There’s enough controversy about the G8/G20, but I found this bit too ironic.
While Toronto is preparing for the conference and spending a billion dollars (sadly that wasn’t an exaggeration), they’re also having the homeless “relocate” and asking hot dog vendors to shut down for 2 weeks.
Anyway our Prime Minister, Steven Harper, has been saying that the G20 Summit is an awesome way to showcase Toronto and promote tourism. Great! Let’s see how that’s going to happen; with all the closures!
Torontoist.com has put togther a comprehensive guide to the city during the G20, so here’s their portion on tourism, as Mr. Harper says will thrive from G20!
Stephen Harper insists that the G20 is an opportunity to showcase Toronto to the world, which is why the city is rolling out the Welcome Wagon—er, the Salutation Sound Cannon.
If you’ve already booked your trip to Toronto and don’t belong to a governmental delegation or protest group, you might be wondering what to do this weekend. The answer? Go to Montréal.
Several key tourist attractions are closed G20 weekend. The CN Tower, which bills itself as “Canada’s most recognizable and celebrated icon,” will be closed from June 25 to the 27 due to its proximity to the Convention Centre. It will reopen on the Monday.
The Art Gallery of Ontario will also be closed, as will the Mirvish productions Mamma Mia and Rock of Ages, both at theatres on King Street Street. TheGlobe and Mailreported that the theatres will be dark the entire week of June 21 to June 27 due to security concerns, as well as concerns about ticket holders not being able to get through traffic jams and police blockages to get to the venues.
Even tours will be hard to come by. Toronto Hippo Tours is moving its operations from Front Street to the Delta Chelsea Hotel in the weeks leading up to the G20 weekend, but it expects some route alterations in the days immediately before the summit. “We’ll be closing for the actual weekend of the summit,” said PR Manager Anne Greenwood. “There’s not much we can do.”
Unpredictable traffic schedules and an inability to navigate such large portions of the downtown core have forced other tour operators to close as well. Toronto Tours won’t be operating its City or Harbour tours, and a Gray Line operator said the company hopes to be running, but can’t speculate yet on details or even whether it’s possible.
All of that, of course, is contingent on tourists being here that weekend at all. Sarkozy probably won’t be taking in the Textile Museum, but delegates from all over the world are taking up hotel rooms. The Globe thoroughly canvassed area hotels, none of which have available rooms and only a few of which have non-summit guests.
If you’re one of the lucky few to have a room, there’s another unknown variable to throw into the mix: the potential hotel workers strike. It’ll likely affect the French delegation at the Novotel most, but the threat of full-scale tourism shutdown looms large.
If the summit’s not your thing, Weir reminds us that Toronto really does have a lot to offer beyond the CN Tower. “People will discover new things about Toronto that weekend, especially the scope and breadth of the city,” he says. “With the World Cup, every neighbourhood in the city will be alive and electric and completely remarkable. People can move about the city and, while some downtown attractions are closing, others, like the ROM with Terracotta Warriors [opening June 26], are opening massive global exhibitions that weekend.”
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