The highly divisive and controversial subject of pipelines unified a portion of the country Saturday as thousands rallied against fossil fuel development in a national day of action.

In Vancouver, a large crowd including environmentalists and First Nations gathered, taking aim at the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, tar sands development and climate change.

With more than one hundred other rallies held across the country, organizers pointed to Saturday as a tipping point in their stand against the proposal.

“Politicians give the permits but the people give the permission,” Forest Ethics spokesperson Ben West said. “We need to use this as an opportunity to ignite a larger conversation about energy in Canada.”

Not all protests across the country drew crowds as big as Vancouver, especially in oil country, with only a handful turning out in Calgary and a couple of dozen in Edmonton.

The rallies happened just two weeks after B.C.’s leader Christy Clark and Alberta Premier Alison Redford made a deal on the five conditions necessary for more pipelines to be built through B.C.

And with the National Energy Board’s decision on the Gateway pipeline expected in weeks, opponents are continuing to try and gain more support.

“The thing that’s consistent about this all across Canada is that people care about our role in the world,” West said. “Canadians want to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem.”

With a report from CTV's Penny Daflos.