The tally


With 51 precincts reporting specific estimates—restricting the count to media-reported figures and, where available, police counts—it’s possible to account for approximately 21,000 anti-prorogation protestors at yesterday’s rallies.

Charlottetown. 150
Fredericton. 60
St. John’s 200
Halifax. 400
Truro. 20
Sydney. 80
Antigonish. 100
Montreal. 300
Ottawa 3,500
Kingston. 300
Belleville. 250
Peterborough. 400
Orillia. 220
Oshawa. 100
Whitby. 100
Cobourg. 150
Owen Sound. 200
North Bay. 100
Barrie. 200
Orangeville. 100
Toronto. 7,000
Oakville. 200
Guelph. 300
Waterloo 500
Hamilton. 350
Brantford. 50
London. 500
Stratford. 150
Windsor. 200
Sudbury. 250
Sault Ste Marie. 60.
Thunder Bay. 100
Winnipeg. 300
Regina. 300
Saskatoon. 400
Edmonton. 200
Calgary. 200
Lethbridge. 50
Kelowna. 100
Kamloops. 75
Penticton. 80
Vernon. 50
Prince Rupert. 25
Prince George. 24
Maple Ridge. 60
Nanaimo. 60
Terrace. 35
Williams Lake. 25
Vancouver. 1,000
Victoria. 1,500
Yellowknife. 30

Total. 21,004


The tally

  1. I think they are estimating somewhere between 150-200 people at Guelph rally I attended but they did have perogies on offer so that probably helped bring out people.

    • Anything to discredit the numbers, eh. You just don't want to face reality.

  2. Nice work, Terrace! Looks like the democratic spirit is alive and well on the banks of the Skeena.

    • Just curious, do you have a connection to Terrace?

      • My brother lived in Alexis Creek for a few years, which is relatively (by Northern BC standards) close to Terrace. We always had plans to take an off-road motorcycling trip down the dirt road that joins Hwy 15 to Hwy 20, so I looked up a bunch of stuff on Terrace; we never made the trip, but the affection remains.

        • Uhh, OK. About how close to Terrace could you have gotten on the back roads? Still a fair way to travel on Hwy 16, no?

          I'm only curious because I grew up in Terrace, although that was many years ago, and I've only been back once, also years ago. Therefore the soft spot.

          • Oh, good heavens, I defer to you on all things Terrace. Yeah, would have been a loooong way on Hwy 16. I forget why we were going to use Terrace as our base — maybe my brother had a friend there? It's all a bit hazy now. So, no, I'm just one of a good number of people who admire Terrace from afar.

          • Relax Jack, I'm not Jarrid. Your reference just tweaked my interest, nothing more.

            Some of the tourism links that popped up when I googled Alexis Creek seem very nice, so thanks for that!!

  3. Just to give you a hint as to the mug's game counting heads is, even the article in the Toronto Star right now states "an estimated crowd of 3000".

    You don't have a tally, While i think you're pretty close on the Toronto number, we'll never get an accurate total out of the sources we have.

  4. 400 -700 people at Guelph. 500 is the # I've seen several settle on.

  5. Montreal is also way too low – estimates there from organizers say 500 – 1000. It's not a surprise Conservative media and opponents would try to low-ball the figures however – anything to try and undermine their legitimacy.

    • The Gazette reported 300 for Montreal, and other media sources reported 400. Even Ian Capstick's twitter-derived estimates (which are quite high in some cases) place the figure at 500. It's pretty obvious that any estimate that goes as high as 1,000 is wildly inaccurate.

      It's a well known fact that rally organizers aren't the most reliable gauge of rally attendance. I'll stick to objective media reports, thanks.

      • In between 300/400 is the best bet on the Montreal rally, Phillip Square is not big and from the pictures it did not look full. Plus the rally was held at 11h00am till 1h00pm because of another rally for something else.

      • Are you CR, or are you paid political advertising?

        Nothing critical about your reasoning lately.

        Why don't you start a "pro-Harper" Facebook group and show all of us how your "average Canadian" will gladly sign up.?

        How much do they pay you to spout this CRAP ?

        I mean, seriously — nobody I know buys this "ca ca" any more (including my CON blood brother who regrets ever casting a vote their way — and I thought he was unimpeachable).

        I am beginning to think of the party you seem to support as the POS party of Canada.

        Everyone avoids it because it smells bad and soils your shoes.

        • Oh, great. Another crank who's throwing a hissy fit at me.

  6. The Maple Ridge protest was reported on David Atkins site. He didn't put down the number, but I did a head count at the high point of the rally and there was close to 50 there. 46 to be exact.

    • Yayy for head-counters!

  7. Pics here of Guelph rally. A lot more ppl there then 150 -200.

  8. I think they are wrong. I don't believe the Sq where we were would hold that many people.

    And what Conservative media are you referring to, exactly? Rally organizers have just as much, if not more, motive to inflate numbers than media does in downplaying them. I generally accept what the police estimate because they don't have a perogie in the prorogue debate, so to speak.

    • I was there and I would say 150-200 was about right

      • I guessed 200 people yesterday but I am not good at estimating large groups of people.

        • I stood where the pics were taken and tried to count heads and figured it was 200 at the most.
          The pics linked above seem to have been taken just above head level and curiously make the crowd seem larger. I stretched up on my toes from the same vantage point yesterday and looked down at the crowd and based my estimate on that.

          • "The roughly 300 people — and many more — began their day with a peaceful rally in St. George's Square and then several marched west on Cork Street to the church" Guelph Mercury

            That surprises me. There were more people than I thought. But I wonder if there were 300 people or were there many more than 300. Which is it?

          • A very confusing characterization, 300 "and many more", but that basically translates to more than 300, right?. I stick by my close to 500 estimate, and the Merc seems to confirm that wasn't outlandish.

            Anyways, it's hard to peg a rally, and the Merc isn't ZEUS, just another set of eyes.

            Bottomline, great turnout.

          • Just received clarification of the numbers. The 300 was for the q and a, he said 400 AT THE RALLY. Directly from the Merc reporter. Editing problem, that's the reason for the confusion. So, my total wasn't a partisan inflated SPIN attempt.

        • Jolyon, please cease and desist. If you were not there, any opinion you have about crowd size is as bogus as your political posturing.

          • He said right up at the top that he did attend.

