“This is the craziest thing I’ve ever seen in my life!” laughed an onlooker on Saturday afternoon, observing a crowd of people unabashedly pummeling one another with pillows.
Yonge Eglinton Square was the site of this past weekend’s pillow fight, anannualevent created by urban playground enthusiasts Newmindspace. After rain forced the group to reschedule the event from the previous Saturday, the fighters came out in droves, regardless of the gray sky. The motley crew included full-grown adults and a few brave toddlers, with a wealth of energetic teens making up the bulk of the mix. Costumes ranged from video game characters to flannel pajamas—some, like Newmindspace co-creator Lori Kufner, even brought personalized pillows (hers was a huge pink rabbit named “Cupcake”).
As the clock read 3:12 p.m. and the pillows started flying, the palpable aggression might have been related to the future of the square, which will be bulldozed later in the year in order to expand the Yonge Eglinton Centre. Newmindspace co-creator (and former Torontoist contributor) Kevin Bracken argues that the motion passed community council under the slightly dubious proposal that the expansion would not decrease public space, as a park will be built on top of the mall. “There’s an important distinction between a space that the public can go to and public spaces,” he said on Saturday while gearing up for the match. “Yonge Eglinton Centre is a public space, but it’s all privately owned.”
The waving pillows certainly livened up the already commercially dismal Yonge and Eglinton intersection, as dozens of passersby stopped to laugh and take photos.
While the day’s participants turned out to number fewer than the estimated five thousand people that participated in Newmindspace’s pillow fight in New York City, the crowd was still going at it with gusto an hour later. “We’re just having fun and saying farewell to this public space,” said Kufner, right before leading Cupcake into the fray. Photos by Miles Storey/Torontoist.