By Emily Bowers
Newer, tighter restrictions at this year’s parade and picnic may have saved the orientation event from being cancelled—even though party-goers still sprayed each other with shaving cream, and one tipsy student was taken to the hospital.
This summer, officials considered abolishing last Friday’s parade and holding a picnic in the Quad instead.
But, in the end, they decided to enforce stricter rules to keep the 43-year tradition alive.
Parade organizers from RyeSAC, Ryerson’s student government, and the university administration banned shaving cream and alcohol on the Yonge Street parade route, as well as backpacks in the picnic area.
“We want to make sure everyone here has a good time and we want to make sure it’s safe,” said RyeSAC president Cory Wright during the afternoon picnic. “And if people are getting hurt they’re definitely not having a good time.”
Students who did sneak shaving foam into the parade Friday afternoon were told to clean themselves off before getting on the Toronto Island-bound ferry.
A first-year information and technology management student who had too much to drink was taken to St. Michael’s Hospital, but was released shortly after his arrival.
“It was purely precautionary,” said RyeSAC special events programmer David Steele of the incident.
For the most part, officials were happy with the students’ conduct.
“I think most of the students, like 90 per cent of them in the parade, were fine,” said Frank Cappadocia, one of four lead parade marshals in charge of 45 other volunteers. “We had about five per cent that don’t always follow the rules, but that’s expected.”
Wright said although this year’s turnout was considerably less than in other years—about 1,300 as opposed to 3,000 in 1999—it was more because of the rain and not any of the new, stingier rules.
“To be honest, the best part of this is the music, the food and the people,” he said. “And we still have all of those things.”
The stricter rules stem from a long history of memorable parade mishaps.
- Last year, a 20-year-old female Ryerson student collapsed during the picnic and had to be taken to Mount Sinai hospital to be treated for alcohol poisoning
- The picnic was almost cancelled after students threw more than just shaving cream at the crowd in 1995. A bus of senior citizens was attacked with urine-filled water guns, and another would on her way to an interview was doused with debris. Administration had to deal with dozens of complaints, as well as some dry-cleaning and car-wash bills.
- In 1984, 17-year-old Jeff NeMarshof, a guest of a Ryerson student at the parade, broke his neck and died when he fell off a Centre Island ferry.