          • I enjoy being taken to task by someone called Reader who can't read.

          • Hey, Jwl — got me there! But I can count.

            BTW, I saved this link just for you, Mr. "I am so right that noBODY could EVER challenge my intellectual superiority."

            [… ]

          • So you believe jolyon? I do not, emphatically. He is a used car salesman. One day he might become your MP. Worried yet? Oh, I dunno — suppose I'm wrong — doesn't matter. My innuendo doesn't even come close to the BS he posts here, day after long, long day, endlessly and pointlessly.

          • He said he attended the rally in his town which, I presume, were open for used car salesmen to attend. You ask if I believe him, I answer that in this particular instance, there is not anything to be lost or gained from taking him at his word, so that is what I will do.

  9. "It's not a surprise Conservative supporting- media "

    AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh, that was priceless satire. That was satire, right?

    • Beyond poetic. Well done.

  10. VIctoria count by Times Colonist was 1500. Maybe some research would be good : )

    • It's true. The Times Colonist did report 1,500, which conflicts with David Akin's report (he counted 400) and organizer's estimates of 1,000. There are lots of conflicting media reports out there. It's hard to believe that one reporter counts 400 people and another estimates 1,500. Perhaps the Times Colonist got their figure from rally organizers, or perhaps David Akin was wildly off the mark.

        • CR — WTF are you trying to say??

          Who cares? People are angry. Can you not deal with the why question? Like — why is it a problem that our PM is treating us as his slaves?

          Please do not debase what I am saying with your typical faux-Trudeau homilies.

          If you are truly a democrat, you cannot avoid facing the devil you now defend. he is a despot. A despot, true and sure.

    • I was there. I don't think there were 1500, but certainly well over 400 – my general estimate would be somewhere in the 700-1000 range.

  11. I'm starting to feel all Quebecois with the noted absence of Antigonish and Inverness.

    Back in the middle ice age I was an organizer of a rally .. cause doesn't matter … in Halifax.
    Two of us made a concerted effort to have people there do a sign-up sheet. I think we got
    most people. The total signees were 453. The police estimated the crowd at "a couple hundred".
    The rally sponsors went with "5-600". The local media, when they mentioned it at all, went with
    the police number.
    Ever since, I've measured the success of a rally or protest by the number of TV cameras present.
    You need enough people to occupy a camera lens and a clear message to deliver.

    • My husband and I signed the sheet in Halifax yesterday. I can't estimate how many attended, but the street was full. We were at the back, as it provided some shelter from the winds. I was a bit pee'd off that the NDP wre out in full force offering signs. I took one, not realizing what it was, and then threw it to the ground. IMHO, it was supposed to be a non-partisan protest against Harperès progrogation to avoid the Afghan issue, and releasing documents that the Parliament has the right to see.

      Some how Iève clicked on a French keyboard as my apostrophies have become an accent .

      • Thank you for being a patriot. Please continue, our freedom is at stake — and no, I am not a communist. I am not even a "liberal".

      • The key on a french canadian keyboard for è is the same as ' on an english keyboard. If I'm not mistaken the apostrophe is either left of 1 or Shift + one of the numbers.

        If your keyboard is an english one you can change the layout in the Settings –>Control Panel–>Regional and Language Settings –> Languages –> Details –> Installed Services –> Add…

        • Merde, now we have to pirate the entire.

    • In 1983, helped organize a Toronto anti-Cruise Missile parade/demo. We filled 4 blocks along University Avenue, all lanes and the median, and the cops said we had 5000. Our over-eager publicity dude had a few too many hits on the bong and kept saying "We got 40,000, man!"

      The papers pegged it at 25000, and we had some aerial shots after from a guy who got paid to fly a counter-demonstrator banner ("Peace Through Strength", I think it said…) over the parade. I figured 25,000 was close enough to right. Take the hih low average. in most cases, it's close enough.

  12. Come on, Joylon. Those pictures are showing a lot more than 200 people.

  13. I shall do my utmost to update as new numbers are reported. Thanks.

    • Thank you, Mr Wherry. Nice to have some facts, however provisional.

      • Thank you Mr. Wherry. Nice to have some provisions, however nourishing.

    • I contacted the source for the Guelph numbers. The 300 estimate was for the q and a session AFTER the rally. He says his estimate is 400 at the rally. Cheers. Apparently will update tomorrow, editing confusion.

  14. You think so? I am not being argumentative or trying to downplay support because it is mostly irrelevant how many people showed up but I would be amazed if there were 500 people in attendance. It is just not that big of an area.

    Where did you gather in Waterloo and do you know if there was rally in Kitchener as well?

    • Yeah, Harper apparently thought it was irrelevant too (is this a talking point?). He was apparently too busy working on a "life and death" situation to notice the "chattering class" that was angry with him.

      • Hmm…..that life and death situation hadn't happened when he decided to prorogue.

        Apparently, Cobourg (nearest rally to where I live) had 150 and for this area that's a good showing

    • We gathered at the Waterloo Public Square. I am pleased to report that the only idiot who continuously walked onto the ice-rink with his salt-encrusted boots was a camera man, probably from The Record but I don't know that for sure. I was trying to gauge the people throughout. When I got there at 10:30, there were about thirty people there, then I figured it was 100 (so I was pleased.) Then it doubled. Eventually, I moved to the very back of the crowd just as it started, and figured the crowd had swelled to about 300 or so in front of me. Someone took a picture of the stupid Hitler sign–and I am standing right beside Harper. I figure there are about four lines deep behind me, around the semi-circle, with spaces due to flags, signs, etc. obstructing their view. So that's how I believe the estimate of around 500.

      The rally was for all of Waterloo Region. If you'd have asked me before the event, I'd have said there is no way 500 could fit in–beside the skating rink–at this square. But there is a lot of space on the steps, risers, benches leading up to the mall!

  15. I was at the rally, what reality am I trying to avoid?

    • You are a liar. Show us a photo, Jolyon.

  16. Mulcair indicated that his party will never support cuts to services in the budget. I guess that means Iggy will have to, otherwise he'll have to face the strategic wrath of the genius that is Harper.

    • I'm not sure why you are posting here, but Iggy will have to because we need to get the deficit under control.

      We are going to have to cut and we are going to have to raise taxes, and both the Conservative (no tax hikes) and the NDP (no service cuts) are being unrealistic. Unless, of course, both of those parties don't care about the deficit.

