Everything you need to know about the climate change march in Montreal
First things first – Friday’s demonstration is supposed to be massive. Read on, and plan your day right.
Who will be there?
The City of Montreal expects as many as 300,000 people to take part including thousands of students of all ages, who in most cases will be sprung from their classes one way or another by accommodating school boards.
The Commission Scolaire de Montreal has cancelled all classes for example, while the English Montreal Schoolboard has opted to keep schools open but allow students to skip school to march, if they have their parent’s okay.
Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer said he won't attend the march, either here or in Vancouver where he’s campaigning, but that his party would be represented. Quebec Premier Francois Legault will also take a pass, having previously criticized some schoolboards for cancelling classes.
"It is with great hope that I watch you walk for our future. And it is with a helping hand that I propose to help us build a more prosperous, greener and therefore more proud Quebec," he wrote.
Count on Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg to be there, front and centre, along with Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante.
Thunberg told the Swedish talk show Skavlan that she has accepted the offer and will use Arnold Schwarzenegger's electric car to drive to Montreal.
When and where is it all happening?
Throngs of people will likely start drifting towards the George-Etienne-Cartier statue on Mount Royal around 11 a.m. The march officially begins at noon.
Then – a wide swath of Montreal’s downtown core will be flooded with people. Driving within that zone will be next to impossible until at least 7 p.m. but public transit in Montreal, Longueuil and Laval will be free, so leave the car at home if you can. You can also hop on a Bixi for free, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Friday.
What route is the march taking?
On Facebook , organizers said they are keeping the exact route of the march to themselves for “security and logistical reasons,” but according to a source, the plan is to head:
- south on Parc Avenue
- east on Sherbrooke Street
- south on St-Laurent Boulevard
- and then west on Rene-Levesque Boulevard
- at 4 p.m. there will be performances and speeches, including one from Greta Thunberg at the final downtown destination
Top traffic tips, starting at noon:
-Robert-Bourassa Blvd, the Bonaventure expressway and the access from the Ville-Marie expressway, will be closed in both directions
-The Victoria Bridge will have only two lanes open to the South Shore
-the Metro’s orange, green and yellow lines will be packed with passengers
-About 50 STM, RTL bus lines and trains will be affected or cancelled
-The downtown and Mansfield stations will not be in use so buses will be redirected to the Longueuil and Angrignon metro stations
Official events are supposed to wrap up at 7 p.m. but that doesn’t mean the city’s roads and public transit network will get back to normal then. Police will give city authorities the green light when enough people have left the area, and streets are safe, said a Transport Ministry spokesperson.
STM chairman Philippe Schnobb said marchers need to be patient and follow the road rules.
"We know how to deal with a large amount of riders," said Schnobb.
The STM tweeted Thursday that it will not allow bikes on the metro lines Sept. 27.
What’s this climate strike all about?
Keeping momentum going.
The idea is for students and adults to leave school and work to take a stand (and a long walk), as they send a strong and united message that addressing climate change can’t wait. Having more than one strike so close together helps the movement power along, according to website Global Climate Strike Net, run by 350.org.
“There is huge power in sustained action week after week to match the scale of the climate emergency,” the website reads.
A global climate strike on September 20th kicked off a week of climate-related activities, culminating in a second global strike on Friday. Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg was the primary inspiration for young people, calling for students to take action.
Which Canadian cities are striking this Friday?
Some of the cities where strikes will also be held are, Vancouver, Thunder Bay, Ont., Victoria, Winnipeg, Yellowknife, Calgary, Regina, Edmonton, St. John’s, N.L., Halifax and Toronto.