Police patrol streets, crews board shop window. The Globe reports from the city core
Globe and Mail Update Published on Friday, Jun. 25, 2010
Torontonians woke up to a fortified city Friday, as thousands of police officers enforce a tight security grip in the downtown core and residents brace for the weekend G20 summit.
Despite the world gathering, however, there were few signs that the world has started to descend on the city’s doorstep. The early-morning commute has been largely unaffected as tens of thousands of people either took the day off or are working from home to avoid the hassles of moving around in the downtown.
The heart of the city is under a virtual security lockdown, though a light stream of vehicles moved through the security area surrounding the summit site and wider traffic restriction zone. Street corners are guarded by knots of police officers while security guards stand outside some local business.
One of the summit buildings, the Allstream Centre, was under a brief police lockdown around 8 a.m. because a bag was left unattended overnight.
The Globe and Mail is providing extensive coverage on how Toronto is moving on the first big summit day, from highways to public transit to protests. Several reporters are fanned out across the city to provide updates on the morning commute.
The TTC subway system is operating normally, with light volumes as the first trains of the day flowed into the downtown – about 15 to 30 passengers in each of the typical train’s six cars.
A steady flow of commuters waiting for southbound Yonge line trains collected on the platform at Bloor Station, but traffic is a little lighter than usual.
By 7:30 a.m., seats on southbound Yonge line trains pulling into Bloor Station were still available – unusual on what is normally the city's busiest subway line.
A steady trickle of people collected on the spacious platform before each train arrived, every two or three minutes. But it was clear that many who would normally take the subway downtown chose to stay home today. "If it weren't for the G20, this place would be jammed," said a man who declined to give his name.
Shortly after 6 a.m. at Union Station, all outbound GO trains appeared to be running on time.
"Pretty empty, pretty fast," commuter Susan Mussakowski said of her commute. Ms. Mussakowski, who lives east of Oshawa, arrived at Union Station on a GO train at about 6:20 a.m. She estimated there were only about 10 people sitting in her GO train car, instead of the usual 50.
For Jeff Schrader, who works at St. Joseph's Health Centre near Queen Street West and Roncesvales Avenue, today's commute was like any other. Mr. Schrader, who commutes from Ajax, said his 5:21 a.m. GO train was "early enough" to avoid problems. He arrived at Union Station on time.
Police officers walked in pairs through the GO train waiting area, chatting with one another and surveying the station. Peter Knyszynski, a construction worker waiting at the station for a friend, glanced up at the officers and muttered under his breath, "I feel like I'm in a communist country."
On the upper level of Union Station around 7 a.m., a confused Alan and Claire Rubenstein wandered around the VIA train departures area, suitcases in tow. The Florida couple had just finished a three-day vacation in Toronto and had tickets to travel on Friday's 8:30 a.m. train to Rochester, NY. They booked their tickets months ago, Ms. Rubenstein said, and nobody had told them that VIA would not be operating out of Union this weekend.
"We have to be in Rochester tonight," she said. "It's his parents' 70th anniversary."
The couple eventually called VIA, where a representative told them to take a GO train to Oakville and try to catch the 8:57 a.m. train from there.
Ingrid Leilbardis, who was driving the 504 King St. streetcar, which runs through the core from Broadview Station to Dundas West station, said both traffic and ridership were light, even for the early hour. "I'm not picking anybody up," she said. About five people were on the streetcar.
Along Spadina Avenue, garbage trucks made their way along the street. Crews outside the LCBO at the corner of King St. and Spadina were at work boarding up the windows in anticipation of weekend demonstrations.
A warning to expect major delays on arterial roads and highways flashed on an LED sign above an empty Gardiner Expressway early this morning.
In a cab headed west to Pearson International Airport, Beck Taxi driver Ahmad Iqbal Choudhry said: “most people will make Friday a holiday.”
The veteran driver has been on the road for 12 years and takes passengers to the airport about three times per week. It took him 20 minutes to travel from the downtown core to Terminal Three early Friday, day one of the supposed road-clogging summit – a speedy record, Mr. Choudhry says of a trip that usually takes him at least half an hour.
The airport was quiet
From the quiet of the airport's arrivals areas, it seems few people are landing in Toronto this morning.
Traffic on the southbound Don Valley Parkway as it met the Gardiner Expressway was typical of an average weekday, with some fast-moving volume around 6:20 a.m.
There were some delays on Highway 401 due to a collision and congestion. Police reported a hazard caused by several geese walking by the busy highway near Victoria Park Avenue.