    • I can't wait.

  17. For the most part, Wherry's numbers match my own (in some cases, there have been conflicting media reports).

    I'll add that the total attendance for those rallies that have not been estimated by local media (Guelph, Orillia, Sudbury, Peterborough, Oakville, Whitby, Newmarket, Fredericton, Antigonish and Quebec City) probably bring the final tally to 19,000 – 20,000.

  18. You omitted Duncan. We may be tiny, but we matter. Count: 35.

    • Congratulations Chrystal Ocean — your word echoes across the land we love.

  19. I think the value of the rallies is self evident if the PMO sent out the likes of Jolyon to infiltrate and then try to downplay the numbers…
    One up for democracy!

    • The PMO sends me out to get other partisans to waste their time writing messages on internet instead of doing something politically useful.

      Also, I get paid per response I generate, not how many comments I write, so thanks for that.

      • Give it up, jwl. Life is nothing like your imaginings. You really need to experience a world beyond the cars you desperately try to sell to a dwindling market.

  20. From this article in the Globe And Mail
    "A crowd of about 100 stood outside the legislature in Halifax"
    "In Edmonton, about 250 people"
    "In Montreal, hundreds also stood in a downtown public square"
    It is safe to assume that numbers are worse in other cities in Canada or they would report them.
    To think if anything these figures are inflated, what a dismal turnout for this big rally promoted by the partisan pundits in the media.
    Since the CBC took this demonstration on as a personal crusade with incessant publicity for the last few weeks, and yesterday running on screen messages inviting people to attend the prorogation demonstrations in their communities, must just demonstrate once again, that obviously nobody watches the CBC, and we should maybe begin a Face Book protest, that Canadian taxpayers are wasting a billion dollars a year subsidizing this broadcasting abortion. One thing you can be sure, after what Canadians saw on TV and read, these same pundits will not be able to convince Canadians this was a huge success and demonstration – it was a dismal flop. Three party leaders Ignatieff. Layton and May, at the rally in Ottawa as headliners and entertainment couldn't hold a thousand people there for the duration of the rally. Ignatieff will now have to go back to the drawing board, and follow through with his earlier promise in January "to investigate the conduct of our troops on the ground" in Afghanistan, who they have accused of being complicit in committing war crimes in Afghanistan because "they detained and handed over for torture a lot of innocent people". What is more, all Ignatieff and the Liberals have found, to this point in time for substantiation of their accusations of abuse, is some Taliban detainee being hit with a shoe, but their slurs and condemnations of our military continue.
    To end on something light, the CBC are reporting, would you believe, that in Calgary "a group of protesters gathered outside the prime minister's constituency office" ( it was never clarified but it was reported that these were people actually waiting for a bus and not prorogation protesters) and the CBC didn't mention, that in vast majority of the cities across Canada, nobody but nobody showed up.

    • Last time I was in Calgary I drove past a few bus stops. They all looked
      like this …

      something about free hot dogs, i guess ..

      • Everybody loves free hotdogs.

    • I was at the Ottawa rally and anyone else that was there knows your statements about it are false and just your view of how you hope the world is unfolding. But by all means keep looking through those Harper tinted glasses.

    • What a joke you make….
      The CBC did their very best to keep the Haiti story front and center all day long.

      and now for coverage of more earth-shattering events: Harper meets Haitian PM

    • Are all you ConBots posting from the bunker in east-end Ottawa, or have you distributed the work?

      Either way, boy are you ever busy.

  21. Were perogies served at ALL venues?

    • Hot chocolate was "served" at our rally, by the organizers. We did have someone and his kids out with free perogies, but they weren't down with the hot chocolate. Good question, though.

  22. "Since the CBC took this demonstration on as a personal crusade with incessant publicity for the last few weeks, and yesterday running on screen messages inviting people to attend the prorogation demonstrations in their communities"

    proof please.

  23. Wherry, you should email Akin and get his opinion on whether the T-C's count is justifiable.

    • Akin's account made clear he got there late.

      • As Akin wrote: "I'm in Victoria, B.C. where I had a morning speaking engagement. I was free of that by about 1:30 pm and managed to make it to the Canadians Against a Prorogued Parliament (CAPP) rally here about an hour into it. When I got there, at Centennial Square under bright sunshine on a warm day, there was still, by my count, about 400 there listening to speakers (Organizers I spoke to said there were 1,000 at the start but I cannot verify that number)."

        Usually the media estimates are lower than the organizers' estimates, so it's unusual that in Victoria's case the T-C is 50% higher. Ian Capstick's estimate for Victoria was 500, based on a tweet from a twitter friend who attended the rally:

  24. Yes, and I was at the rally in Halifax and there were at least several hundred. Actually, my view of the CBC is that they are afraid of more major cutbacks by the con govt. and dare not say much that is negative re this current govt. Personally, I cannot stand Keven O'Leary (an arrogant, offensive, Don Cherry type) and what can one say about Amanda Lang – sad that the CBC changed their format to a CNN format. Solomon is no Don Newman. So sad, IMHO

    • don't forget the arrogant spinner with the permanent impudent grin: Peter (bleeeping) Mansbridge

    • Even Solomon needs to be sprayed in the face with Smirk-Away.

    • @Dave

      Please get a patent and form a following. You might not agree, but I think our "new" government is the "Sham-WOW" of modern democracy. You know — it's a sham — WOW!

  25. There's the tree in forest problem when you only use media coverage. What of Owen Sound's 200? I find nothing in media, though the Owen Sound Times did provide a most piquant nugget from Con MP Larry Miller, who made an accurate, and unconscious?, admission explaining Govt's counterproductive posturing: "People are sick and tired of the APPEARANCE (my bold) that the system is all slanted toward the criminal and the victim is neglected." It's true, of course. That is the popular perception, always has been, always will be. What matters more, policies that reduce crime in reality, or those that are based on "appearances", and hence usually counterproductive in reality?

    • Well if it appears the system is all slanted toward the criminal, then I would expect party in power would make it a priority to pass legislation to reverse that appearance. Who knew that they can't do that parliament is prorogued? Quick, someone tell Larry before he says something stupid!

    • There's also the sad fact that a lot of smaller centres are "served" by and covered by weekly papers.

