By Melita Kuburas
Ryerson’s school spirit paraded down Yonge and Front streets, inviting stares from onlookers and enticing honking from drivers before settling at historic Fort York last Friday, the final day of RyeSAC’s Week of Welcome celebrations.
Students made use of Fort York’s open fields during the 47th Annual Parade & Picnic, throwing around Frisbees, footballs and volleyballs, and soaking up the last of the summer sun. Musical guests Bless, Popjoy and Stabilo opened for headliner Matthew Good. Cristina Ribeiro, RyeSAC’s vice president student life and events, is credited for the event’s organization and success.
“We had about 2,500 people show up for the parade and we usually have about 1,500,” Ribeiro said, estimating the number of students at Fort York at around 4,000. “The parade was the loudest I’ve ever heard it and I’ve been doing it for four years,” she said.
Ribeiro said the move to Fort York from the Toronto Islands allowed more space for merchant tables giving away freebies, a longer celebration, and a $2-$5 meal that included a choice of meat and side dish.
This year’s picnic featured three opening bands, instead of the usual one. Rapper Bless opened the festival to a tired student body scattered around the field, resting from the hour-and-a-half long walk. Not all of them appreciated the rapper’s style; fourth-year Computer Science student Richard Fenn commented, “If I hear the words ‘mother-fucker’ or ‘bitch-ass mother-fucker’ one more time…” Those looking for profanity-free (and shame-free) hip-hop could turn to the performance by RyeSAC’s executive team.
RyeSAC President Dave MacLean shouted “Rye Rye Baby” to the sound of Vanilla Ice’s infamous track, while Ribeiro proved she could flow’ with some well-rehearsed self-promotional rhymes.
“I was hoping to make people laugh and get the point across that Ryerson is great, because I don’t think we’re reminded often enough,” Ribeiro said about her performance.
Many wristbanded students enjoying themselves in the beer garden, a fenced-off area in the middle of the grounds, were lucky enough to get blue temporary tattoos slobbered on them by rowdy engineers. Even MacLean got in on the action.
Energetic pop rock band Popjoy from London, Ont. was a welcome addition to the clear skies and carefree students. Lead singer Sarah Smith, 26, says the band loves playing university events because the stage and the audience are a step up from the bar scene. “We get to travel and play for hot people.Students are hot, they treat us well,” the pink-mohawked singer said.
All of the band’s September shows are scheduled university events. “So far, this was the best set-up and we sounded great,” Smith said after their set, during which she and guitarist Michael McKeys jumped around in minimal clothing showing off their fit waistlines.
Popjoy has been touring Canada this year promoting their album Anyone Who Cares. Headliner Matthew Good hit the stage with a harder rock ‘n’ roll sound to cap off the afternoon.The beer garden emptied as students crowded the stage. Good played a selection of songs from earlier albums, like Avalanche, along with tracks off his new album White Light Rock & Roll Revue.
Good, known for his political rants and manifestos, maintained a consistent head-banging vibe, occasionally plugging his affiliation with human rights group Amnesty International. “What the hell is that thing?” screamed Good, pointing at someone wearing a purple cardboard rocket suit.
The question resulted in cheers from the crowd, and a subsequent round of crowd- surfing from Rocket Man. “I find it amazing that you can walk the streets of Toronto wearing one of those purple things and it’s no problem, but you march protesting a war and they pepper spray you,” added Good.
James Edward, a fourth-year Aerospace Engineering student, a.k.a. Rocket Man, thought it was awesome to be recognized by Good, even though the crowd-surfing destroyed his purple suit.
“It’s gonna go in the aerospace office,” said Edward about the remains. “This was a great time. Matt Good is awesome, but it comes down to people and how they feel,” he added. “It doesn’t matter how big the space is if the people are feeling good.”