G20 // Day 01 // Toronto

Last June, over $1 billion dollars was spent on organising and hosting the G8 and G20 summits in Huntsville and Toronto.  Part of the purse was used to transport the leaders of the world in safety, from airports and summit sites, to meetings and photos ops, then back to their hotels, and other places of residence.  Part of the money was used to provide the international media with “souvenier” bags filled with note pads, pins, bottled maple syrup (awesome) and pens that break (not so awesome).  2 million went into the construction of a fake lake at the media center, and the rest of the money it seemed, was used to convert downtown Toronto into a police state.  Sure it’s probably an over exaggeration on my part, but fences and concrete barriers were put up, as well as riot police and special units were brought in from all over the country.  The only thing that was missing was the army.  And restraint.

Day 01 of G20 was quiet.  Very quiet.  Fences were up.  The streets were empty and police were doing patrols on mountain bikes and on foot.

This was the same day Larry Rochefort, Philippe Ruel, and Renaud Philippe from Stigmat Photo arrived from Quebec City at my house.  It was the start of 4 intense days filled with adrenaline, granola bars, water, bbq’s at midnight, and late night edits.

After quick hellos, and a visit to the media center, we went for a walk about along the security perimeter erected around the Metro Toronto Convention Center.  Main downtown arteries were shut down, and traffic was re-routed along alternative routes, with delays.  Surprisingly the delays were minimal, as the majority of people who worked their 9-5′s in the affected zones didn’t even bother showing up for work.  Many employers actually encouraged it.

Tourists walked around with point and shoots taking photos of the fence.  They were told to leave by the federales, and in certain instances asked to delete photos from their cameras.  We walked around with our 5D’s, and were asked for identification on every corner.  Our accreditation’s were valid and respected. The police were civil, even friendly.  Making small talk, joking, and even posing for photos with tourists.  Canadian kindness in action.  Or so it seemed.

Day 02 Tomorrow.

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Renaud Philippe - Ha baba ! Nice time next to the lake !October 20, 2010 – 10:48 PM

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