Toronto climate strike expected to draw thousands to Queen’s Park

Millions of youth around the world have taken to the streets as part of the Global Climate Strike — and on Friday, it’s Toronto’s turn.

Thousands are expected to take to the streets across the GTA as part of weeklong protests inspired by Swedish activist, Greta Thunberg’s #FridaysForFuture movement. The message: governments need to take immediate action to deal with climate change.

On Friday, 85 cities across Canada are set to hold climate strikes. Here’s what you can expect in the GTA.

Toronto’s biggest march at Queen’s Park

The city’s biggest strike is expected to take place outside Queen’s Park.

The local chapter of Fridays for Future, a group who advocates for youth to take action to combat climate change in solidarity with Thunberg, is hosting the event, which begins with an 11 a.m. rally. (Thunberg herself will be in Montreal, where the city estimates some 300,000 will march.)

At noon, the group is expected to march east on Wellesley Street, then south on Bay, west on Queen Street and back up University Avenue to Queen’s Park.

There will also be a pre-strike art demonstration at 10 a.m. that will see Greenpeace Canada, local groups and volunteers painting large murals along the march route. A concert will end the event, with Barenaked Ladies bassist Jim Creegan making an appearance, along with other musical acts.

Various speakers will be in attendance, including numerous indigenous activists such as Cody Looking Horse, a young activist who was part of the Dakota Access Pipeline protests at Standing Rock.

Schools taking part

Schools around the GTA are aware their students will be walking out, and some are even getting on board with the strike.

The Leap Chapter of the University of Toronto is planning a mass student walkout for the climate strike. They plan on meeting outside the St. George Street entrance at 10:30 a.m. to join other students at the main rally at Queen’s Park.

The Toronto District School Board (TDSB) and the Toronto Catholic District School Board are aware of the strike and are expecting students to participate and have asked their schools to avoid scheduling tests and other assessments on that day.

The TDSB is requiring students under the age of 18 to provide parental permission to leave class. Students who are not in attendance and have not notified their teacher will be marked absent.

Strikes also taking place across city, GTA

Scarborough will host its own climate strike at Albert Campbell Square, near Brimley Road and Ellesmere Road.

Scarborough’s very own young climate activist, 19-year-old Delenn Kershaw, is behind the effort there, which begins at 1 p.m.

Many other events are sprouting up across the GTA.

The Mississauga Climate Action group has organized an event in Celebration Square, near Mississauga’s City Hall, at 12:30 p.m.

Major companies closing their doors

A number of companies are shutting their doors in solidarity with the climate strike.

Mountain Equipment Co-op is closing its Canadian stores until 5 p.m. local time, saying they want to provide their staff the opportunity to join the strike.

Lush Cosmetics North America will shut down all operations for the day.

And Patagonia, the outdoor clothing maker, is also stopping its operations and encouraging customers to support climate striking students.

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