      But when the purpose is distraction-by-arithmetic let's just carry on.

  26. I only caught the tail end of Waterloo's rally, after it had officially ended, but there were around 100 even then. I caught up with a friend for lunch who said there were at least 300 when he was there, and the Waterloo Record lists about 500. I heard reports being as high as 750, but I doubt it was that large.

  27. I was at the Vancouver event.. I saw way more than 1000 people and fwiw the Vancouver Sun (not the most left wing rag in Canada) mentions "thousands".

  28. Hey, if the government insists that the demonstrations weren't significant enough to recognize as a legitimate protest worth noticing, we can always give it to them again. I think if we're forced to make another showing it will be louder and larger.

    • I support you guys stimulating the economy by buying markers, bristol board, and printing!

      Where are you storing those sticks? I could use some for my garden this summer?

      • You don't need our charity — simply pull the one jutting out of your a**.

          • Went out, long ago, to acquire the direct-to-disc recording. Back then, 'awesome' wasn't yet invented. When I got it, I listened — real careful like — this is NOT what I heard (yet, apparently, lots of CONs imagine they do):

            Take a dream on a Sunday
            Take a life, take a holiday
            Take a lie, take a dreamer
            Dream, dream, dream, dream, dream along…

      • No charity for you, Canadian Sense. You couldn't possibly accept it.

        • This is a reply to CanadianSense . . . oh shucks, did I reach down to turn on that Chinese space heater you so kindly provided me as a way to counteract your "freeze in the dark" attitude? So sorry — I really meant to beg all those charitable people in Alberta to accept a 1% sales tax so we in the east could avoid freezing to death — a**hole.

  29. The Sun took over the small town papers in my neck of the woods. They are daily papers, but are very partisan. The local journos lost out on this one…..and we get the Sun's most partisan writers – from Toronto.

  30. yeah. I wasn't endorsing, one number or another. i was just pointing out that to the degree that you were using Akin as a point of comparison ("It's hard to believe that one reporter counts 400 people and another estimates"), his number ought to carry an asterisk given by his own admission he was not there on time.

  31. You know what's more telling of it's success? You look at the comments section on articles about it, Kady O'Malley, etc. – the trolls are working overtime with the most ridiculous comments and "shock" namecalling.

    It was a success, big numbers or not.

    • It was always bound to be a "success," because that's the narrative the media is wholeheartedly committed to at this point, even if the sum total of protestors turned out to be twenty and a dog. But given how much of the turnout was in downtown Ottawa, Toronto and Victoria (two-thirds of it!) – and thus very likely to be both local, and consisting largely of people who can't vote NDP or Liberal any harder than they already do in those urban ridings – I still doubt this has any long-term effect at all. Other than emotional catharsis on the individual level, of course.

      (Yes, yes, feel free to rage-downvote at my Obviously Ridiculous Trolling if it makes you feel better, clearly I'm just too blind to see the tide of righteous populist outrage that's going to bury Harper, etc.)

      • But a couple thousand in Penticton? Population 30,000 (including kids)? That is a pretty tall request, given the correct amount of concern that most people pay to politics.

        And last time I checked, Ottawa has John Baird, Pierre Poilevre, and Royal Galipeau. Thatis 50% of the cities MP's coming from the Conservative caucus. Or did you check and make sure all of the protesters come from the Glebe?
        I am sure that the COnservative braintrust is more worried than you are, because 20,000 people motivated enough to come out means that there are a lot more who might think twice about voting Tory, and there are 20,000 people who might work a little to DEFEAT the Conservatives in the next election (either through money or labour)

      • Hey, avr, guess you won't mind if we haul you out of the Nile kicking and screaming. Unlike your comrades, we are inclined to save your life. It's a joy to watch you waddle, after all.

  32. Truly working overtime, if some reports backed up by site stats-meters and IP trackers are anything to go by.

  33. Yeah, but that's the thing about populist things. They tend to become more popular the more people find them popular. An easy example is the 3,000 people who joined the Facebook page after the rallies had happened. Or the Bre-X stock (remember that?), a winning sports team, etc.

    So your point about voters who were already voting for the opposition is well taken, but this effort may also find new voters and former Conservatives. But maybe not, and you can go back to feeling smug.

  34. When is the last time Stephen Harper spoke to a rally of 3,500 people? Heck, when is the last time 300 people showed up to hear him speak in Calgary?

    • It depends on how many bodies Duffy counts as

  35. Regardless of where you sit on the ol' political spectrum, for the life of me I cannot fathom why anyone would feel compelled to belittle their fellow citizens for taking an active interest in politics/governance.

    You may not realize this, but by doing so you show yourself to be….small.

    • Are you addressing anyone in particular?

      • Not any *one* person in particular – but check out pretty much every article published about yesterday's rallies in any online source and the comments section will invariably be littered with sneering derision. It's baffling and petty.

        • Agreed. It is so sad how much venom can be found in the comments.
          I just don't get this one dimensional mentality.
          Do people really regard politics as sport, where they root for the home-team, and loathe everyone else no matter what? So small, and so ugly……

    • Mike 514:

      I am ashamed that I share the same first name you use.


    • You have been reading jarrid, wilson, mike514 et al, right? You've also heard Harper for four years now, right?

      That's the essence of Harper's leadership. Pettiness. Belligerence. Rudeness.

      Think about it. Even his mentor, Tom Flanagan, thinks he's being childish. And this is the man who made him.

  36. 7000 in Toronto ? Sorry, no way. Even the 3000 reported by Globe and Mail would be a stretch. Very disappointing. I guess Stevie is right, he can do whatever he wants and nobody cares. Huh.

    • You know, Dundas Square can hold 12,000 people apparently. With that in mind, I challenge anyone to look at pics of that rally and conclude that 3000 is a "stretch". I'd say the 10-12 thousand the organizers claim is a stretch (they base that on the size of Dundas Square, the fact that police shut down part of Yonge street for overflow from the Square, and the fact that police shut down all of Bay Street, something the organizers say police will not do for crowds of less than 10,000 people) but 7,000 seems totally reasonable to me.

      Calling 3,000 stretch is just silly, imho. From what I've seen, 7,000 seems quite accurate, and the lowest unbiased estimate I've seen is the 5,000 police estimate that CTV Toronto has gone with (though they hedge a bit calling it "more than 5,000 people").

