Welcome, G20 leaders! Now, spend some money here
The long-anticipated G20 summit has arrived in Toronto and has not been an unblemished joy for the people who live here. Between expensive security and shuttered businesses and Karl Rove and riots, many Torontonians now wish the summit had gone elsewhere. What would soothe the city’s irritation at having to play host to the world’s rich and powerful? How about if the foreign delegates spent some fat cash while they’re in town partying? For the leaders of the G20, here is our guide to where they should leave their money as they breeze through Toronto.
Silvio Berlusconi (Italy)
A man who is never lacking for scandal, the most senior of the G8 leaders has been accused variously of corruption, mob ties and being the kind of chaser that would make Tiger Woods blush. Berlusconi’s lady-loving got him in so much trouble that his wife divorced him, and wasn’t quiet about it either.
Wayne Swan (Australia), Naoto Kan (Japan), David Cameron (United Kingdom)
Sometimes, a major summit like this is filled with old hands. The 2007 G8 summit included long-time leaders George W. Bush, Vladimir Putin, and Tony Blair. Not so at this G20: a handful of leaders have been in their jobs for less than two months. David Cameron—Stephen Harper’s new BFF—took office on May 11, and he’s actually pretty senior compared to Kan (who took office at the beginning of June) and Swan (who basically won the job of deputy PM right before getting on the plane to come to Toronto. His boss, Julia Gillard, just turfed the Australian PM on Thursday and couldn’t make it.)
Destination: We’re tempted to say the leaders should bone up at Robarts Library, but A) U of T is shuttered and B) they wouldn’t spend any money there. Instead, we recommend that the dignitaries hit up any one of Toronto’s fine bookstores to buy the kind of CanLit that will help them in their new posts.
Angela Merkel (Germany), Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (Argentina)
After spending a day in close quarters with powerful men, the only two female leaders at the G20 summit will probably need a decent place to relax.
Destination: Verity’s Sweetgrass Spa—every Toronto power woman’s go-to place for avoiding men like Berlusconi.
Barack Obama (United States)
Destination: Obama Café on the Danforth. A visit would give proprietor Emmanuel DeBaas the thrill of a lifetime.