Hey Toronto, flick off!

People around the globe will turn off the lights Saturday for Earth Hour, time zone by time zone, as clocks strike 8:30 p.m.

What started in 2007 with 2.2 million homes and businesses turning off their lights for one hour in Sydney, Australia, grew last year to hundreds of millions of people in more than 4,000 cities in 88 countries standing, sitting and dancing their way through 60 minutes of darkness.

Though a serious cause - the World Wildlife Fund organizes Earth Hour as a stand against climate change - it has turned into a festive event.

The City of Toronto will mark the evening with performances by Chantal Kreviazuk, Jarvis Church and Justin Nozuka at Yonge-Dundas Square.

The unplugged concert will run from 7:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. when Earth Hour. Other festivities will start at 5:30 p.m. and will include arts and crafts, face painting, aerial artists, fire-throwers and hip-hop dancers.

"The point is to send a very clear message to our political leaders, corporate leaders and each other that ordinary people around the globe and in Canada care about climate change and want to be part of the solution," WWF Canada's climate change program direction Keith Stewart said Friday. "We haven't dealt with this problem in Canada or around the world."

Comment: How sad to see that people's good hearts are used to back up a lie. How sad that instead of putting this energy into a real and true cause (like refusing to fight for psychopaths), people are being manipulated into something that won't only change the world for the better, it might even bring the inevitable a bit quicker.

According to Ontario's Independent Electricity System Operator, 73% of homeowners surveyed said they intend to take part in Earth Hour. That's up 22% from last year.

Toronto has shown the highest level of participation in the country, which resulted in a 15% drop in demand for electricity during the event last year, Stewart said.

"You can actually see that you're not the only one who cares about this stuff or who wants to see something done. You can actually see that your neighbours do because their lights are out. You can see that your city does because the skyline is going dark," Stewart said.

"It's happening in 125 countries around the world. Shanghai is going dark."

As of Friday morning, 293 Canadian cities or communities had signed up to participate, Stewart said.

Toronto Fire had a message to Earth Hour observers: If you must use a candle, don't leave it unattended, extinguish it before sleep, don't bring it in the bedroom, keep it away from children, pets and anything flammable, use a sturdy candle holder and make sure you have working smoke alarms.