'We carry this pain in our DNA': Crowd gathers in Barrie to pay respect to Indigenous children found

Hundreds of people gathered near the spirit catcher in downtown Barrie, Ont., on Thursday to honour the children found in unmarked graves at former Canadian residential schools.

"We're here today to honour the children who died in residential schools and also to honour and pay our respects to those who didn't make it home," said Gary Johnston, a Barrie resident and organizer of the event.

Johnston led the sea of orange shirts up Simcoe Street and down Dunlop Street as drummers played along.

"We have to look outside and find accountability for what had happened. We are still looking for answers. We don't have those answers, and we carry this pain in our DNA," said Johnston.

Johnston and many others who walked in the march said they wanted to pay homage to family members who attended residential schools.

"It's about unity because history is changing. We're changing history," said Jared Bigcanoe a grandson of a residential school student.

Bigcanoe and Johnston both said that the support from non-indigenous people in recent weeks has been overwhelming, but more work still needs to be done to support the indigenous community.

"It feels amazing to feel the support. Online you don't feel that same support and you come out here and you feel the healing that is happening," said Bigcanoe.

Demonstrations took place across the province and country today.

At Parliament Hill, thousands of people gathered to "Cancel Canada Day" following the recent discovery of unmarked graves at three former residential schools.