TORONTO — Screen icon Jane Fonda made an appearance Sunday at the kick-off for the Jobs, Justice and the Climate March.
Only Global News was with Fonda from the moment she arrived on the front lawn of the Ontario Legislative building until she slipped away just as the march was about to begin.
According to organizers 350.org, as many as 10,000 people took part in the event.
Fonda made the afternoon of social activism a family affair by bringing her 16-year-old grandson Malcolm Vadim (the son of Fonda’s daughter with first husband Roger Vadim). The pair arrived in Toronto late Friday from Los Angeles and flew out Sunday afternoon.
“We can’t leave it all on the shoulders of young people,” Fonda said. “When I come to the end of my life, I don’t want my grandkids to ask why I didn’t do more to help clean up what my generation did.”
The 77-year-old actress stood alongside notable Canadians like environmentalist David Suzuki, singer Joel Plaskett and author Naomi Klein to listen to several speakers at an outdoor press conference.
Fonda then stepped up to the podium, accompanied by Melina Laboucan-Massimo of Greenpeace Canada, and spoke to reporters about her commitment to protecting the environment and its indigenous people.
The Oscar winner was mobbed as she made her way through the crowd to see some of the signs and banners created by dozens of activist groups. Fonda stopped to pose with Greenpeace demonstrators and with a woman advocating for the protection of bees and butterflies.
Over and over, she heard people say: “Thanks for coming, Jane!”
The event was peaceful but there was a heavy police presence both on site and on a nearby side street that was lined with minivans filled with officers.
As the rally got underway, Fonda stood in the middle of the lawn and snapped photos of the crowd with her phone. Speakers included union leaders and students.
Fonda didn’t speak to the crowd or take part in the march but she told Global News it was important for her to be there.
“I wanted to be a part of this rally because it’s historic to have large unions represented here,” she explained. “Unions that represent oil and gas workers.”
BELOW: Click through images of Jane Fonda at the rally in Toronto.
Fonda, who took part in a Greenpeace Canada event in Vancouver last month, said she will come to Canada whenever her star-power is needed to bring attention to the causes that matter to her.
“My father (actor Henry Fonda) played people who stood up and spoke out,” she said. “He did Grapes of Wrath, 12 Angry Men.
“I’m my father’s daughter.”
As thousands of people prepared to march the 1.5-kilometre route, Fonda and her grandson made their way through the crowd, crossed the street and hailed a cab to return to their hotel.
“We’ve got a flight to catch,” she said, as she waved goodbye.