Huckdoll & Mr. Lady Productions presents:

Founded at San Rafael High School, in 1971, among a group of about a dozen pot-smoking wiseacres who called themselves the Waldos, who are now pushing 50.

The term was shorthand for the time of day the group would meet, at the campus statue of Louis Pasteur, to smoke pot. Intent on developing their own discreet language, they made 420 code for a time to get high, and its use spread among members of an entire generation.

I sat high above the city in my cozy warm office on a gloriously sunny Sunday. April 20.

I loaded 10 children, myself, and one grumpy dad with a credit card into a beautiful stretch limousine on a glorious, sunny Sunday, April 20 to celebrate the first decade of my little boys life.

The clock read 4:15PM when I heard the whomp, whomp, beep of the Vancouver Police department motorcycles. I looked down into the intersection to see them setting up street barricades and re-directing traffic.

I wondered who was in town or what was going on this time.

We wondered why traffic was still so backed up.

Was it the Queen of England again?

We thought maybe there was something going on, and seriously regretted not having opened the paper that morning.

Did a crane at the construction site across the street, fall again?

Perhaps it was the Prime Minister. But on a Sunday?

It's a Sunday for Christsake. There's never anything happening on a Sunday downtown.

I figured it must be the 2010 Winter Olympic Committee rollin' through town again. Those guys and gals seem to be more important that the Queen lately.

So, I headed downstairs to discover. It was 4:20. I stood in front of my building, in the crowd of people; quiet, peaceful, alive.

It was a little after half-past 4 when our limo came to a crawl through the city. We had purposely planned our party to just avoid the congestion from the Sun Run, but apparently, we misjudged. The streets were full of people; smiling, basking in the delicious weather, eating snacks. We passed building after building on our way through the city, and I imagined being one of those people standing on the sidewalk in front on them. Quiet, peaceful, alive. I looked at my limo full of squealing children and for a second, I wanted to trade with just one of them. The kids for the job.

I smelled it before I saw it...

We figured it was just a gorgeous day, and as we tooled through GasTown, as we passed the Olympic clock, as we headed for False Creek and our birthday cruise, we remembered why this is the greatest city on Earth. The people; the flood of people always outside, always on foot, always chill. We sat back, relaxed, and let it flow. In hindsight, maybe we had left a window cracked open....

A cloud of smoke gently rolled down the street and filled my lungs, followed by at least two hundred, happy, smiling, stoned citizens of this fine city.

Mark Feenstra Photography

Photo courtesy of the remarkably talented, local photographer Mark Feenstra. More captures of this event can be found by clicking on the above photo.

Mark Feenstra Photography

Photo courtesy of Mark Feenstra.

Mark Feenstra Photography

Photo courtesy of Mark Feenstra.

I watched and remembered my own presence every April 20th at 4:20 on a grassy patch of lawn at the art gallery, passing around joints with friends and strangers. I think that was the closest I'll ever get to my mom's generation.

On our way home, with a dozen kids in tow, we sat on the crowded train wondering who had lit a joint. There was definitely something in the air. Annoyed, we looked around to find the culprit. Slowly, we realized...everyone was stoned out of their minds. Even the kids, packed too close to the other commuters, starting to lick the handrails and eat their own train tickets. We are definitely too old for this crap.

A generation which founded this lovely 420 thing...

Freaking Vancouver, man. You can't even take your kids out for a day on the town without getting a contact high...

A generation filled with peace, love respect and unity. Something that is so very lost in today's society.

And then we remembered the smiles. We remembered the way the boat driver had nonchalantly relinquished his seat at the helm to our son, and let him pull the boat into port. The way we assumed his squint was from the sun bouncing off the water.

I smiled as I watched the Vancouver Police redirected traffic and allowed this peaceful event happen and my heart swelled yet again for this extraordinary city.

I smiled as I watched the other passengers wink at my kids, all ten kids, who were coming down from a sugar high, picking their noses, yelling a little too loud. I watched and waited for the eye-rolls and the huffs of annoyance, and they never came. What I saw was a mob of people, doing what they wanted to do, without fear. I saw a city that was swayed together, that opened its arms to everyone; police, hippies, business-women on street corners, ragged mothers, over-sugared children.

I'm still so in love with Vansterdam.

I'm still so in love with Vansterdam.