Published On Wed Apr 28 2010
With the upcoming G20 summit looming over downtown Toronto, the event is casting an increasingly larger shadow, one that now stretches as far west as Trinity Bellwoods Park.
Summit officials have chosen the park as the designated protesting area for the G20 summit on June 26 and 27. That means demonstrators — at least, the rule-abiding ones — will be wielding placards and shouting through megaphones from inside a 37-acre residential park, located some two kilometres west of the summit’s outer boundary, or so-called “yellow zone.”
Susan Atkinson was shocked to hear that summit organizers have decided to send hoards of protestors to her neighbourhood park.
“I think that’s a really bad decision,” said Atkinson, who lives on Gore Vale
Ave. along the eastern edge of the park. “I want to know what kind of factors they considered when they made the decision. This is really shocking.”
Along the groups that have already begun mobilizing, the Ontario Federation of Labour is planning a march to Trinity Bellwoods from Queen’s Park. The march will take place on the Saturday of the summit weekend and includes groups like Greenpeace, Oxfam Canada and the Canadian Labour Congress.
But there will certainly be several demonstrators who choose to steer clear of the designated protesting area, which is three kilometres west of the Metro Convention Centre where world leaders and dignitaries will actually be congregating.
Councillor Adam Vaughan said he is more concerned with demonstrators causing havoc around the edges of the outer yellow zone, which he says will be bordered by Queen St., Yonge St., Lake Shore Blvd. and Spadina Ave.
“That will mean consequences for businesses on Queen,” Vaughan surmised Wednesday. “Also, consequences for businesses inside the yellow zone.”
Pedestrians will still be allowed inside the yellow zone, Vaughan said, but vehicles will face restrictions. This means, for example, that theatregoers won’t be able to drive to the Mirvish theatres but can likely walk or take public transit there.
Vaughan said baseball fans taking the TTC to the Rogers Centre during the G20 will also have to walk south on Bay St. from Union Station and west along Lake Shore Blvd., ultimately accessing the stadium from Rees St. Vaughan added that some sidewalks will have to be constructed along certain portions of this route.
Vaughan still has no information about the high-security zone that will encircle the convention centre, or “red zone,” which will likely be established with a three-metre-high fence. He doubts this information will be released until shortly before the summit but hopes to learn more about other security measures at a town-hall meeting scheduled for Thursday at Metro Hall.
Almost two months before the event, the G20 is also causing ripples outside the designated security zones. Kensington Market recently learned it will not be able to get a permit this June for Pedestrian Sunday, a monthly summer event now in its seventh year. And to the east of the summit site, Toronto police have rented an old movie studio at Eastern and Pape Aves. that will likely serve as a prisoner processing area.
At this point, Vaughan says he’d like to get as much information as possible to his ward constituents so they can make the necessary preparations for the G20. Right now, summit officials are sharing information with him every two weeks or so, he says.
“It’s very much a case where this boat is being built as it’s being sailed,” he said. “I just hope it reaches the dock.”