Here's what you need to know about Montreal's climate march

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante is expecting an estimated 300,000 people to come out on Friday. Here's a breakdown of what to expect.

Key questions about what's expected to be a massive protest

Thousands of students marched on Fridays earlier this spring — this Friday, student protesters will be joined by Greta Thunberg, the teenage Swedish climate activist who began the global climate strikes. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante is expecting an estimated 300,000 people to come out on Friday and take part in the planned climate march.

The event is part of a global climate strike with participants calling for action to address the climate crisis. 

Here's what you should expect on Friday — and some tips on how to get around the city.

Where will the march be?

The march is supposed to start at 12 p.m. on Friday at the Sir George-Étienne Cartier monument, at the foot of Mount Royal on Parc Avenue.

The exact route of the march is unclear. In a Facebook post, one of the organizers said they will keep the route and the final destination of the march under wraps for "security and logistical reasons."

There will be speeches at the end of the march, and Swedish teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg will meet with Plante and receive the keys to the city.

Those with limited mobility can join the march by meeting at Place de la Paix, on St-Laurent Boulevard, said an organizer.

The SPVM is asking Montrealers to plan ahead for transportation on Friday — and says that moving around will be particularly difficult between Berri and Peel, and between Saint-Joseph, and de la Commmune. 

The SPVM says traffic will be congested betweeen Berri and Peel, as well as between St. Joseph Boulevard and De la Commune Street — and recommends people use public transit instead. (CBC )

How can I get there?

Given the large number of participants expected to attend the march, organizers are recommending people use public transit to get to the march.

Plante announced public transit in Montreal will be free for users on Friday, as will public transit on Montreal's North and South shores.

Bixis will also be free from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Friday. 

There will be a Bixi valet service at two stations closest to the starting point of the march, on Parc Avenue and on Mont-Royal Avenue.

The STM is advising people to take the Metro instead of the bus due to potential road closures.

16-year-old Swedish Climate activist Greta Thunberg departs after speaking at the 2019 United Nations Climate Action Summit at U.N. headquarters in New York City, New York, U.S., September 23, 2019. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson (Lucas Jackson/Reuters)

How will the march affect transportation?

Mobilité Montreal is expecting major street closures on the day of the event.

Robert-Bourassa Boulevard and the Bonaventure Expressway will be completely closed.

The two lanes on the Victoria Bridge will be open toward the South Shore only.

Starting at 11 a.m., all Exo and RTL buses that stop at the Mansfield Street and Bonaventure downtown terminals will be redirected to the Longueuil and Angrignon terminals.

Are classes cancelled for the march?

In anticipation of the big march, several school boards, universities, and CEGEPs in Montreal have cancelled classes.

The Lester B. Pearson School Board and the Commission Scolaire de Montréal (CSDM) have pedagogical days on Sep. 27.

The English Montreal School Board will hold classes as usual, but says parents can give students permission to attend the march.

Classes will also be held as usual at Commission scolaire Marguerite-Bourgeoys and Commission scolaire de la Pointe-de-l'île. 

Concordia University, University de Montreal, Université du Québec à Montréal have cancelled afternoon classes. McGill University has not officially cancelled classes. 

Several CEGEPs, including Dawson College, Vanier College, Cégep du Vieux Montreal, and Cégep de Saint-Laurent have cancelled classes.

Thousands of protesters took part in a similar march in May. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

What does it mean for businesses?

Some Montreal business owners have also decided to shutter their doors.

​Ivan Manabo, co-owner of Beardlington barber shop in Verdun, told CBC News that he will close down on Friday so that staff can attend the march.

"We all have our part to play," he said. "It's not about how much money you're making, its mostly about learning how to give back."

Lola Rosa, a mainstay vegetarian restaurant close to McGill, will also be closed during the march.

While some places are shutting down for the day, other businesses are finding unique ways to contribute.

​Bar Palco, on Wellington Street, will be serving a special cocktail called the "Green New Deal" in honour of the climate strike, and donating $5 from every sale to a local urban agriculture initiative.


Jennifer Yoon


Jennifer Yoon is a journalist at CBC Montreal.

With files from Chloë Ranaldi and Maya Aidelbaum


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