Thousands gather at massive climate rally in Vancouver
Thousands of people gathered outside Vancouver City Hall Friday afternoon to march into downtown Vancouver as part of a massive, international day of action.
Protestors met at 1 p.m. before marching over the Cambie Street Bridge to the Vancouver Public Library at Georgia and Hamilton streets.
The protest, which is one of 85 similar events across Canada Friday, is expected to have a significant impact on traffic before wrapping up around 5 p.m.
Eight different events were planned in Metro Vancouver Friday.
While a huge turnout was expected in Vancouver, the biggest event in the country was in Montreal where estimates suggested up to 300,000 people may take part. Teen activist Greta Thunberg, who inspired the movement, attended the protest there.
Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau and Green Party leader Elizabeth May attended the Montreal Event. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh took part in an event in Victoria.
Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is campaigning in Metro Vancouver on Friday, but will not be participating in any climate events.
Some school districts, including Vancouver and Surrey, are allowing students to attend the strike as long as they have parental permission.
Emily Carr University of Art and Design has cancelled all classes Friday afternoon to allow students to participate.
UBC and SFU both said students who plan on taking part should discuss their plans with instructors.
At UBC, faculty members that cancel classes in support of the climate action were asked to inform students in advance. SFU also acknowledged that classes could be cancelled by staff if participation aligned with “the academic principles of the program.”
Some businesses are also participating. MEC’s stores will be closed until 5 p.m. Friday to allow staff to participate in the event, and Lush Cosmetics is closing all its stores and manufacturing facilities Friday and will also shut down its website for several hours.
“Giving our thousands of staff the time to get out there and demand bold action is a no brainer,” Lush Cosmetics North America President and CEO Mark Wolverton said in a statement. “We all share this planet, so we need to band together to sound the alarm and show our politicians that ‘business as usual’ is no longer an option. The climate crisis wont wait, and neither will we.”
Other climate events in Metro Vancouver Friday included smaller events in New Westminster and Pitt Meadows.
The City of Vancouver closed its main parking lot due to the expected crowds, but says it's business as usual inside. They expect the lot will re-open later Friday afternoon as the marchers head downtown.
Here is where some Metro Vancouver school districts stand on student participation in Friday’s climate action: