Pope Francis arrived in Quebec city on Wednesday, for meetings with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau, and governor general Mary Simon at her Quebec residence the hilltop citadelle fortress, on the second leg of his week-long visit to Canada.
Thousands of people gave him a warm welcome, crowding the streets to see the pontiff, and cheering as he rode through the city, at times slowing down to kiss, and bless infants.
Francis has said he is on a "penitential pilgrimage" to atone for the church’s role in the residential school system, in which generations of indigenous children were forcibly removed from their homes and forced to attend church-run, government-funded boarding schools, to assimilate them into Christian Canadian Society.
On Monday, he apologised for church personnel who worked in the schools and the "catastrophic" effect of the school system on indigenous families, and in a speech before government authorities earlier on Wednesday, Francis apologised anew and blasted the school system as "deplorable".
More than 150,000 native children in Canada were taken from their homes from the 19th century until the 1970s, and placed in the schools in an effort to isolate them from the influence of their families and culture.