The start of the Jewish holiday of Chanukah on Wednesday evening was marked by celebrations across the GTA.

At Mel Lastman Square in North York, a large menorah was lit to start the eight day festival of light.

“I support the Jewish community 100 percent and I want to thank them for their support over the years,” said Mayor Rob Ford, who attended the event.

At Queen’s Park, meanwhile, Premier Kathleen Wynne lit a menorah and held a Chanukah reception with a group of young people.

"I'm so glad this is another celebration of light," Wynne said.

Students from the Downtown Jewish Community School lit the menorah at the Miles Nadal Jewish Community Centre at Spadina and Bloor, leading a crowd in song.

Annie Matan Gilbert, a teacher at the school, said that while each night a candle will be lit by a new group, it was important to start with the children.

“The kids are what bring everybody together and they're what make the programs happen and bring families together, too,” she said.

In Ottawa, meanwhile, Prime Minister Stephen Harper issued a statement saying Chanukah “provides a meaningful opportunity for all Canadians to reflect on the remarkable contributions, both past and present, of the Jewish-Canadian community.”