“We Will Not Go Back”: 2019 Toronto Women’s March In Photos

All photos by Julianna Perkins

Neither snow nor wind nor subzero temperatures could stop the women of Toronto from marching for their rights on January 19.

Hundreds of women and allies from all walks of life descended on Nathan Phillips Square during one of the coldest weekends of the year for the third annual event, called Women March On: Toronto. The event was in coordination with other women’s marches taking place worldwide, which began in response to Donald Trump’s 2016 election.

The Toronto event emphasized the motto “We will not go back,” a reference to the various cutbacks recently enforced by Doug Ford’s provincial government, like changes to the sexual education curriculum and the Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP). It was also a response to the changing social tide surrounding women and their rights in 2019—we will not go back to before #MeToo, we will not go back to before Roe vs. Wade, and we will not go back to being silent in our own oppression.The march’s route—from Nathan Phillips Square to Queen’s Park—matched its intentions. According to the event’s Facebook page, the organizers’ goal was to make it “clear to policymakers that we will not accept rollbacks and attacks on our communities... We march to bring awareness to the changes needed to build a safer, more inclusive Toronto.”

Armed with signs, drums, and high spirits, the large group listened to several speakers before setting off on their journey. The crowd was addressed by women representing all kinds of communities: Black, WOC, Indigenous, disabled, trans*, LGBTQIA2+, genderqueer and non-binary, and more. Diversity, inclusion and intersectionality were the fundamentals of the day.

Presentations included a land acknowledgement by Dawn Maracle of Tyendinaga, and speeches by Tanya Tagaq, Kristyn Wong-Tam, Farrah Khan, Savi Gellatly-Ladd, Rayne Fisher-Quann, Melissa Graham, Yasmeen Persad, Megan Whitfield, and Sandy Hudson of Black Lives Matter Toronto. There were also performances by Indigenous drummers, gRRRRl Justice, and Raging Asian Women Taiko Drummers. You can learn more about the various presenters here.

If nothing else, the 2019 march proved that the women of Toronto are not willing to drift quietly back into a past mired by oppression and violence. They are willing to fight the weather, and the government, and the attitude of society to ensure that the rights of women everywhere remain in tact and a priority. They will not go back.