      • Dundas Square was nowhere near full, and there is absolutely no way that 7000 people were crammed in there. Even 5000 people would be crammed together tight in that space and would fill all of it, and that just wasn't the case. No way.

          • Your URL returns an error, can you repost?

          • Sorry, the correct URL is

            It's amazing that certain pundits and bloggers, almost entirely conservative, are trying to blame the media or other scapegoats as a dictator like Ahmadinejad would. Wasn't the modern Conservative Party built on the basic precepts of democracy and engagement? And now they arrogantly dismiss this expression of the people? How far they have fallen.

        • I don't understand what you're saying. If the Square can hold 12,000 people, why would you need to "cram in" half that many?

          I don't disagree that the Square wasn't at capacity (though the fact that the police closed off part of Yonge Street to take the overflow suggests it was pretty full) but from the pictures I've seen, I wouldn't say that it was only at half capacity (6000) and there's just no way whatsoever, imho, that Dundas Square was only at one quarter capacity (3,000 people). Do you really think there was room there to QUADRUPLE the crowd?

          Also, as ChrisInKW points out below, the police don't shut down Bay Street for 3,000 people. For what it's worth, the rally organizers say police won't do that for less than 10,000 people (though I agree that 10,000 is a stretch).

        • Looks pretty full to me.

          Not, admittedly, 12,000 total capacity full as the organizers claim, but your notion that 3,000 is a "stretch" is clearly fantasy.

          • Regarding how much Dundas Square can hold, from the website there is a pdf of event guidelines indicating that absent of any structures, the square can hold 5000 before street closures are required. The 12,000 would involve the closing of all streets around it, not just Yonge.

          • Ah. Still, this idea that 3,000 is a "stretch" seems silly to me.

            I've seen police estimates as low as 5,000, and organizer estimates as high as 20,000 (ridiculous, I know). To me 7,000 seems like the most reasonable and accurate estimate I've seen.

          • Yup, 'full' – with huge amounts of space between each person. Not even close to 5000 people.

    • Hey LKO, real nice to see you persisting with this. It is important — not because of the numbers — but because of the idea. Democracy might be a game to politicians — it's not a game to me (or you I suspect).

      Yesterday, I posted an estimate of crowd size in Toronto based on what I observed having been there — it was 15,000.
      After reading all the stuff here, I thought I ought to fine-tune my count. The explanation is long — so bear with me. . .

      I found a photo from atop a building on Bay Street. I downloaded a copy, fixed the location (bus terminal on Bay St.) zoomed in to measurable landmarks and counted heads. My count was 500 people for 70 feet. (70' long x ~ 66' wide). BTW, this was one of the least dense parts of the march that I observed.

      I went on to measure the length of the "parade" — THAT I COULD OBSERVE (used Google Earth to measure my POV vs line of sight) — it equaled 2,500 feet. (It was longer, a lot longer.) Just for fun, I divided 2,500 feet by 70 feet to get 36 rounded. Multiply by 500 to yield — surprise — 18,000 — even higher than the estimate I posted earlier.

      As an anecdote — I am a shy and cautious old man. I was cold, so I hung out with my wife and son inside the AMC Centre.

      So did lots of other people.

      It may be true that 7,000 people occupied Dundas Square. Yet many more wanted to — but it's too small. (Lots and lots were sheltering in the surrounding malls). We waited until the square emptied to join the end of the line for the "parade" — then we marched. When we reached Shuter Street, I said to my wife and son, "Can we drop out at Queen — I'm really cold?"

      My wife looked back, hoping we could leave graciously, without being noticed. Behind us? — hundreds more.

      • Please upload your photo to a photo-sharing website and post a link to it. Your estimate of 18,000 seems ridiculously high.

        • It's total fantasy. The City of Toronto's own guidelines for Dundas Square under point 3.6 say that the maximum the square can hold without obstructing traffic is 5000. There was lots of room for everybody and traffic was not obstructed – as I have said above, even 3000 is a stretch.

          • Mulletaur:
            Your estimate disagrees with every other estimate I've seen, high and low. And when they close Yonge Street, as they did, traffic is obstructed.
            Here are some photos and vids for those interested.
            Oh, and from the Dundas Square website: — Design Elements of Yonge Dundas Square
            Large granite slabs cover most of the one-acre space. The space can be configured to accommodate seating and a temporary structure for indoor events. The capacity of the Sq.uare can range from 1,000 (seating and a temporary structure) to 12,000 (no seating with a street closure).

            I know, I'm wasting my time. But I'll do my thing, while you just keep focussing on the numbers, and maybe we'll forget why the protest happened.

          • Traffic was not obstructed?

            They closed down Yonge Street. How do you suggest that managed not to obstruct traffic? Then, they closed down Bay Street. Trust me, when a chunk of Yonge and a large chunk of Bay are closed down by the police, traffic is obstructed.

      • Yeah, 18,000 is crazy.

        I don't even agree with the organizers 10-12 thousand estimate.

        Sorry, but 18,000 is even crazier than Mulletaur's "less than 3,000".

        • Look, I know all of you want to believe that the crowds were huge to prove that people are really, really angry about prorogation, but it's just not true. At least they are not angry enough to come out in sufficient numbers to fill Dundas Square. In addition, the crowd was distinctly Dipper, not the cross-party support that I would have expected and hoped for. Perhaps people will take out their anger at the ballot box next time and just don't think that standing out in the cold listening to raging grannies singing songs will change anything. But don't fantasize about the numbers, keep your collective feet on the ground. 3000 people in Dundas Square, no more.

          • As I've said before, if the police say 5,000, organizers say 10,000-12,000, and you say "no more than 3,000", then 5,000 is ABSOLUTELY the lowest I'm willing to accept.

            I still think 7,00 seems to be the best estimate.

  37. Kingston of course should be included – I expect it will be an update. I would guess at 400, maybe more at its peak.

  38. Were you there, Mulletaur?

    • Yup.

      • Explain this for me: You claim below that Dundas square was "nowhere near full." This conflicts with other accounts that I've heard. Were you there for the whole rally? Dundas Square has a standing area of ~2,100 square meters. Imagine yourself standing in Dundas Square, surrounded by a one square meter chalk line drawn on the pavement.. Are you really suggesting that crowd density was so low that it averaged only one person per square meter?

