A group of Torontonians gathered in Nathan Phillips Square Thursday, not to celebrate Valentine's Day, but to unite to bring an end to violence against women.
The movement One Billion Rising was created to raise awareness about the plight of women who endure violence around the world. People joined together to dance as an act of solidarity.
The Toronto get-together featured a dancing flash mob, musicians, dancers, a First Nations storytelling group and guest speakers such as city councillors Kristyn Wong-Tam and Mike Layton.
Rallies were held in 203 countries around the globe.
"Women from South Africa to Sweden have come together to dance and say enough is enough," said Tanisha Taitt of One Billion Rising Canada.
Thursday's rally was coupled with a dance party in the evening at the Opera House where the money raised will go toward a local charitable organization that helps women and children who are the victims of violence.
The United Nations estimates that at least one in three women is a victim of sexual or physical abuse by a partner in her lifetime.
Catherine Szymczyk, 24, said that in the past, she had experienced violence and taking part in One Billion Rising helps her find comfort and solidarity.
"It's enlightening because we're not just at a public speech, we get to dance and everyone makes it easy and cool do to," said Szymczyk.