VANCOUVER — The no-fun city became the no-pants city Sunday as hundreds of participants stripped for a ride on Vancouver’s SkyTrain.
During the city’s fourth No-Pants Subway Ride, innocent-looking subway riders congregated at Commercial-Broadway station at 1 p.m. The event, which gave new meaning to “flash mob,” is all in the name of making strangers laugh and feel slightly uncomfortable.
Participants were wearing pants at first, but carried backpacks to stash their clothing once they dropped trousers. The only other clue was organizer and Vancouver Improv Anywhere group member Larry Piché, shouting into a megaphone.
While waiting for her cue, first-timer Mimsy Reid was wearing red fleece lounge pants with dog-paw prints on them. They were in honour of her beloved, but ill, 13-year-old miniature Australian Shepherd dog Ayesha, who was spending her last few days at home.
Reid came out to remind herself to laugh despite losing her oldest friend.
“She made me have a reason to live every day,” said Reid, who once suffered from depression. “Everybody dies and everybody takes their pants off. It’s the same thing.”
Her friend Kody Todd, whom she met at Wreck Beach, was also excited about the prospect of taking off his pants in public.
“I’ve never done it before but I heard about it through Leaders at Play,” Todd said. That’s a workshop that encourages members to get in touch with their “childlike self and spice up life and remember to play,” he said.
Comedy group Improv New York initiated the no-pants subway ride concept more than decade ago, and the annual event now shocks commuters in 50 cities in 35 countries on the same day.
Transit security were present — and patient — with the throngs of the pants-less crowding onto SkyTrain cars. Other riders were bemused at the sight of bare legs dressed up with cowboy boots, high-top runners, deck shoes and in one case, Crocs with socks.
Some asked for photos and others tried not to stare at the wide variety of underpants that were on display — from tightie-whities, Pac-Man boxer shorts, Minnie Mouse panties, pink bloomers, and traditional cotton and lace.
Participants are encouraged to act nonchalant and, when asked why they’re not wearing pants, to pretend not to notice there are hundreds of other half-naked people standing around.
Nick Molnar said he learned about the event on Facebook just an hour before it started and headed down. Luckily, he was wearing his favourite boxers.
Others were more careful in their planning.
Hiroki Mori, in Vancouver on business from Japan, was wearing the top half of a grey suit with a sweater vest, a tie, dress shoes and carrying a briefcase.
“I just tell people I forgot to wear pants,” he said, laughing and enjoying his photo opportunity. “It’s all for fun.”
The only other rule was to wear something family-friendly and not too revealing. The age range of participants was from 7 to 77, organizer Piché said.
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