Pope John Paul II is back at an island retreat on Friday, resting after an exuberant rally on Thursday with more than 300,000 pilgrims in Toronto.

The Pope returned to Strawberry Island north of the city, where he will save his energy for an all-night vigil on Saturday leading up to an open-air mass on Sunday.

Fourteen young people, including three Canadians, were to join the Pope for lunch on the Lake Simcoe island Friday.

In Toronto, a major street was closed to traffic to allow participants of World Youth Day to carry a cross through the downtown in a re-enactment of Christ's walk to his crucifixion.

The Way of the Cross procession begins at around 7:30 p.m. eastern time and makes its way through the heart of the city.

On Thursday, the Pope flew in from the Basilian-run retreat by helicopter, and made his way through throngs of worshippers in his popemobile.

The young faithful, including some who had waited since dawn for the arrival, were clearly moved by the Pope's presence. Many were moved to tears at his sight.

In an hour on the stage, John Paul told the crowd to keep the faith in the face of temptation and hostility.

"You will discover the path of forgiveness and reconciliation in a world often laid to waste by violence and terror," he said.

"Answer the Lord with strong and generous hearts. He's counting on you never forget."

The 82-year-old Pope often looked tired and drawn while on the stage, but rose above it, and showed pleasure at the gathering.

"This great youth pilgrimage is eager to hold the whole world in a close embrace of faith and hope."

The love-fest between the Pope the his youthful followers concludes on Sunday with an open-air mass expected to draw as many as a million worshippers.