Over 1000 zombies of all shapes and sizes gathered at Trinity-Bellwoods park last Saturday afternoon to take part in Toronto’s seventh annual Zombie Walk. While many followed the traditional template of George A. Romero’s 1968 classic Night of the Living Dead, there was no shortage of creativity. Zombie firefighters, zombie clowns, zombie graduates, and even a zombie version of Waldo, carried and/or chewed on plastic body parts along Dundas and through Kensington. A pregnant zombie dragged along a plastic baby on a fake umbilical cord.
Police ensured that participants kept to the sidewalk, though some zombies managed to wander off towards unsuspecting bystanders. “I always try to go by people’s expressions,” says participant Tanya Pitel. “If I see a car and someone’s got a huge grin on their face, I’ll run up to them. But if they’re standing back or are otherwise not into it, I won’t do it. It’s all about having fun.”
Though attendance was down from last year’s record of over 2,000--likely due to a Zombie Walk this past August, and the threat of inclement weather--there were still plenty of onlookers. Most were amused, though there were certainly some who felt genuine terror. “I can understand how it would be a little bit scary, but I don’t think it’s that abnormal,” said bystander Kalina Janik.
Participant Rod Nietzell suggested that it shares a similarity to other international street festivals: “It’s performance art. You have all these people dressing up and acting crazy. It’s sort of like Zombie Pride.” Like the Pride Parade, the Zombie Walk is not endemic to Toronto. Similar events take place in New York, Vancouver, and Melbourne. If you missed the Walk this year, fear not. Planning for the 2010 Toronto Zombie Walk is undoubtedly already underway.