G20’s Toronto takeover: a roundup of snarls, snags, closures and general headaches
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the perimeter fences that will cordon off vast swaths of downtown for the G20 (June 25 to 27) are just the beginning of Toronto’s security woes. As officials try to wrap their heads around the logistics of the whole thing, it seems that every passing day reveals further details about how Torontonians will be inconvenienced, bothered, harassed or otherwise forced to do things differently due to the summit. Below, our list of closures and disruptions, updated as we learn more.
The University of Toronto decides to ban students and staff from its downtown campus from June 24 to 27 now that the much-discussed “protest zone” has been moved to Queen’s Park.
Residents who live in and around the security zone are being encouraged to register for identification cards that will allow them to get through checkpoints faster.
The Toronto Police Service has already started putting up 77 new security cameras around downtown. The footage will be destroyed after the conclusion of the summit.
Downtown patios will be shut down for two weeks before the summit begins, while other restaurants and business could be subject to further restrictions if they are located in the inner security zone.
Nay to the Jays
Toronto FC games will proceed as scheduled, but the Blue Jays’ much-anticipated series against the Phillies—and Roy Halliday—will take place in Philadelphia, rather than at the Rogers Centre as originally planned.
Drivers can expect delays and closures on the Gardiner Expressway and Lake Shore Boulevard.
The slower way
TTC riders can expect delays—well, more than usual.
The G20 will be no walk (ride?) in the park for cyclists: summit officials will be removing 1,000 bike parking rings from the downtown core.
The CN Tower will be closed from June 25 to 27. Please view Buffalo by driving there.
For the first time in its seven-year history, the Pedestrian Sundays program in Kensington Market has been denied a permit, possibly due to concerns that the market could become a rallying point.
Exiled from Bay Street
In a rare move, the captains of finance will be asking their bankers to work from home.
Parents who keep their children at downtown daycares have been told to keep them somewhere else.
Residents of 33 University Avenue, the only condo behind the G20 security fence, will have to enter and exit their building through police checkpoints.
According to a memo from a downtown property management group, the Path will be closed from Bay Street to the Royal York.
Eighty-three motorcades of 10 to 50 cars, including decoy motorcades, will be passing through downtown, tying up traffic all the while.
The RCMP is recommending that Bay Streeters ditch the suits and wear civilian clothes to avoid standing out.
Slow news month
Mediavores will have to find an alternate source for news as around 745 newspaper boxes will be stripped from the downtown core by June 9. We admit that the advent of the internet makes this pill a little easier to swallow, but it’s part of a larger plan to remove around 1,000 pieces of furniture, including five information signs, 200 litter bins and 29 transit shelters.
Those seeking to enter the security zone will feel like they are in an airport. In addition to government-issued ID cards, residents and business owners will be subject to an “airport-style” screening which may include metal detector scans and searches of personal belongings.
The show won’t go on
Toronto productions of Mamma Mia! and Rock of Ages will be cancelled from June 21 to 27. Factory Theatre will also be ending its season on June 20, a week ahead of schedule.
Stop that train
Via Rail will bypass Union Station—its busiest hub—from June 24-27, a move that will inconvenience thousands of riders but please Guildwood newsstand owners.
Hold the phone
Officials could use signal jamming technology as part of their security measures, potentially causing cell phone interruptions in both downtown Toronto and Huntsville. They won’t confirm whether the technology will be used or not, but wireless companies say they have been warned their signals could be temporarily jammed later this month.
Air space restrictions over Toronto for G20 weekend mean that locals will be unable to go parasailing, radio controlled aircraft and kites.
School’s out II
At least six schools will be closed in anticipation of G20 chaos this week, but the real hassle comes for students whose schools are remaining open. The public and Catholic school boards have cancelled all bus service in the city this Friday.
Humanitarianism is taking a back seat to the capitalist agenda. Osgoode Hall, which provides over 2,000 meals a week to the city’s poor, has been closed for the week.
Torontonians looking to temporarily drown their G20-induced woes should be aware that seven LCBO stores near the security zone will be closed.