Posted with permission from Toronto Star

Today is the 20th day of the 4th month of the year.

In case you’ve forgotten – or never even knew – that’s “4/20,” the holiest of holy days for potheads, the stoner’s Oktoberfest.

Here are five things about April 20, which explain why you may see red-eyed folks at Dundas Square this afternoon:

The Waldos, part I

It’s all a bit hazy, but the 4/20 association with marijuana seems to have started with a group of friends who hung around outside San Rafael High School in Marin County, California, near a statue of scientist Louis Pasteur.

They’d meet at 4:20 p.m.

They called themselves “The Waldos” because they met by a wall.

Aside from smoking together, their mission was to discover a mythical lost pot crop somewhere northwest of San Francisco.

They never did find it.

Yonge-Dundas Square

This is the GTA version of The Waldos’ wall.

It’s where annual gatherings of local pot enthusiasts take place each year on April 20 at 4:20 p.m.

Aside from puffing, they wave Canadian flags in which the maple leaves are replaced with marijuana plants, and listen to speakers.

Last year, City Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam addressed the assembled multitude from a stage decorated with marijuana plants.

“I am here to support you!” Wong-Tam told them. “I believe that the festival, 4/20, supports democratic principles,” the politician said. “Medical marijuana should be accessible to those who need it for pain control. It’s about quality of life.”

The Waldos, part II

A brother of one of The Waldos knew Phil Lesh, bassist for the pot-loving band The Grateful Dead.

Lesh liked “4/20” as shorthand for puffing marijuana and soon fans – or “Deadheads” - were hearing it, too.

Some Deadheads handed out flyers in Oakland, inviting people to smoke joints – which they called “4/20” on April 20 at 4:20 p.m.

This was picked up by High Times magazine, the Hansard of pot culture, and a stoner’s holiday was born.

Southern signs

If you’re driving through Idaho, Washington State or Colorado, don’t strain your eyes looking for a road sign with “420” on it.

That’s because those mile markers have been changed to 419.9 signs.

The old 420 signs had been lifted so often by pot enthusiasts that it became pointless to replace them.

What 4/20 isn’t

Let’s be blunt. There are plenty of unsupported myths wafting about regarding 4/20. Among them:

- The Grateful Dead didn’t always stay in Room 420 when on tour.

- 420 is not police code for marijuana smoking in progress or the best date to plant marijuana.

- It’s also not taken from the 1966 Bob Dylan song “Rainy Day Women #12 & 35,” even though 12 times 35 equals 420.

- It’s certainly not about Adolf Hitler’s birthday, even though he was born on April 20, 1889.