Ontario teachers pledged $1.5 million to help refill the B.C. Teachers Federation's empty strike fund at a rally Thursday at Canada Place in their support.

The rally attracted a crowd of more than a thousand teachers and supporters.

Ontario Secondary School Teachers Federation president Paul Elliott says three of the province's four teaching affiliates are ready to support their B.C. counterparts with cash.

"We have committed now as of today 1.5 million in donations," Elliot said to exclamations of, "thank you!"

"That number will grow because Christy Clark needs to know you are not alone in this. 60,000, 100,000 in Ontario alone are with you now."

On Wednesday, the Surrey Teachers' Association announced it would open a food bank this weekend because the BCTF strike fund had run out.

The rally also heard more calls for the appointment of a mediator.

BCTF President Jim Iker says there's been no progress in the last two days of bargaining and the best hope for a deal lies in mediation. He's nominated veteran mediator Vince Ready as the union's choice to resolve the dispute.

NDP Leader John Horgan called on the Premier to show some "statesmanship" and make the appointment herself.

On Thursday, Education Minister Peter Fassbender admitted the two sides were "not even close to a deal."

With files from Emily Elias