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No Pants, No Problem on the TTC

On Sunday afternoon, more than two hundred Torontonians cast modesty to the wind and gave passengers on the TTC the half-monty as they shed their pants for the third annual No-Pants Subway Ride—a flash mob–style event organized by Improv in Toronto, the urban pranksters responsible for Subway Sing-A-Long, Clue in the Eaton’s Centre, Subway Dance Party, and many other events. Like the world-wide Improv Everywhere event that it’s modeled after, the objective of the no-pants Toronto mission is to take your pants off on the subway and then act normally. If asked why you’re not wearing pants, you’re supposed to say you “forgot them” and then “insist that it is a coincidence that others also forgot their pants.”

Organizers hoped that No-Pants Subway Ride 2010 would be the largest Toronto event yet, but compared to last year, attendance was down by almost a third. “I don’t know the reason why we had less people,” Cole Banning, the event’s organizer, told Torontoist. “It could be because we did it on a Sunday. But it couldn’t be because people didn’t want to take their pants off; that just wouldn’t make any sense.”
Despite the cold weather, attendees were enthusiastic, and as the crowd prepared to make its way from the meeting spot at Queen’s Park to Museum Station people cheered: “Death to pants! We’ve been oppressed for too long!” Few participants showed any trepidation about dropping their drawers on the TTC. “I live in res, so this is just my typical Sunday afternoon,” said one female student. “Pants repress the man,” said another young male student. “Taking them off is like rebelling.” Torontoist also met a gentleman in a pantless ghost costume who told us that he “never wears pants,” and happily noted that he had “scared a couple of peoples’ pants off” over the course of the afternoon.
While most commuters laughed along with the pranksters, a few bystanders were less than impressed. “There’s no respect in this country anymore,” snarled one elderly man as he pointed at a young woman’s underwear-clad behind. “How can I respect that?”
Others were more vocal. “I don’t want to sit on these seats now,” yelled another male passenger. “I might get the herps [sic]!”
While TTC riders may have been disarmed, those who travel across longer distances may want to accustom themselves to the pantlessness of others. As one Twitter user pointed out, Sunday might just end up being “a test for the way we will soon have to fly.”
Photos by Nick Kozak/Torontoist.


  • http://undefined Craig C

    Yeah, I hate pants too!

  • Alexandra Highcrest

    A flash mob!?! I thought this was a gathering of Toronto’s Lady Gaga fan club (hehehe…).

  • http://undefined W. K. Lis

    As long as none of them has a Santa hat on their head, they are okay.

  • Patrick Metzger

    I think it loses some of its surprise effect when it’s announced on 680 News Radio several hours before it happens. It’s so commercial nowadays – back in the day it was all about the pantslessness…

  • reetdoontoon


  • http://undefined spacejack

    I just read Torontoist for the articles.

  • http://undefined Eric26

    I think this is the only time I’ve read a Torontoist picture post and not clicked on a single picture.

  • http://undefined jalgo

    there are plenty of riders in your photos who kept their pants on. Taking pictures of public areas and posting them on the Internet is not particularly considerate of people riding the TTC with no interest or affiliation whatsoever with no pants day. Unless of course they all actually gave you their consent.

  • Nick Kozak

    Note taken jalgo but there is no legal requirement to seek consent for photographing in public (unless used for commercial purposes).
    Please read the following.
    The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms;
    2(b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
    This guarantees your right to express yourself through photography, and the freedom to publish your photos.
    The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms secures one’s right to take photos in public, falling under the Fundamental “freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication”. This includes photos of people – where that becomes an issue is if a photo where people are recognizable is used for commercial purposes – in this case, a model release (authorization to use the image) is required. But, simply taking a public photo of people is not a problem, unless privacy is compromised. But, privacy is relative to the specific location and situation, and is limited to a ‘reasonable expectation’ of the individual’s privacy. If someone is walking down Yonge Street in Toronto, they are in a very public space and cannot reasonably expect to be ‘private’ in that environment. A public bathroom, doctor’s office, store change room, or the like, on the other hand, all do have some level of ‘expected privacy’. A photograph taken in these situations could constitute a violation of an individual’s privacy and therefore not be permitted.

  • David Topping

    As far as I know, there is no legal requirement to seek consent for photographing in public even if it’s for “commercial purposes.” Though someone can probably expand on that more than I could off the top of my head. I know that that’s absolutely the case in the States, where, if you’re in public, you’re in public.

  • http://undefined Marc Lostracco

    Legally, someone can take your photo without permission—on public or private property—and you can’t do anything about it unless it’s being used in a defamatory or abusive context, which you’d have to prove. When the photo is taken, the copyright belongs to the photographer, and it doesn’t matter if your face is in it or not.
    This still applies even if the TTC prohibits photography on their property. They can remove or ban the photographer, but they can’t force the photographer to delete or turn over any images, nor can the subjects being photographed. That being said, riding the TTC also doesn’t really come with a reasonable expectation of privacy.

  • http://undefined Marc Lostracco

    In other words, taking photos of strangers without their permission may not be polite, but it is entirely legal and consent isn’t required.

  • http://undefined jalgo

    Thanks for all of the legal comments but I stated that it was inconsiderate, not illegal.

  • Speechless

    Flash mobs were funny the first few times they happened in 1996.
    Now they’re just lame.