Day One: Scenes from outside the summit

Protesters, police, and a security perimeter—what happened to downtown Toronto?

Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3

5:59 pm [Stephanie]

Still at University and Elm, where more police have come in. Helicopters are overhead, with police on horses and sirens going. Follow me on Twitter: SJFindlay

5:47 pm [Stephanie]

The scene at Elm and University.

5:36 pm [Stephanie]

Dallas Goldtooth (left), 27, and Adam Thomas, 24, are up from From Minneapolis, Minnesota to protest oil drilling in B.C.

5:12 pm [Josh]

Saw at least one protester detained by police near the Winners at College and Yonge. I didn’t see what he did, but protesters say he was shoved by police and that the female with him was also arrested. Police won’t cofirm anything.

4:47 pm [Stephanie]

"G20 policies of supposed open market are just bad for women, indigenous people... everyone," says Lacey MacAuley, climate change activist visiting from Washington, D.C.

4:18 pm [Josh]

Carlton St. & Jarvis St.: Crowd stops police car with sirens on who tried to drive through the crowd. About 50 cops at the front of the parade, almost all with bikes. Parallel lines of cops on bikes flanking protesters at the front. “I think Canada is an illegitimate concept,” says one person dressed as a clown, when I ask where she’s from. Front of protest approaches Yonge St.

4:04 pm [Josh]
Carlton St. & Sherbourne St.: Protesters are shouting “Free Palestine” and using vuvuzelas. The median age is about 20. Everyone looks confused, but people are starting to March east along Carlton St. Now big band tuba music is drowning out the free Palestine chants. Shouts of “no one, no one is illegal.”

4:00 pm [Stephanie]

"I'm here today because history has shown us that protesting works," says Jonathan Allan. It's an "opportunity to send a message to the leaders of the G20."

3:56 pm [Stephanie]

Kate Chung, of Raging Grannies, on the G20: "The criminalization of dissent has become really bad," she says. "Regular people who don't know about the issues are afriad...we need to speak up because Canada is tending toward facism." Raging Grannies started in the eighties in Victoria, BC. Chung has three grandchildren.

3:28 pm [Stephanie]

Mr. Turmer, an engineer, protests against interest

2:07 pm [Julia]

Jane Rozell is a grandmother who has never protested anything in her life—until today. "One day, you realize you have to get out there and speak up," she says. She's upset there are children going to school hungry, and that while abortion is legal, it's difficult to get one. But most of all, she wants the "sane" voice of a mother and grandmother to be heard by the mostly male G8/G20 delegates.

1:45 pm [Jane]

Free massages and hugs for all at Allan Gardens.

1:40 pm [Jane]

Allan Gardens is over-saturated with journalists and photographers more so than actual protesters.

1:30 pm [Jane & Julia]

At the midday protests in Allan Gardens, we caught up with a group of women who were peacefully calling for gender equity. Sonya Sangster, a Vancouverite who paid for a flight to Toronto and took time off work to attend G20 protests, says, “We want to remind leaders to keep their promises, and to make sure women are a priority when they are making decisions.”

She also made the trip to demonstrate her solidarity with the cause. Though sometimes “the cause” among protesters in the park was a bit blurry or unclear—there were anti-capitalists, gay rights activists, communists of Iran, and people asking for an end to the tar sands—Sangster was quite adamant that her main concern is maternal health: “I would like to see if they are going to offer a maternal health package that includes abortions because women die from illegal abortions everyday.”

Another protester, Torontonian Jen S., sat nearby in a red casket decorated with coat hangers. The word “CHOICE” was painted on the side of the casket, making clear her feelings about abortion. In addition to maternal health, the G20’s billion-dollar price tag also roused her because so many Torontonians are living in poverty.

“I live in a rooming house, and there’s people who just got off the street and are living in sub-standard housing, including myself, while they’re spending tons of money having $700 lunches. I don’t have $700 to spend for the whole month.”

1:12 pm [Julia]

Ali Fida, another toronto cab driver, says, "I don't even see people downtown, except for cops." He pays $80 per day for his cab, but today he has only made $15. "I'm just killing time." In six years of driving, he says this is the worst business has ever been. "All cabbies are very angry and upset, but we can't do anything about it."

12:59 pm [Julia]

Another shot of the pop-up jail on Eastern

12:56 pm [Julia]

"Business is very, very bad since yesterday," says cab driver Ali Khan. "Nobody's in the city." He estimates business is down 40 to 50 per cent, because of it, he plans to take the weekend off. "I'm just going to relax Saturday and Sunday and hope it picks up by tuesday."

12:53 pm [Jane]

The front of the pop-up jail at Eastern and Pape

11:42 am [Julia]

The TD branch at Queen and Bay is closed for the G20.

11:27 am [Jane]

Police officers congregating at Queen and John streets.

11:26 am [Julia]

The scene just north of the fence.

11:07 am [Jane]

Little Nicky's Coffee on Peter St. had a slow morning as most of its regulars skipped town for the G20 summit. Owner Renee Bonise says a slow trickle of customers have come into her shop since she opened at 7:30 a.m. "A couple of regulars had to work," she says of the few businesses open in the area. Bonise says she plans to close the coffee shop for the weekend as more people flood into the downtown area.

11:06 am [Julia]

Ed McVeigh of the Toronto police expects today to be a long day—walking around when he usually drives, and working a 12 hour shift when he usually works 10 hours. While he is staying in a downtown hotel to avoid the commute, he says this is a regular day shift, just longer and hotter. "There's nothing in this for us. People think we enjoy this—we don't. The last thing we want are any problems." A passerby wishes the cops good luck today. Ed says, "for years we've been promoting for cops to be more approachable." This group of Toronto police is just one of many gobs of security forces sprinkled around the quiet downtown streets.

10:32 am [Jane]

Police officers on horses on Peter St.

10:19 am [Julia]

WTF! The cops seem bored.

10:16 am [Julia]

The Chaudry family is visiting from New Jersey. They say that when they planned their vacation six months ago, they didn't realize it would coincide with the G20. So far, there have been few interruptions, except for the fact the CN Tower is closed. "That's a bit disappointing, but we understand," says daughter Fatima.

10:08 am [Jane]

Toronto resident Adam Abudu sat at the corner of Front and Simcoe streets to bring awareness to the testing and use of vaccines of humans. "Most of them are not tried on humanities," he says. "It's all clinical trials." Abudu said his father and mother lived to be 94 and 93, respectively, and depended on natural foods rather than vaccines. Abudu said he would be walking around the downtown area promoting his message for the rest of the day.

9:50 am [Julia]

Andrea Pushka, a Queen St. resident, says her morning walks with her dog haven't been hampered by the G20. In fact, she enjoys the spectacle. (In the photo, she is taking a picture of a motorcade near the convention centre at Front and Simcoe streets). "The cops are super friendly. There's been no problem walking around. It's like a ghost town."

9:26 am [Julia]

Outside the Royal York on Front St.

9:13 am [Julia]

Store owners on King W. prepare for the onslaught.

9:06 am [Julia]

Tasha, a Torontonian and first-time protester, brought her megaphone and a sign on her way to work on Bay St. "I don't think the government should use millions of dollars of our money to buy weapons to use on us." She was particularly peeved by the sound cannons and tear gas. "Here we are, swimming in national debt, and they spend money on a fake lake."

8:50 am [Julia]

Cops say it's been quiet so far today.

8:44 am [Julia]

Police officers are hanging out and chatting on a quiet morning at King and Yonge. The subway was nearly empty—I got a seat for the first time in a while.