The 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, who has captured the world's attention in her crusade against climate change, brought her message to Montreal Friday, making history with the largest protest to ever take place in the city.

Organizers of Friday's massive march in Montreal say more than 500,000 people attended, making it the largest protest in the province's history.

An official source tells CTV News Montreal the number was closer to 315,000.

The protesters marched from the Sir Georges-Etienne statue at Mount-Royal through the streets of Montreal, converging at Bonaventure Square at the southern tip of Roubert-Bourassa Blvd., where the crowd cheered and listened intently to Thunberg's message.

"The people have spoken and we will continue to speak until our leaders listen and act," Thunberg told the huge crowd gathered at the end of the march downtown. "We are the change and change is coming!"

Thunberg chastised world leaders, saying "they disappointed us once again with their empty words."

As she thanked those protesting against global warming, she had a warning for politicians: "We will keep on doing it until they listen."

Among those in attendance were legendary Canadian environmentalist David Suzuki and at least three federal party leaders: Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau met with Thunberg ahead of the march, while Green Party leader Elizabeth May and Bloc Quebecois leader Yves-Francois Blanchet took part.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh chose to join an event in Victoria and Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer did not participate. 

Thunberg also met Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante in private Friday afternoon, and received the keys to the city Friday evening.

"In Montreal, the young people were already very mobilized, but being able to count on the presence of Greta today gave a lot of hope and energy to these young people - and not so young," said the mayor.


CTV journalists covered the afternoon-long march live. Check out their reporting below: