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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Get ready to be inconvenienced by world leaders

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Spacing’s next issue will be hitting the newsstands in late June. It’s only coincidental that our cover section will focus on the theme of “Public Spectacle” at the same time as the notorious G20 meetings will be held in Toronto.

On June 26 and 27, a portion of downtown Toronto will become a pseudo-police state with Red Zones, Designated Free Speech Areas, and ID cards to come and go from your home if you live in the core of the city. But the inconveniences of the summit will have a ripple effect far outside the no-go zones. A quick scan of Google News aggregator gives us a good indication of what to expect: the Toronto FC match at BMO Field on the CNE grounds will create traffic chaos; protesters confined to Trinity Bellwoods Park will leave a mess and disrupt the park’s weekend usage by residents; and practice hostage rescues are freaking out weekend workers in the Financial District.

I’m starting to get the impression that Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave Toronto the G20 Summit as punishment to the urban voters who don’t seem to like his party’s policies.

Here are a few tidbits of information on the summit supplied by the Entertainment District’s BIA:


Spadina Avenue to Yonge Street, Lakeshore Boulevard to King Street West is the designated “Traffic Zone”.  Drivers may experience some delays throughout this zone.  Police will be located at major intersections to help direct traffic to avoid unnecessary slowdowns.  Street parking in certain areas within the traffic zone will not be allowed.  A complete traffic zone and traffic communication plan will follow.


Trinity Bellwoods Park (Bathurst Street and Queen Street West) has been confirmed as a Designated Speech Area.  This location will provide an opportunity via video and audio feeds to have dignitaries see and hear people’s concerns.


There will be an organized rally sponsored by the Ontario Federation of Labour & The Canadian Labour Congress.  Rally will take place moving south along University Avenue moving west along Queen Street West.  Details regarding the specific route and time will follow.


Accreditation is a mandatory process for all who need access to the Red Zone comprised of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre and specific surrounding hotels.  This area will have the highest level of security controlled by the RCMP.


This Perimeter Zone is currently being confirmed by Toronto Police Services (TPS).  The TPS encourages people who live and work within this zone to become registered in an attempt to avoid line-ups at the “Yellow Zone” gates should you require access over the Summit dates.  Provided there is no unforeseen threat, the gates to this zone will remain open as close as possible to the time of the Summit weekend.  Please Note: Toronto Police Services will be contacting property owners and property managers of buildings within this zone.  It is important that once contacted, the property owners and property managers contact their tenants.  If you do not receive notice from the Police, you are not in the zone.

photo by Matthew Blackett



  1. Yay. I work in the middle of the yellow zone and live half a block above it.

    You think that after Quebec Cit, Seattle, etc they’d have learned not to host these in cities.


  2. “Designated Speech Area”: %$#@, doesn’t anyone read Orwell anymore!

  3. Note that the designated speech area as well as the OFL rally have been moved to Queen’s Park.

  4. I know this may sound like a bourgeois complaint in light of more serious local and global issues, or it may just sound like NIMBYism, but why for the love of Pete does the “designated protest zone” have to be Trinity Bellwoods Park?

    Besides the fact that creating such a zone and then establishing it several kilometers away from the event which people are protesting is absurd and problematic for many obvious reasons, I can’t see how that park will sustain what could be large crowds of protesters and whatever token video-link community placation information booth B.S. the G20 organizers set up. Like the Lorax, I want to speak for all the new trees (and flowers) that the City just put a lot of time and money into planting this spring. New plantings have a hard enough time surviving in any part of the city, let alone a designated protest zone for a meeting of global leaders. I want people to protest; I want to protest. But protesting 3km away in a park is ridiculous and I am afraid that the most lasting impact of protesting in TBP will be degradation of a green space, not advancement of any political agenda.

  5. Shouldn’t your headline read:

    Get ready to be inconvenienced by protestors!

    If we’d just ignore those “World Leaders”, the city would be a peaceful place during the unnecessary visit.

    Throw them all out of office after the event!!!