News / Toronto

Women's March sees Canadians rally behind 'sisters to the south' in D.C.

Hundreds of Canadian women, and some men, joined throngs of marchers clad in pink "pussy hats" for the Women's March on Washington Saturday morning.

Canadian mother and daughter, Sofia Rizzo, right, and Cathy Rizzo, from Toronto, participate in the Women's March on Washington in Washington, D.C.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Della Rollins

Canadian mother and daughter, Sofia Rizzo, right, and Cathy Rizzo, from Toronto, participate in the Women's March on Washington in Washington, D.C.

Roughly 600 Canadians, most of them women, made the overnight trek on chartered buses from Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa and Windsor, Ont., to participate in the march. Others made their way to the U.S. capital by car or plane.

Five buses traveled to Washington for the Women's March.

May Warren/Metro

Five buses traveled to Washington for the Women's March.

Met with cheers, thank yous and shouts of "you go Canada!", the women joined throngs of marchers clad in pink "pussy hats" for the Women's March on Washington.  

 Canadians protest during the Women's March on Washington in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, January 21, 2017.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Della Rollins

Canadians protest during the Women's March on Washington in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, January 21, 2017.

The five Toronto buses under the banner of Canadian Women's March made it through the U.S. border at Buffalo, New York without issue around 11 p.m. Friday night.

Buses assembled at RFK Stadium in D.C., Saturday morning and marchers made their way to the Eastern Outdoor market for the march. 

As the group wound down the streets of Washington, D.C. — many wearing pink knit hats or carrying signs emblazoned with the maple leaf and the slogan "sisters of the north" —  residents came out onto their porches to offer words of encouragement, and in at least one case, free coffee.

Some American marchers expressed surprise that the group had travelled so far to take part in what's been dubbed the Women's March on Washington.

 Canadians protest during the Women's March on Washington in Washington, D.C.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/Della Rollins

Canadians protest during the Women's March on Washington in Washington, D.C.

Toronto's Andrea Dawkins, wrapped in a Canadian flag, said she just felt compelled to come.

" I felt like I had to do something, I didn't know what, but I just felt like I had to support our sisters to the south," she said.  

The march is not a protest against Trump, organizers say, but a celebration of equality, diversity and inclusion. Many Canadian participants said they were spurred to act by Trump's controversial comments during  the election campaign.

"It’s very surreal," said Jocelyn Murphy, who is part of the Toronto delegation.

"I think when I see a recognizable landmark I'll be like, ‘Oh my God!’," she said with a laugh. "All the pink hats are killing it"

There are also a few Canadian men in D.C. Bernard Laryea said he's marching in support of women, including his friend Marsha Darby who convinced him to come. 

"I don't like how he degrades women and how he makes fun of people with disabilities," he said of President Trump.

Even before the march got started, several people stood on their porches and lawns as marchers made their way to the rally. 

One family was serving hot coffee, another had "Hershey's Kisses" for marchers.

Beata Carissa made the bus trip alone. Born in Indonesia, the recent U of T grad has lived in Singapore and said she's used to thinking of global problems in other continents. But that changed after Donald Trump was elected.

"I've always looked elsewhere to kind of help the world, " she said.

"It's just necessary to look within."

Pat Smith, from Barrie and traveling on a bus out of Toronto, said it's nice to be with women of all different ages.

"My daughter thought it was going to be old ladies like me," she said with a laugh.

Smith said she's relieved that the buses made it over the U.S. border, which she was "really worried about."

Now she's ready to march. 

"I'm resolute," she said.

-with file from the Canadian Press

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