The Mad Hatter
This is one of the craziest things I’ve read all week, on a former Toronto birthday party venue called The Mad Hatter. Some choice quotes:
Former partygoers recall those afternoons as replete with bodily endangerment, ritual humiliation and untold health-code violations, all presided over by a bunch of vaguely sociopathic teenagers. They were the most outrageous, most envied, most startlingly fun birthday parties a generation of kids ever attended.
“It was raw brick, it was unfinished foam. And parents were never allowed down there, right? Which is crazy. Like, please drop off your children and no, you can’t actually come into the premises to even look around.”—Matt Brown, 35
“When the birthday cake came, they smashed it in my face and I didn’t know that was going to happen. It sucked. It really sucked. It just made me feel stupid.”—Efrim Menuck (Godspeed You Black Emperor!/Thee Silver Mt. Zion), 41
“The hot-dog room was my nightmare. There was just a table and they’d throw the food down like we were animals, and then you’d get to throw it at each other. All of the condiments, too. There was no method.”—Miriam Verberg, 34
“In retrospect, I ‘believe how totally dangerous they were—the shopping-cart bumper cars. One person would push a shopping cart while another kid sat in it…very treacherous. At my party we just went through a random door—I don’t think we were being supervised by anyone—and we ended up in the mall’s underground parking lot, so we were smashing into each other and smashing into cars.”—Erin Oke
“You wonder, ‘Could that really have been what it was like?’ I think when you reach the age of 16, you begin to realize that it was just petrifyingly dangerous. It should not have legally existed for as long as it did. Like, how long did it exist? Two decades? That makes literally no sense to me. I’m stunned nobody was killed. I’m stunned no one was sued.”—Matt Brown