Thankfully I did not work in the core today. My uneasiness was reserved for my trip into the city from the 905. Arriving by GO Train to Union Station into what could have been the centre of madness, I was expecting the worst. Union Station and Front Street are bad enough on any Friday let alone the start of a weekend featuring a G20.
The suburban parking lot of the GO station was eerie and sparse. I had some snacks, my phone and a couple drinks. I hoped that I could endure at least a mild inconvenience. Got news that a scuffle between protesters and Police at Yonge and College as I reached the GO platform. Oh well, no turning back BUT that was to be one of my destinations tonight. I missed an earlier express train but crossed my fingers and took the milk run into “G20 land”.
In the end the GO train was exactly on schedule. It was somewhat inconvenient taking the western of the GO Station at Bay but I hardly wanted to venture anywhere near the “cage”. Seeing it from the double doors under the tracks was close enough. Testing my luck, I headed to the TTC toward College Station. By now the word was the police had brought in reinforcements and diverted the streetcars. Expecting the worst I headed up the Yonge TTC line and hoped for the best.
College subway did have a few police near the fare booth. No real issues from protesters, at least I arrived. I probably missed the worst the conflict on the street an hour before. I surfaced near the Winner’s store, not far where a man was arrested. A massive police presence but pedestrians could cross all crossings and vehicles were still being diverted West of Yonge.
My mostly uneventful trip made for the tastiest BBQ style burger ever. Guilty domestic bliss. Sad but true but just part of the kind of decompression most Torontonians must be experiencing after a high security, $50 Million an hour, international board meeting gets booked in your backyard.
So what happened. Everyone stayed home if they could. A few yahoos “tested the bounds” of authority. (Duh, what do you think happens if you breach a perimeter, push a cop or act like an idiot.) The majority of the protesters near the “problem area” and the city were peaceful. There may have been a few aggressive individuals at Yonge and College. Sad that the man that was arrested there was a deaf man (who probably didn’t hear the instructions from a scared and agitated security force). Worse still is that this man is being held in a detention centre without being provided an interpreter!
Despite the hype, I doubt the 2000+ protesters that congregated at Yonge and College were even headed toward fence forming the “cage”. The majority of groups involved in the “infamous scuffle” were from local activist housing and anti-poverty groups like Jane and Finch Action Against Poverty, OCAP and No One Is Illegal. Their installation of a Tent City at one of Canada’s highest concentrations of homelessness is meant to harken back to harsher times. Toronto’s erection and eventual evictions at a Tent City years ago.
In the end the city was a ghost town. Posturing and hype aside it could have been worse. Hoping for the best when festivities really kick in tomorrow.