Convocation Hall on the University of Toronto campus was the first stop of the Climate Tour with David Suzuki and Stephen Lewis, and the only one with Buffy Sainte-Marie.
How did we come to attend? Another benefit of slow train travel in Canada. We did not know about the Climate Tour when we made our train reservations from Halifax to Saskatoon for Sept. 13. We had a layover in either Montreal or Toronto the night of Sept. 14 as the next train to the West did not leave until Sunday, Sept. 15. Only after we had decided to stay in Toronto, did we learn that the first stop of the Climate Tour was that very night. We booked our tickets online for general seating at Convocation Hall on the University of Toronto campus. Our train arrived in Toronto at 4 p.m. and the event began at 7:00. We expected a crowd so we arrived a good hour early to get a good seat, and already long lines had formed.
The hall was packed and people were turned away at the door. The youth contingent for the most part were university students in a reserved section of the auditorium. The most prominent demographic was in the same age group as the three speakers on the stage.
Click on link to view Buffy Sainte-Marie
We were encouraged to take photos and videos and to share widely on social media. The energy in the room was palpable — a veritable climate activists’ rock concert. The audience rose as one singing along with Buffy “Carry it On.” The messages from David Suzuki and Stephen Lewis and Buffy Sainte-Marie were all hopeful, building on the momentum of Swedish teen Greta Thunberg representing a tipping point from words to action on the climate crisis.
“We’re in this together,” was a common theme, and this trio stressed that the climate crisis demanded multiple approaches, using whatever gifts we are blessed with — in Buffy’s case, that of singer and songwriter.
The event was billed as non-partisan but with the federal election just over a month away, Stephen Lewis relentlessly mocked both the party that left climate change out of its campaign, and the party that campaigned on the urgency of climate change while moving ahead with building the pipeline.
David Suzuki urged us to take our lead from youth and also from the Indigenous People as stewards of Mother Earth