shows on the Discovery Channel. “I originally started in funeral service,” she explained.
The horde milled around and chatted, until, at about 2:30 p.m., all the zombies rejoiced that the sun had finally come out. Jeez, get into character, guys.
This year’s zombie march was routed differently. The reanimated carrion walked from Trinity-Bellwoods Park down Dundas Street West, then north through Kensington Market (allowing several opportunities for the undead to wave their arms at vegan cafés screaming, “GRAAINS!”). There was then a brief shamble west along College Street, before the final stretch—up pleasant, leafy, Borden Street and then a conclusion at an enormous zombie log-jam at Bathurst subway station.
Torontoist, chasing the horde north on the Bathurst streetcar, had to explain to the elderly couple sitting behind that their journey was delayed because of zombies on the line.
Arguably the best dressed was Sarah Zombie Palin, otherwise known as Nicole, waving a town-hall protester’s sign: “I NEED BRAINS.” Props also go to the man dressed as a giant brain (an idea that seemed somewhat risky). But prizes went to a king zombie, the undead dad, and the prom couple corpses. There were a few zombie dogs, too, probably a consequence of the start place/time of the walk being afternoon munchies in the park’s off-leash area.
And, this year, there was a marriage proposal between the two organizers. “I want to walk with the dead with you for ever,” Adam Pearson told Thea Munster, who readily assented to giving her hand (in matrimony; not literally). Hopefully, any future children won’t be kicked out of kindergarten for biting.
Next Halloween weekend, of course, everyone probably gets to do this all over again with the Zombie Short Film Festival and any number of events throughout the city. (Keep a detached eyeball on Torontoist and Urban Planner this week for the latest spooky goings on.) And zombies in Toronto have been done many times before.
But here’s an idea. Just for once, it would be nice to have a parade of something other than zombies. Vampires are quite glamorous at the moment, and plants are reportedly kicking shambling asses. Or you could have anything. Elvis. Gnomes, perhaps. Or maybe different kinds of cheese. But zombies…well, there can’t be much breath left in them—or can there?
All photographs by Miles Storey/Torontoist.