        • i wish you could embed photos, because i have a photo handy that lays bear that Mlletaur is way off the mark. on his assessment of how full Dundas Sq was. Mulletaur, what time were you there?

          • Yes, I was there for the whole time, and Dundas Square was nowhere near full. I moved easily between people in every part of the crowd, particularly the back, for the whole time.

          • as per the photo posted by LKO below. you are way off the mark. I was there too.

      • The square holds 7000 people; the cops only shut the streets down at 10,000. Were the streets shut down?

  39. This is for Jolyon and all his compatriots:

    You may ask: How will I know if he is a madman? The answer is: Don't worry, you'll know. And if you are in doubt, assume he is mad and leave the refutation to others. You have plenty to do in the world without having to worry about debating people who may be mad.

    — Herbert Stein


  41. Anyone else wondering: Now what?

    The rallies are over. What's the next step?

    I was also expecting more media coverage, but it seems to have stayed in the headlines only momentarily. Even when you check the "most popular" or "most viewed" section of some news websites, the prorogation issue doesn't rank very high on the list, if at all (on CTV news' website, the story's well below the article on Brangelina's rumoured breakup, and only slightly more popular than "Driver crashes bus into water for second time").

    PS Why can't I sign into Intense Debate? Is it no longer supported on Firefox?

    • "Why can't I sign into Intense Debate? "

      I use firefox and have been having hard time with IntenseD for the past week or so but it seems better today, for me at least.

    • With Firefox, I have to log in at before commenting here.

      • It seems to log me out quite frequently. Previously, I would keep my profile tab permanently open, and whenever I would open a Maclean's thread from my RSS feed, I would be logged in. Now, I have to re log in, refresh the thread, etc. So annoying.

  42. I attended the Waterloo rally. I'd say 400-500 is a reasonable estimate (but I'm no expert at counting crowds, so take it for what it's worth).

    • Know what, Sean? I'm starting to get riled about our posture as opponents of the right. Stop being so freaking polite! None of them ever have been, so why should you (and the majority of Canadians) be nice to them? I have decided. From now on, every time I read a comment that rubs up against my mindset, I am going to utter a grave and humourless insult. Not a "wouldn't it be great if" sort of conjecture — no, something more specific. Here's an example:

      What do Conservative MPs and sheep have in common?

      • From now on, every time I read a comment that rubs up against my mindset, I am going to utter a grave and humourless insult.

        It looks like a new troll is blossoming.

      • I don't really see this as a left-right divide. I think increasing numbers of citizens are finally realizing that electing a party that has little use for government, and core contempt for many of our democratic institutions, probably isn't an ideal situation.

        I think engaging neo-con Rovian types in the style they've perfected only serves to lend them credibility. The absence of decent opposition shouldn't be mistaken as sign that fire must be fought with fire. Rather, it would probably be better to fight fire with water. We simply haven't had an effective opposition or crystalization of public energy capable of wielding the bucket for some time.

  43. So, how does this compare to other recent social movements in Canada? The obvious one is the anti/pro-coalition rallies last year…
    What about the 1995 referendum? I'm sure that with several months and millions of dollars in advertising and staff, we could have paid enough people to come out. Oh well, relying on people's sense of outrage and desire for accountability seemed to work well enough. :)

    • I'd say this a very good showing, considering 3 weeks and little to no partisan dollars involved. No people being bused in ,etc. All regular folks, a lot of whom contributed in planning and executing the events.

  44. Based on these numbers, I'd say that the Ontario and BC heartlands could be vulnerable.

  45. Calgary's rally attendance was around 300. The local paper tends to under count. Not a bad turnout for a cold, windy day.

  46. Intersting that those who don't like the rally and put down Facebook and Twitter haven't considered the impact on reports of Haiti.

  47. I am not sure why all are focusing on the numbers that came out to determine success. The reasons one would stage such a protest would be to 1) influence public opinion and 2) change future government policy and practice.

    1) The protests were covered in every major (and minor) form of media in the country. Its success on may have even surpassed the legendary oily the talking oil spot.
    2) The protests have poisoned the strategic prorogue for Stephen Harper.

    So without question, the protests were an enormous success. I would what is next for the organizers?

    • I'm not so sure we can discount the numbers: 200K+ in the FB group, and many more in Canada who did not join that group (but whom are nonetheless opposed to this prorogation), and an estimated 10% of that number show up to protest, somewhere in Canada.

      That's what I would expect in group behaviour: about 10 to 15 per cent are the opinion leaders and the highly engaged, while the rest more passively so (not necessarily "sheeple", just more passive). So while the gross numbers are rather large, I can't agree that the protests were an enormous success – they didn't perform above expectations, merely to the average of what we see in issue engagement research. (So, good on them for having an engaged group about the size of what we see in other research, but "success" would be living up to the expectations of a more highly engaged and motivated group as it was purported to be, prior to the protests.)

      My cable is spotty, so I've been unable to review the full slate of media reports on the protests (and prorogation), but to your point 1, I would argue that success in this case requires sustained media coverage. If after a week, we're still talking about the protests (beyond arguing whether 3,000, 8,000, or 15,000 showed up in Toronto), for me, that's the marker.

      • It would be beyond remarkable if the protests were being actively discussed next week in the media… really what new could there be to say?

        The general perception is that Stephen Harper got caught doing something wrong and sneaky. If you are partisan and connected to another party, you call it an attack on democracy. If you are partisan and a Conservative, you say Chretien did it too. If you are a media pundit, you chalk it up to Harper being too clever for his own good. My point is that none of these perceptions are good for Stephen Harper in the long run.

        So what exactly did the protesters accomplish. They took a rather obscure piece of political gaming, engaged the public, educated the public, converted it into political baggage and tied it to Stephen Harper.

  48. Ummm…folks, going over the number and coming up with a tally is not the way to go about guaging the public reaction. First…look who went to these rallies, and ask yourself if any of them are people who would have ever voted Conservative in the first place. I saw representatives from the following groups:

    Coucil of Canadians
    Sierra Club
    Palestine House
    Green Party
    Young Liberals
    Candian Labour Congress
    Raging Grannies…etc…etc….

    Face it…these folks would have shown up if there was a facebook group demanding Stephen Harper change his hairstyle. (I'm sure Warren's working on it)

    This was just a media created protest. they can pat themselves on the back, but the fact remains….these are folks who would never vote for Harper no matter how well he did.

