Wall Street Protests Planned for Canadian Cities This Weekend

Protests are planned in Canadian cities including Toronto starting tomorrow, expanding the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that began in New York.

Protesters are scheduled to set up camp at 10 a.m. in Toronto’s financial district near a Bank of Canada office, according to the OccupyToronto website. Similar demonstrations are planned near financial and government buildings in Montreal, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver and Halifax throughout the weekend, according to local websites.

The demonstrations, in concert with events planned this weekend in cities including London, Madrid and Milan, aim “to seek and work towards drastic changes to economic systems that are destroying our economy,” according to a statement on the OccupyToronto site.

Spokespeople for the organization didn’t immediately return e-mail queries placed by Bloomberg News.

The rallies began Sept. 17 in New York’s financial district, where people have been staying in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park to protest inequality and advocate higher taxes for the wealthy. Protesters have marched on the homes of Wall Street figures including billionaire hedge fund manager John Paulson and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon.

An anemic global economy, the European sovereign debt crisis and high U.S. unemployment has led to discourse among protesters, who have vowed to occupy Wall Street for months. Demonstrations have spread to cities including Los Angeles and Boston.

Toronto, Canada’s most populous city, is also the third-largest financial center in North America, according to the Toronto Financial Services Alliance. The city houses 10 domestic banks, 129 securities firms and 60 life insurers, according to the organization’s website. The financial-services sector contributes 14 percent to Toronto’s gross domestic product, according to the TSFA.

Toronto’s financial district was damaged last year during a weekend of violent Group of 20 summit-related protests, which led to hundreds of arrests and left police cars burned and windows smashed.

Canada’s banks, which include Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Nova Scotia, have been ranked the world’s soundest for four straight years by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum.

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