The G20 and the Metro Toronto Stronghold - The Intrepid

Monday, June 21, 2010

The G20 and the Metro Toronto Stronghold

G20 Metro Toronto Fortress
This weekend, the world's most powerful leaders will descend on Toronto for the G20 Summit to have what will likely be a series of inconsequential discussions at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (pictured above in black and white to create an ominous, spooky effect.)

According to the Toronto Star, the ten-foot-tall steel fence that surrounds the convention centre was designed by the RCMP and engineered by SNC-Lavalin with tiny centimetre-sized links to be climb-proof. The fence's final price tag is still being worked out, but it's believed that it will end up costing upwards of $5.5 million.

This past Friday, I wandered around through the security zone's 3.5 kilometre latticework of fencing, checkpoints, and concrete barriers to get a first-hand impression of their impact. There's already been endless discussion of how bleak the fence looks and how bad it is for tourism, so I'll use this opportunity to point out a few other things I noticed while on my stroll.

  • Since it's difficult for drivers to see through the fences, driveways and back-alleys have become traffic hazards. To solve this problem, the summit crews have slapped up dozens of temporary hidden driveway signs.
  • A lot of the trash cans in the area have been removed, which—not surprisingly—has led to random piles of trash.
  • The bottlenecks created by the fences occasionally lead strange traffic conditions. When have you ever seen Front Street devoid of cars at 5:00 p.m. on a weekday (as pictured above)?
  • The fences largely solve downtown Toronto's jaywalking problem.
Photo by Stephen M.