Thousands of demonstrators marched peacefully in downtown Toronto on Saturday to show solidarity with protesters against the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline project in the U.S.

The march attracted at least 4,000 people, according to one organizer. It began in front of the Ontario legislature at Queen's Park and included a stop at the U.S. consulate on University Avenue. It ended at Nathan Phillips Square in front of Toronto city hall.

Attendees said they wanted to show their counterparts in Standing Rock, North Dakota that Canadians are on their side.

"We want to show the people at Standing Rock that there are thousands of North Americans that want to stand with them, that want to show our support," said demonstrator Nicolas Haddad.

Others described the Toronto rally as part of a global campaign.

"It's a really beautiful, empowering movement here, where you can see people from across the world coming together to stand for the same cause, and stand for the earth," said Camille Koon.

Toronto Dakota Access Pipeline demonstration

Peaceful demonstrators marched down Toronto's University Avenue towards city hall. (Mathieu Simard/CBC/Radio-Canada)

Cheri DiNovo, MPP for Parkdale-High Park, told CBC News the demonstration was also meant to grab the attention of Canadian political leaders.

"The simple reality is that we're here to support [the Dakota Sioux], but also to send a very strong message to our own governments, both provincial and federal, that this is treaty land, that you have to deal with First Nations, and that we need to keep the oil in the soil," said Dinovo.

Pipeline protests

The Dakota Access Pipeline project would carry oil for almost 1,900 kilometres across four U.S. states, from North Dakota's Bakken oil formation to pipelines in Illinois. From there, the oil would go to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Protesters have made a stand near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in North Dakota, calling for the pipeline to be rerouted. They say the pipeline and construction process pose a risk to local water supplies and sacred sites.