Smaller Parade of Lost Souls Returns to the Drive

Semi-annual celebration of the dead is reborn as the Secret Souls Walk.

Credit: Flickr / Roland Tanglao

The whole community is invited to participate in the Parade of Lost Souls on Commercial Drive.

Commercial Drive’s eerie community-wide Parade of Lost Souls returns after last year’s hiatus to (secretly) honour the dead and wake the living


The history of the local Parade of Lost Souls has been as sketchy as the ghouls who lurk in its shadows. The semi-annual event organized by the Public Dreams Society has been hampered over the years by logistical concerns and planning breaks due to arts funding cuts.


Parade of Lost Souls /
Secret Souls Walk

Saturday, October 30, 2010

5–10 p.m.

Britannia Community Centre, 1001 Cotton Dr, Vancouver

Map | Facebook


This year the event is back, although with a slight change to its name. Dubbed the Secret Souls Walk, this year’s parade will be a bit more reserved than in previous years, a reflection of its empty coffers. Typically, the large-scale event costs about $50,000 to cover the closure of Commercial Drive, policing, toilets and security. The organization is coming up about $30–40,000 shy this year, so the Drive will remain open. Instead, revellers can expect a more secretive, windy, back-roads route than usual.


Regardless, I have never heard as many people whispering about the parade as I have this year in its rebirth. It is like a devilish secret flitting from ear-to-ear. “Pssst, have you heard? The Parade of Lost Souls is back.”


Celebration of the dead

“Honour the Dead and Wake the Living” is the cry that rises above the snaking mass of people dressed in their best representations of goulish, devilish lost spirits. In a world where many fear death, this is a night to grab it by the horns and celebrate its powerful aura and source of creative darkness. It is a time to break free from whatever holds you down and respectfully embrace your fears.


This moving spectacle will test your senses as fireworks are lit to frighten away evil spirits, faces are ghastly painted, shrines are honoured and prayers are issued for the peaceful souls of lost loved ones.


Secret Souls ‘secret’ parade route 

Taking place in its usual haunting grounds of East Vancouver, performers and event guides will begin leading 30-minute walking tours at 5 p.m., making their way through the streets and back alleys of the Commercial Drive area. Volunteers led by Public Dreams Society and Dusty Flowerpot Cabaret will be stationed at the Britannia Community Centre whispering directions of where and when to join these staggered groups as they meander along this year’s secret detour route. Gatekeepers will lead participants through interactive performances, art installations, shadow plays and more.


Parade of Lost Souls mass haunting

In 2008, there was a reported 35,000 people in attendance for the Parade of Lost Souls. With the changes to this year’s event, I wonder how many haunts will turn up this year? Organizers are expecting numbers to be down substantially, somewhere in the 1,000-range. I hope the city proves them wrong. I for one plan to be there in ghoulish disguise.