Women’s March in Toronto focuses on inclusion, equality

Thousands of people gathered at Nathan Phillips Square on Saturday to participate in the second Women’s March in Toronto.

Bianca Spence, one of the organizers of the event said this year’s theme for the march was “Defining Our Future.”

“I think last year’s march was a resistance against Trump,” Spence said.

“We’ve decided to change the focus for this year’s march and bring it back to local issues.”

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The march started at noon with several speakers addressing the crowd.

Across the U.S., a march for female power

Former Ontario MPP Zanana Akande, who spoke at the march, said it is an opportunity for women to come together to support each other.

“We’ve come together intending to demonstrate our support for each other and that’s the most important issue,” she said.

The march in Toronto is just one of several happening across the country: there were also marches in Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg and Saskatoon.

“It’s great. Everyone coming together to do this… it feels really nice to be part of something so big,” Spence said.

The first Women’s March happened in January 2017 and it came on the heels of U.S. President Donald Trump’s inauguration. Protests happened across both Canada and the U.S.

Photo Gallery: Across Canada, women march in solidarity

Many people were upset by his divisive policies and boasts of sexual misconduct against women, and hundreds of thousands of people organized marches around the world, using the events to proclaim messages of inclusion, equality and empowerment.

One year later, marchers were out in force again in hopes of extending those messages to an even wider audience.

Suzanne Cayley went to the Women’s March in Washington in 2017 and said the event was life-changing.

“It was the most amazing experience I ever had in my life,” she said.

‘We need to keep pushing’: Women’s march returns to Montreal

Cayley attended the Toronto march on Saturday with her family and said she wants to see women having equal opportunities in the workforce.

“We shouldn’t have to be doing what we are doing to be able to have an equal place at the table and be respected for what we are and what we bring to families, communities and the business world,” Cayley said.

Canadian organizers said the 38 communities hosting marches, rallies and other events across the country had serged more than 20 per cent from the number that took part last January.

-With files from The Canadian Press.

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