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Hundreds of Canadians to join Women's March on Washington this weekend

Canadian women to join March on Washington

When Linda Hill leaves for Washington, D.C., on Friday night to join a massive march for women's rights, there will be many familiar faces on the bus — including her daughter.

Hill, 56, a college professor in Windsor, Ont., says she raised her children to believe they could do what they wanted regardless of their gender, and the rally on Saturday — the first day of the Donald Trump administration — is an opportunity to "walk the talk."

That she can share such a historic moment with her daughter as well as her friends only makes it more special, she said. At least two other mother-daughter pairs will be on the bus travelling from Windsor.

"I think it'll be a great memory for the two of us to have experienced this huge event together and to have participated and supported other people, to have done all that we could do," she said.

"I'm sure it'll be a weekend I'll never forget." 

Hundreds of Canadians are making the cross-border trek on at least 10 chartered coaches, which will be travelling overnight to the morning event, dubbed the Women's March on Washington. It's unclear how many more have made separate travel arrangements.

The march's organizers have said they expect 200,000 people to show up. U.S. officials say some 1,800 buses have registered to park in the city on Jan. 21, compared with roughly 400 registered for Inauguration Day. A New York City-based transportation company says it has arranged buses from more than 200 cities in 26 states.

Amtrak trains in and out of the city are also fully booked for Saturday, U.S. officials said. 

Marches are also planned in solidarity in cities across the U.S. and Canada, including Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Winnipeg. Thousands have indicated they plan to attend those events.

Organizers say the march is meant to promote women's rights rather than oppose Trump but many who plan to attend say they were motivated by the president-elect's controversial statements during the campaign.

Lacy Carty, 29, said Trump's comments about women and immigrants are of particular concern to her because they hit so close to home. Carty came to Canada from Jamaica in 2003 and has many relatives, including her mother, living in the U.S.

In participating in the historic march and supporting the broader movement behind it, Canadians can help effect change, she said.  

"I think this is going to send a message that we are not afraid, we are taking a stand for something that really means a lot to us. And for us to be there on the first day (of the Trump administration), that speaks volumes," she said.

Hill's daughter, Anne Rudzinski, said the election has stirred discussions about rape culture and the nature of sexual harassment and assault.

Rudzinski, 25, who teaches a workshop at the University of Windsor on the role of bystanders in instances of sexual violence, said it's important to combat any message that dismisses or minimizes sexual assault.

Vivian Chong, 39, said she sees the trip as an adventure as much as a chance to be heard.

Chong, who is blind, will be travelling without her guide dog due to the crowds, which could put the animal at risk of injury. She will be relying on her cane and the help of a friend who is also going to the march.

"I'm prepared for anything that comes my way," said Chong, who is participating because she believes in defending freedom of expression.

Paola Loriggio, The Canadian Press