Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 7/6/2010 (2184 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The disruptions caused by the G8/G20 summits planned for Muskoka and Toronto are numerous. Basically the heart of downtown Toronto will be in lock-down mode from June 25-27.
Several blocks of downtown Toronto are currently being enclosed by a 3 metre tall fence. If you live and work inside the zone, you will need to get a registration card which means submitting an application and photo ID for security clearance just so you can go home or go to work. Several businesses reportedly are telling employees to stay away from the office during the summit.
The CN Tower is going to be closed and several downtown theatres will be dark for the weekend, right in the middle of a weekend in tourist season.
Via Rail is bypassing Union Station in downtown Toronto and hoping to shuttle passengers between suburban stations instead.
The $933-million bill for security alone is almost too massive to contemplate not to mention the lost tourist revenue for Toronto over that weekend.
Then there are the "other" costs which are now trickling out.
Like the fake Lake Muskoka and replica Toronto Stock Exchange Canada is building inside the world media centre to create a Canadian Corridor for visiting journalists. Although Canada spent $50 million to spruce up the Muskoka region ahead of the summits, most of the delegations and the vast majority of the world media will get nowhere near it. Only 200 media of the estimated 3,000 coming to cover the summits will be allowed into the Huntsville, Ont., area to cover the G8 up close. All the others will remain behind at the Toronto media centre. But to ensure they don’t miss the Canadian experience we are spending $1.9 million to build a fake lake (Industry Minister Tony Clement calls it a reflecting pool) with canoes, lakeside blackberry recharging stations with dock chairs, and the aforementioned replica of the stock exchange. (The real one is located less than 5 km away from the media centre.)
Not to mention the government already spent $23 million renovating a hockey arena in the Muskokas for the international media but then decided to keep the media in a separate location in Toronto instead.
All of this and the draft communiqués, (fancy government summit speak for news releases) are already in motion meaning 90 per cent at least of what the leaders are going to agree to at these summits has already been agreed to before anyone has packed a single suitcase.
Unless those leaders can come up with a way to implement world peace, end child poverty worldwide and explain the Caramilk secret, there is little chance whatever they come up with at their tete-a-tete will leave Canadians feeling this was money well spent.