    The protest was 98% whackjobs and opposition MP's……the other 2% were Canadian Media…..who may as well be opposition MP's given the "facts" they report vice the facts they leave out.

    • Yay, another member of the "Let's crap all over civic engagement" fanclub…

      • If civic engagement opposes the ruling party's purposes – no matter who the ruling party is – then belittlement may be considered useful, if not truly necessary.

        A pity.

      • One attendee? wow….what's that as a percentage of the folks who showed up?

        If i had a quarter every time someone who hates harper has stated, "I used to be Conservative"……..I could buy a nice car.

        The fact remains; the majority of people at these protests…….never voted for Harper to begin with, and probably never will. It was a media created event…..but don't worry, it won't be the last one.

        I'm waiting for the CBC to start a facebook group calling for the "Protection of Taliban Terrorists from Candian Forces Torturers"

        You will see the same folks show up…….only Ujal Dosanjh will be the keynote speaker.

        • You asked, "if any of them are people who would have ever voted Conservative in the first place." I provided a reported example of at least one who might have. Reform was certainly a conservative movement. The reporter didn't have the time to interview each of the 500 estimated attendees what there political persuasion was.

          I voted Conservative once.

        • "If i had a quarter every time someone who hates harper has stated, "I used to be Conservative"……..I could buy a nice car."

          You might also begin to ask them what Harper has done to turn them away from Conservative and why they won't vote for him. It might be illuminating. And then take their quarter.

        • Yup – those people out there do not share my mindset, so they must be nutters.
          Awesome! Just make a claim that you feel must be true, and presto – it is true!
          What else does your intuition tell you?

    • You do realize that one could conceivably hold a rally that garnered the attendance of 55% of the entire population of Canada and STILL not include a single person "who would have ever voted Conservative in the first place".

    • "these are folks who would never vote for Harper no matter how well he did."
      "The protest was 98% whackjobs and opposition MP's"

      So…people who would never vote for Stephen Harper are whackjobs now? You stay classy there, James.

      • Apparently I touched a nerve.

        As always, folks don't like having their parade (or in this case, their Media Created rally) rained on.

        As for the Whackjobs….they can be found in groups such as:

        Coucil of Canadians
        Sierra Club
        Palestine House
        Green Party
        Young Liberals
        Candian Labour Congress
        Raging Grannies…etc

        • I seem to remember the media crapping all over the rally until it actually happened. Where were you? Mom's basement? Con war room?

          • No Tory…the media created a story, they didn't crap on it. In effect, the Canadian media made it an attractive proposition for people to show up and get their faces on camera, and a lot of wing-nuts did that gleefully. Apparently, there were actually TWO people there who were ticked at prorogation. The remainder were torn between their hatred of Americans, Jews, Capitalism, and Stephen Harper. Prorogation was just an excuse.

    • I've never been to a protest before in my entire life. I'm almost 39.
      Which group do I fall under?

      My husband couldn't go because he was watching our 6 month old twins so I was representing our family.
      He has voted Con before but I doubt he will ever again.

      And I seem to remember people being pissed off when the media told us it was no big deal or "the Liberals did it".
      You keep telling yourself that the Con talking points make sense.


  49. Cathy MacLellan, the Green Party's energy and natural resources critic, who will run in Kitchener-Waterloo riding in the next federal election, addresses a crowd protesting the federal government's prorogation of Parliament. The protest, one of several across Canada Saturday, drew about 500 people to Waterloo Town Square.

    In the caption at

  50. Cathy MacLellan, the Green Party's energy and natural resources critic, who will run in Kitchener-Waterloo riding in the next federal election, addresses a crowd protesting the federal government's prorogation of Parliament. The protest, one of several across Canada Saturday, drew about 500 people to Waterloo Town Square.

    In the caption at

    • Would that be the same Cathy MacLellan who signed a petition along with other "peace" organizations decrying the Governments decision to send back deserters to the US Army? (Why yes…yes it is)

      By the way…..if you were to look at this petition you would find everyone one of the groups mentioned previously are represented on this document. It has a few more signatories as well….including some well known IMAMS who say some pretty nasty things about anyone of the Hebrew nature…..oh, and a couple of 911 TRUTHERS who think Israel and George Bush orchestrated the 911 attacks.

      Yep…..I think everyone should go Google Cathy's name and see the folks she hangs out with. Birds of a feather and all….

      Don't worry though Chris……the Liberals had a candidate all set to run in the last election before they found out she was a TRUTHER……but at least they got rid of her. (Not because they disagreed with her mind you….so much as the media found out about it)

  51. And yes Lynn TO……they are indeed whackjobs, if you consider whackjobs to be people who always support the wrong side of an issue simply because they only KNOW of one side.

    Council of Canadians – strident anti-American lobby group opposed to Free Trade and capitalism
    Sierra Club – meat is murder…stop all logging, stop producing carbon (usually headed by folks who live in large wooden houses, eat only the finest meals, and fly everywhere they go to get their messages out)
    Palestine House – hate Jewish children more than they love their own.
    Green Party – elizabeth May – enough said?

  52. Young Liberals – naive wannabe's who think only LIBERAL thoughts are correct. They're mainly composed of University students, and their arguments are as complex as an onion with one layer.
    Canadian Labour Congress – higher wages for less work!!! stop free trade!!! the public owes us something!!! Capitalism sucks…..but don't ask me how it works.
    Greenpeace – no cause too small to raise money from
    NDP'ers – Jack layton -enough said
    Raging Grannies – ex socialist,anti-american, anti-Israel hippies too old to throw rocks, but strong enough to hold up signs for their latest cause…which, is a combination of everything described above.

    Sorry LynnTO…..being from Toronto, you probably do think Americans are bad, Israel is evil, and capitalism sucks….so guess which category you would fit in according to my world view? And I would suggest, that you voted for your current lame-duck idiot of a mayor as well. In fact, you probably think he's doing a bang-up job right?

    Go drink your latte.

  53. Sorry, the new URL you posted is the same as the old one… same error.

  54. How very odd. IntenseDebate is appending an extra anchor close tag to the URL of the link. Sorry for that and my previous 'dictator' hyperbole. It's hard to keep a level head when such a national expression of popular sentiment is dismissed so quickly and callously.

