Toronto

'We Are Rising': Thousands march in Toronto to mark International Women's Day

Thousands of people celebrated International Women's Day in Toronto on Sunday with a rally and a march through downtown streets.

People carried banners, displayed placards, chanted slogans and drummed

Thousands of people celebrated International Women's Day in Toronto on Sunday with a march through downtown streets. These women drummed. (CBC)

Thousands of people celebrated International Women's Day in Toronto on Sunday with a rally and march through downtown streets.

This year's theme was "The World is on Fire — We Are Rising."

At the march, women and men carried banners, displayed placards, chanted slogans and drummed.

"We'll keep fighting... Until we win," people chanted.

Marchers made their way from the University of Toronto's Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) on Bloor Street to Yonge Street, south on Yonge Street to Gerrard Avenue, east on Gerrard to Church Street, south on Church to the Ryerson Students' Union.

A rally was held at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education before the march. (James Morrison-Collalto/CBC )

The march followed a rally at OISE, where speakers at the rally called on governments in Canada to respect Indigenous land rights and to take real steps to fight climate change.

In front of a packed auditorium, speakers also expressed support for Ontario teachers fighting against cuts to public education made by the Doug Ford government. 

WATCH: Women drum and chant 'Ni Una Menos' (not one less), a feminist slogan against gender-based violence, during the International Women's Day march in Toronto:

Women drum in a march on International Women's Day in Toronto. 0:44

'There is not equality on so many levels'

Jenny Ahn, event organizer and community activist with IWD Toronto, said the theme is appropriate because women are facing many challenges.

"We are bringing in the challenges of the current times. We have more challenges this year, with cuts to our education system and cuts to our shelters and we do not have pay equity. Unfortunately, there is not equality on so many levels."

But Ahn added the march is a celebration of women's victories, a recognition of women's history and an expression of women's strength to make progressive change in society. 

"This is what is bringing thousands and thousands of people together on this beautiful day," she said.

The rally and march were organized by a coalition of community groups, students and trade unions, and were sponsored by Women Working with Immigrant Women.

Speakers at the rally called on governments in Canada to respect Indigenous land rights and to take real steps to fight climate change. They expressed support for Ontario teachers fighting against cuts to public education made by the Doug Ford government. (James Morrison-Collalto/CBC )