Toronto, tonight

The city tonight is in a state of stupid chaos.

At the pub over dinner, the TV was switched from the Toronto FC match so everyone could watch a police car burn on Queen Street. A dozen blocks away, around the legislature and the university, a few dozen protesters stood around lipping off at a few hundred, heavily clad police officers. A line of officers stood guard where police headquarters had been attacked. A crowd made its way down Yonge Street chanting and cheering. Some were protesters, a lot were merely curious observers. Some posed for photos beside smashed windows. Starbucks and Tim Horton’s had been attacked, the Perfume Boutique had been spared. A couple homeless guys worked the crowd for change. A TV reporter walked past with a cameraman and private security guard in tow. On the ride back to the hotel, the cab driver pointed out how dark Yorkville was, so many stores having closed preemptively. It’s now pouring rain and helicopters can be heard buzzing overhead.

You can walk a block or two from the action and Toronto is seen carrying on as normal. It’s not quite dangerous, but it’s not quite safe. The crowds are a mix of the indignant, the earnest and the opportunistic. Some obviously carry bad intentions. A lot seem simply bored. When the lights went out in 2003 and order unravelled slightly, Toronto turned into a party. Tonight, again, people are out in the streets, but the mood is simply dumb.