Hundreds of chanting protesters opposed to corporate greed and economic inequality set up camp in a downtown Toronto park Saturday afternoon after marching from the financial heart of the city.

Tents popped up on the well-manicured lawns of St. James Park at King Street East and Jarvis Street in Toronto's Corktown neighbourhood as protesters prepared to hunker down and "occupy" the space.

At 10 a.m., the activists met at the intersection of King and York Streets before heading east on Adelaide Street, joining a mass protest movement that has swept across North America.

Chants rang out across the downtown core, with activists yelling "Whose streets? Our streets" and "We are the 99 per cent."

Activists carried homemade signs, banners and some wore masks as they congregated in the park while Toronto police, many on bicycles, kept their distance from the protesters.

"This is people coming together, finding their common points of interest and moving forward on those," Kevin Konnyu, a participant in Occupy Toronto, said on Friday.

The "Occupy" movement started on New York's Wall Street as a protest against the growing gulf between the rich and the poor. That initial protest spawned a wave of similar demonstrations that have popped up in Nashville, Cleveland, Los Angeles and other cities.

One protester told CTV News Channel on Saturday that he attended the rally because he wanted to be part of "a global movement."

"A lot of ordinary people are saying ‘enough is enough,'" he said. "We need a better world, we need a better society and we think this is possible."

Despite the rain and the cold, protesters set up at least 25 tents and organizers brought in portable washrooms and food. Many protesters said they don't know how long they will stay.

Farshad Azadian, one of the protesters, said that the rally is a way for activists to rebuild society.

"I think this gathering and the protest today is the beginning of that momentum in Canada," Azadian said on Saturday.

Like its U.S. predecessors, Occupy Toronto was organized largely over social media and community-based meetings.

Organizers have stressed that they want to host a non-violent protest.

Police spokesperson Mark Pugash said that officers want to ensure that no violence breaks out at the event.

"The goal is public safety and facilitation of peaceful protest," he said earlier this week.

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford said he has no problem with citizens expressing themselves through the public rally and doesn't expect the event will turn violent.

"If people want to protest peacefully, that is fine. And I am sure it is going to be a peaceful protest," Ford told reporters on Friday.

The Canadian Bankers' Association has advised its members to "prepare for the worst, hope for the best," while a number of downtown banks have beefed up security as a precaution.

CTV News obtained an internal memo from TD Bank, telling employees they were working with "external partners" to maintain security of their branches.

The Canadian "Occupy" movement gained traction on Friday when the Canadian Auto Workers union and the Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada endorsed the action.

CAW President Ken Lewenza said in a statement he was encouraged to see "citizens rightfully stand up and take action against what are gross injustices in our economic and social structures."

CAW members have been encouraged to join the movement in Toronto and Vancouver.

Some downtown streets were closed for the protests, including Bay Street at Wellington Street West. TTC buses on Bay Street were also diverted around the protest.

With a report from CTV Toronto's Austin Delaney