On October 29th, people rose up from coast to coast to call out RBC for funding so many fossil fuel projects, including projects like Coastal Gaslink and Line 3 which are being rammed through Indigenous territory without the consent of traditional governments. Although RBC hasn’t changed its ways and Coastal Gaslink is still being built, we did manage to raise a lot of awareness and put Dave McKay on the defensive. We were particularly pleased with all the responses on social media saying “I had no idea RBC was doing this. I bank with them, but not for long!”
This blogpost is our way of saying thank you to all the artists and musicians who helped make the Toronto action such a spectacular success. These folks went above and beyond. Painting and playing music in the middle of the street on a cold, rainy day in a wind tunnel with cars honking angrily all around you is not the best of working conditions. Please help us show our gratitude by following these artists on social media and checking out their websites!
At the core of this action, and the reason we spent four hours blocking Wellington street, was a mural painted by Greenpeace volunteers under the guidance of mural artists Giovanna Galuppo, Reza Niik, Derek Simmers and Aileen. The image in the mural was designed by land defenders and Gidimt’en Checkpoint. They also chose the name for the day of action.
This mobile mural was painted specifically for the day of action by Katrina Canedo. A Toronto based artist, muralist, live painter, and aspiring tattoo artist who was born in Cebu, Philippines. The piece shows the power of our money — both our personal savings and investments and the gigantic oceans of money being thrown around so recklessly by the Big Five Banks. It was commissioned by School for Climate whose mobile murals have been transforming Toronto climate marches in recent months. Check out School for Climate’s mural campaign and follow Katrina on Instagram.
The brightest star of the day was Cassie Norton who not only played and sang, she also booked and scheduled all the other musicians! Cassie is an absolute pillar of Toronto’s climate activism community, tirelessly showing up at actions, while also running her own organization Music for Climate Justice. Thanks to Cassie, we were blessed with a truly wonderful lineup of musicians who kept the energy up and the tensions low in a high-stakes situation.
George Crotty Cellist/composer George Crotty’s inquisitive eclecticism embraces fiddle-derived ornamentation, the agile one-finger gestures of Indian classical music, adapted electric guitar techniques, and the bold articulations of jazz bass. Find his music at https://www.georgecrotty.com
Lorie Wolf with Tania Gill, Ariane Morin and Chris Banks. Lorie Wolf is a Toronto bandleader, drummer, composer and educator specializing in klezmer and jazz music. She runs her own band, Queen Kong, and is the director of the Toronto Klezmer Society. Her musical adventures can be found at Loriewolf.com.
Naomi Tessler, M.A. is a singer/songwriter and multidisciplinary artist who shares her love for the planet and all Mother Earth’s children through: original music, theatre, movement, storytelling and poetry. She is the Artistic Director of Branch Out Theatre–a professional theatre & community arts company that specializes in using theatre as a rehearsal towards social change. Website, Instagram, Twitter.
Neo Givord-Serrano is 12-year-old singer-songwriter and climate activist. You may have heard his song “There was an Earth” at Fridays for Future marches before the pandemic.
Philippa Curtin: first generation settler born on treaty 13 land. Ontario College of Art Alumni 1986. Singing and songwriting since 2010. Can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Abusarar comes from a long line of storytellers on her paternal side. Because Sarah grew up in several countries, she tells stories from all over the world with the focus on Palestinian and Croatian stories, where her roots lie. Her favorite stories are ones that promote social change. Find her at StorytellingToronto.org.
Susanne Maziarz leads choirs across the city. Not only did she perform on October 29th she stepped up and served as our MC for the day — even though it wasn’t a role she had ever performed at a protest before.
Taylor Abrahamse – At 6, Taylor decided not to grow up – instead, he’s grown in, on a mission to keep everyone’s inner-kid without a lid, through his distinctly Canadian shield singer-songwriter sunlight, mined from hard fought wisdom & sorrow, and spun into unforgettably deft & daft hook-laden hammerclaw Canadiana. Debut album out now produced by Eddie Kramer (Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin) and Fred Mollin (Jimmy Webb, Rumer). www.taylorabrahamse.ca or follow him on instagram.
Last but not least, we want to give a deeply heart-felt thank you to Ahsan Shabbir who drove in all the way from Scarborough only to discover that the bad weather and thinning crowd meant that we couldn’t hold the street long enough for him to perform. As the rain picked up and people scurried home, Ahsan performed this gorgeous song about the beauty of nature against the haunting backdrop of a parking garage and the relentless sounds of traffic.
Ahsan Shabbir is a singer/songwriter who believes that the world can become a better place if we always choose to stand with the oppressed and marginalized among us. You can find his music at Ahsanlive.com.