The wildest costumes we spotted at Toronto’s Burning Man send-off party, featuring a fire-breathing dragon bus

The wildest costumes we spotted at Toronto’s Burning Man send-off party, featuring a fire-breathing dragon bus

Next month, a legion of local Burning Man devotees will hit the highway, bound for Black Rock Desert in a minibus that doubles as a fire-breathing dragon. The homegrown art-car-slash-mobile-stage made an appearance this past weekend at Metaverse, a fundraiser and Burning Man send-off bash, where veteran and rookie Burners dressed up in “future Viking” apparel (because why not?) and held an outrageous dance party in an empty lot near Bloor and Lansdowne. The car was created by Heavy Meta, a team of 50 volunteers led by event organizers Kevin Bracken, Marie Poliak and Matt Von Wilde, who are throwing similar parties with the car across the continent:

We stopped by the party to find the party’s most outlandish ensembles.

Jesse Aitchison, 36

TV producer • Has attended Burning Man three times
“This is a post-apocalyptic, Mad Max desert look, inspired by a Goan artist who uses leather patch work, rough twine and studs to cobble together a quilt-like rag tag set of pants. I love Burning Man because it’s always different. It’s always challenging you. It’s always freaking you out if you’re doing it right.”


Theo Caldwell, 47, and Whitney Caldwell, 43

Owners of a dog rescue • Have attended Burning Man four and five times, respectively
“An entire wing of our house is just costumes, so we come to as many parties as we can where we’re allowed to wear this stuff. We believe that Vikings in the future will be very flowery. We got married at Burning Man and get married again there every year. We’ve got kids and dogs, so it’s is our week to be just us.”


Teth, 29

Glass blower • Has attended Burning Man three times
“I don’t actually use a legal name. I’ve escaped the system. We live a world of people who have no motivation at all. Everyone knows what the next step is to awesomeness, but no one’s willing to take it. People need to take it.”


Natasha Deza, 32

Dog groomer • First time attending Burning Man
“I truly love dressing up. I make everything myself at home. I’m a big fan of being free, hence the boobs out.”


Jim Kerr, 49

“Builder of UFOs” • Has attended Burning Man once
“I built my costume from shit that I had lying around. I travelled across Canada last year and found this wool place and they had all these cut-offs, so I held onto them for a year and now they’re my outfit.”


Mike Tido, 38

Gardener • First time attending Burning Man
“I found the leather at discount stores, I traded for the little mini bone skulls at a shop, and I made this shield out of a wall-mounted bowl from Ikea. I added some lights to it. I also have some welding goggles, and a big cut on my forehead from a run-in with a car. The battle with machines is real.”


Ethan Wilding, “forever old,” and Kelly Peters, “forever young”

Tech worker and CEO • Have attended Burning Man once and four times, respectively
Peters: “I was very nervous about cultural appropriation. I spend a lot of time reading SJW literature and decided that, having recently come from Iceland, that it was okay for me to express myself this way. Will my sarcasm come through?”
Wilding: “This is my work outfit. I just came from work.”


Amber Fraser, 23

Clothing and custom rave wear designer, and Hula Hoop performer • First time attending Burning Man
“The body paint is by Natasha Kudashkina. I dress like this all the time because I believe that, if you like something, do it. I hate when people have the attitude of ‘Where would I wear this?’ On your body, that’s where.”


Taylor Marie, 26

Dog walker • First time attending Burning Man
“I originally made this fairy costume for Halloween. I’ve had this fairy energy forever, and my friends tell me that I’m like a fairy. I don’t have them today, but I made these very beautiful fairy wings that go with it.”


Jonah Brotman, 32

Owner and co-founder of House of VR • Has attended Burning Man six times
“I went with Viking on the top, future on the bottom: my amazing fur vest and futurist nuvango leggings. I went to six straight Burning Mans between 2010 and 2015. I am a hardcore Burner; it has changed my life in many ways.”


Erin Rose, 25, artist

“Spiritual rockstar” • First time attending Burning Man
“I travel the world and bless every soul on every land through preaching, lyrics, dance, you name it. There’s a lack of love in this world today, and I’m here to just give it all to everybody in so many ways. Burning Man is a great group of people who are so accepting of everybody—you can be whoever you want to be without any judgment.”


Paul Fegan, 58

Tech worker • Has attended Burning Man once
“I can actually roll in fire in this outfit; it’s made out of Kevlar. I like the fact that somebody had a job that required a Kevlar lab coat. That is awesome.”


Catherine Tam, 24

Engineer • Has attended Burning Man once
“I just kept putting on different pieces of clothes until I thought it was enough. I like the culture of possibility at Burning Man—how it creates a culture of creativity and self-expression.”


Jess Oliver, 34

Web developer • First time attending Burning Man
“I wanted to support the art car and thought I’d come down to check it out. Everybody kind of went with ‘techno Viking.’ I wanted to do more of a Valkyrie.”


Charlotte Cameron, 27

Artist • First time attending Burning Man
“I made these horns and, just this afternoon, took a curtain down and made it into a cape. The costumes at these events are always random. Everyone kind of just pulls things together. Someone is in a furry thing, someone else is in a fish net thing.”


Florjan Gjolaj, 21

Cosmetics warehouse supervisor • First time attending Burning Man
“My inspiration is budget Viking. I got the outfit from Value Village for a total of $40, and I traded bath bombs for the hammer. What I like about Burning Man is the fact that people can be weird and get in touch with their inner auras and express themselves in a way where their inner kid can come out.”


Thadea Berezny, 23

Party promoter • First time attending Burning Man
“I’ve always been inspired by Japanese culture and tapestries from all around the world, so I’m taking little pieces of things that I think are beautiful from each culture and throwing it together into one thing.”