    [youtube S6OLYxcbRwE youtube]

  55. lol 7,000

  56. James,

    You are being naive, as well as obnoxious. I attended the rally in Ottawa. I'm not just a former Conservative voter, I'm a former Conservative donor. There were quite a few of the "usual suspects" at the rally but most of the folks I saw around me were just like me; middle-aged, white-bread, white-collar, working-stiffs. Did the crowd lean left? Without a doubt. But it was far from the collection of lazy stereotypes you've catalogued above.

  57. Your picture doesn't show anything close to 5000 people in that square.

  58. You must have been drinking something else than Starbucks hot chocolate, then. LKO's picture in no way shows anything close to 5000 people.

  59. Aaron you missed Yellowknife…my closest. Although i didn't catch the numbers…everyone forgets the North.

  60. right. i was drinking and everyone else was ust wrong, and you have it all sorted!

  61. Congratulations Lgarvin……..

    Now, if you were to get rid of ALL the wingnuts in the groups I have just mentioned……I get the impression there would be……TWO Canadians at your rally where were mad enough to come out for the rally.

    I have never said that I agree with Prorogation in general, I was pointing out the fact that these rallies were just an opportunity for the typical left-wing nutjobs and whiners to get on camera and say something bad about the current Government. As stated earlier, the subject of the protest didn't matter at all to the vast majority of the people there……..they were just looking for an excuse, and the Canadian Media and Opposition parties created one for them.

  62. One would think that if the crowd had a larger number of average Canadians who were genuinely ticked at the Prorogation….the media would have found them. Instead, the newscasts that night had interviews with people from exactly the same groups I have outlined above. Maybe next time LGarbin….you can move your white-bread butt towards the CBC camera crew and make a point.

    Be careful though…they guy behind you is probably holding a "Death To Israel" sign.

  63. Monica, I'm sure the last time your husband voted Conservative… was for Brian Mulroney.

    As for the media saying it was "No big deal"….the only time they have said it, was when Chretien did it.

    And let's not forget….when Chretien perogued… was to stop the investigation into the millions upon millions of dollars the Liberal Party and their flacks were stealing from us.

  64. I wasn't linking to the pic, I was linking to the story, and the police estimate contained therein that there were 5,000 people in the Square. As for the pic with the story, it's cut off, so based on the pic there could be a BILLION people in the Square for all we know.

  65. This is the same Cathy MacLellan who signed a petition about American deserters (she wanted them to stay in Canada). The petition was also signed by the same groups I mentioned ealier, as well as a few nasty additions. It also had a few imams that say pretty scarey things about our Hebrew friends, as well as a slew of 911 TRUTHERS who think 911 was orchestrated by George Bush and Israel.

    Yep….good company you keep in the Green Party…..but you know what they say, "birds of a feather"

    (Dont' worry though….the Libs had to dump a candidate who was a TRUTHER as well)

  66. I think folks should go Google Cathy's name…..see what company she keeps.

  67. If being a ConBot means knowing how to count, CR, count me in, so to speak.

  68. It's heartening to know that the Toronto Police Service is also against prorogation, but that doesn't change reality.

    • Depends upon one's point of view. I wouldn't call them supportive of the anti-prorogation rallies, because I think they underestimated the crowd by about 2,000 people.

  69. Let's face it : compared to the number of people who joined the Facebook group, the number of people who showed up to protest is very small, no matter which way you cut it. Harper was right, he knows he can safely ignore the protest movement, which, judging by those who showed up in Toronto, are in their vast majority on the left to far left and would never vote for Harper's Conservatives anyway.

  70. Maybe next time LGarbin….you can move your white-bread butt towards the CBC camera crew and make a point.

    That's not my nature. I didn't carry a sign either although I was offered a few. I didn't agree with much of what I heard from the various speakers. I went to register my dissatisfaction with the Harper methodology and I did so. Also, I happened to speak to Mr. Ignatieff (very briefly) and I told him that "we need you to step it up."

    Did I change the world? No. Was it worth my time on a Saturday afternoon? Most definitely.

    You keep insisting on the importance of what you suppose, while I'mtelling you what I saw and did. Weigh those things however you like.

    • LGarvin, congrats for showing up and registering your displeasure at the prorogation. I too, am not fond of that procedure, but it was legal and the Prime Minister was within his rights. I would wonder, however, if you showed up at any rallies when Jean Chretien prorogued the House to avoid the outcry when it was discovered the Liberal Party was once again caught stealing from the Taxpayers? The media didn't create a story that time, but that was mainly due to the fact the media pretty much knew the Liberals were a corrupt Party and that they are prone to stealing.

  71. What the hell you blathering about? I've never heard of CM, i'm not a greenie, and i wasn't at the rally. Three stikes you're out buddy. But keep at it…maybe we can pencil you in as a possible whack job can we?

    • Sorry KCM, the reply was for a poster above, it was not meant for your comment. I accept the pencilling in, in this case.

  72. C'mon M what would you rather have people do…stay at home and suck their thumbs? If this rally/facebook deal had been pro Harper he'd have been saying the people have spoken. And the people on this thread denouncing it would be singing its praises. First steps. It moved the polls. Perhaps our reps can take it from here?

  73. " … stay at home and suck their thumbs?"

    No, I was hoping for a higher turnout and a more politically diverse one as well. I'm obviously disappointed.

  74. I did a head count of about 130 – 150 at Oshawa. I heard from someone who attended both Durham events that Whitby had more as well, but the media in Oshawa is reporting a somewhat more conservative estimate. Give or take 50-100 on the national totals, and we're still looking at something pretty incredible.

  75. Mulletaur, you're such a Conbot.

  76. I wonder if you showed up when Bob Rae prorogued the Ontario Legislature for a far longer period, though for strictly self-interested reasons? Did you have your say then, or did you even know about the event? Oh..that's right, the Canadian media didn't CREATE A STORY where none existed. In fact, Harper has prorogured the house far less than his detractors, yet apparently, only a CONSERVATIVE politician draws the attention of the media hordes.
    That's a double standard LGarvin. You have had your say…good for you, I respect that. What I would respect more would be for those at the rally who were not members of some left-wing group, would be to show up when other politicians did the exact same thing for less reason.
    Lastly, if you were at the rally you no doubt saw some anti-semitic signs and other causes being mentioned that had nothing to do with prorogation.