Police briefly questioned a man wearing a “Fuck the G20” shirt on an otherwise deserted Yonge Street around 6:15 a.m. After showing them the contents of his bulky backpack, he was allowed to continue walking south.
Protests that have been under way daily for much of the week were set to continue.
On Friday, the Ontario Coalition was set to march through Toronto before setting up a tent city to protest what they claim is police harassment of homless during G8 and G20 summits.
Police have said they plan to close the traffic fence surrounding the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the G20 site, on Friday evening, but warned they could shut the area almost immediately if there are security risks. The diversion zone extends from Spadina Avenue in the west to Yonge Street, and from King Street West south to Lake Shore Boulevard West.
Police earlier warned motorists of “significant delays” caused by road closures and restrictions in the Greater Toronto Area. They said the bulk of the shutdowns would affect Highway 427 and the Gardiner Expressway, the main routes between Pearson International Airport and downtown Toronto. Officials urged residents to take public transit or plan alternate routes.
The G8 Summit runs from Friday to Saturday in Huntsville, Ont., an idyllic resort community in the heart of Ontario cottage country, while the G20 starts in Toronto later on Saturday and wraps up on Sunday.
With reports from Terry Weber, Laura Blenkinsop, Jeff Gray, Ann Hui, Katie Hewitt and Shane Dingman.
Wake up Canada! A lawyer, the Ontario Premier, David McGuinty has
secretly, passed draconian legislation that is akin to "martial law", its
draconian, walk within the "G20 Zone" and you are subject to a reverse onus, to
show identification and be searched. IF the police don't like you, you will be
placed in a Public Cage!
Dave Vasey was the first person to be arrested under what is called a "new law".
What people don't know is that police already have draconian powers that can be invoked simply by opening their mouth, if you don't understand what they mumble, you to can be instantly arrested on a charge that will never result in a conviction but will be used to intimidate and harass anyone who criticizes the government.
Canada is a Fraud, it portrays itself as a country with rights and freedoms when those rights and freedoms in reality don't exist.
Ontario Jails are increasingly being used as "Debtor's prisons", not for failing to pay child support but to intimidate any father from having a relationship with his child.
Ontario Judges like the DIS-Honourable Denis Power, Alan Sheffield aka "the worst of the worst", routinely make decisions that result a production line of fathers who seek access, being sent to jail on trumped up orders for child support based on income that never existed and for which no evidence was ever even produced.
These Flagrant Abuses of Judicial Power go unacknowledged by our Ontario Premier, the Judicial Council and our Prime Minister.
The Entire legal community know which judges are flagrantly abusing their power and do absolutely nothing about it. They fail to have the courage to do anything about it, apparently too afraid of the the possible repercussions.
Expect things to get worse before they get better.
One reason why things are going to get worse is because Canadian Men do not demand that their politicians address the problems.
Welcome To Canada, when men have no legal rights, where children have no
legal rights to equal parenting after divorce.
Welcome to Canada, home of the corrupt family court judges that have directly resulted in Canada's negative birth rate by intimidating men not to have children.
Welcome to Canada with its "Debtor's Prisons" where father's who loose the jobs, and who can't afford a lawyer, end up with many months of jail time on their record for simply going to court and asking for their child to have the right to have a relationship with their father.
Welcome to Canada with its Male Gender Apartheid.
Welcome to Canada where the premier of Ontario rushes through secret legislation to prevent any embarrassment, it the stunt you would expect from a banana republic dictator.
Welcome to Canada where the Prime Minister fails to comply with orders to disclose documents on Canada's knowledge and complicity in Afghan Torture.
The Ontario Government's sudden draconian change in the law was specifically
designed to enable them to make the greatest number of arrests possible.
The Government's has taken a narcissistic contemptuous approach to justice to deal with protesters.
The Government's approach has also been similar in Family Law with very quiet and continuous changes in Family Law that very quickly remove all legal rights from fathers and incarcerate them indefinitely repeatedly after Kangaroo hearings in which previous draconian decisions cannot be challenged.
For example, it is next to impossible in Ontario to VARY an order for support, even if circumstances change, a father becomes unemployed or has child care responsibilities. Those same excuses are accepted when women object to a variation in spousal support, something that men in Ontario are not allowed to receive thanks to our corrupt family court judiciary.
Canada is a corrupt country, with a corrupt judiciary, a corrupt family law system and where only lip service is paid to the fundamental principles of justice.
Anyone thinking of immigrating to Canada should be aware that Canadian Men have next to no legal rights and the birth of a child could spell total destruction to a father who if a mother decides he is not going to see the child, that is most probably what is going to happen almost regardless of any legal action which is most probably only going to provide large checks for those lawyers who are politically correct.