Toronto punching above its weight.  
This is why many Torontonians claim that the city is ‘World Class’.  I still disagree with that statement, however.  Until Toronto gets a truly first-rate transit system and intensifies within the old city limits, it will never be world class in my opinion.  Toronto is still an overwhelmingly automobile-oriented city and its edges are much too suburbanized.  We could learn a lot from Singapore.

Toronto punching above its weight.  

This is why many Torontonians claim that the city is ‘World Class’.  I still disagree with that statement, however.  Until Toronto gets a truly first-rate transit system and intensifies within the old city limits, it will never be world class in my opinion.  Toronto is still an overwhelmingly automobile-oriented city and its edges are much too suburbanized.  We could learn a lot from Singapore.

G-20 Protest - Before the Anarchists Ruined Everything

I attended the G-20 protests today mainly because I’ve never experienced one before.  It started at Queen’s Park around 12pm and was an amalgamation of different groups representing countless issues.  

Unfortunately, I had to work at 4pm so I had to leave early.  Apparently I missed quite the show.  It is unfortunate that violence ensued and ruined what was a very peaceful and powerful march.  As I said before, the $1Billion spent on security was provocative and I think both sides tend to feed off each other.  Stephen Harper will be quietly pleased.  The violence justifies, at least in some small way, the ridiculous cost of the Summit.  

However, from what I witnessed, and you shall see, it was a peaceful protest for the most part.  There were many people who were there to represent very legitimate issues and I hope the violence does not drowned out their voices. 

I found this man’s sign interesting.  You probably can’t really make it out, but it says: “Everything is O.K.”  

Other groups began to come together at Queen’s Park.

The Executive Director of Greenpeace, Kumi Naidoo from South Africa

Labour leader, Sid Ryan

This man was protesting the government’s response to Swine Flu.  From what I could gather, he lost a member or more of his family to the disease.

The march begins.  

You hear from a lot of people that protesters are a bunch of young mis-fits on welfare and no will to work.  From these images you can see quite the opposite: they are a diverse group representing every age and socioeconomic background imaginable.

This women had an interesting, yet bizarre, approach.  She was sitting in the middle of University Avenue just eating this massive cake.  I didn’t really understand what she was trying to say or what her cause was - something about greed or indulgence I imagine.

This man created a bit of excitement.  The only real confrontation I was able to capture.  He started off by blocking the police bike lines and then jumped over the fence near the American Consulate only to be jumped by several police officers.  It prompted a gang of riot police to make their first appearance.

Who know’s what this guy was thinking…

The guy in blue comes out of no where and moons the riot squads.  You can see him unzipping his pants in the first one, and pulling them up again in the second.  Of course I looked away at the vital moment - which is why I’ll never be a photojournalist.

So I ended my day at Queen and Spadina about 10 seconds before the first windows were smashed.  At least these pictures prove that there were peaceful G-20 protests in Toronto this weekend.  Unfortunately, the destruction of the Black Block will drown them out and most people will go on believing that protesters are just a bunch of unemployed thugs.

Fortress Toronto

The G-20 Fence is now complete and downtown Toronto has taken on a Police State feel.  It remains to be seen whether the astronomical price tag of $1Billion for Toronto to host the G-20 will be money well spent.  

I am skeptical of accusations that the PM’s Office will use Agent Provocateurs in order to justify the bill.  However, I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that the overwhelming police presence is provocative enough.

I took the following pictures today, June 22, 2010.  I was expecting to see protesters as there were reports that they would attempt to gridlock downtown at rush hour.  All I got were a bunch of Toronto and RCMP police officer’s standing around outside of Financial Institutions.  Perhaps that is telling enough……

Union Station, the hub of downtown Toronto, at 4pm on a week day.

A couple of police helicopters flew by overhead as I walked down Front St.

The Metro Toronto Convention Centre where the G-20 will be held.

…And Up…

More photos of the G-20 fence taken June 10, 2010.

G-20: The Fence Goes Up

Over the next couple of weeks I will be showing the progress of the G-20 security fence being erected.  This fence and the security detail which will be assigned to the protecting the 20 world leaders has cost the Canadian taxpayer over $1 Billion in a time of much needed fiscal austerity.  It should be a fascinating event.

I don’t yet know if I will take part in any demonstrations.  I do not like the way protests are portrayed in the media, and so I’d like to find out for myself.  This will be the purpose of this blog for the coming month.

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I had a great idea in the shower yesterday, and today I made the first steps to making it a reality.  I would like to see what can become of The Urban Party of Canada - a new political party I have been thinking of somehow creating.

I am terrible at sticking to things, so I doubt much will come of it.  But these ideas have to start somewhere.

You can follow or take party in the experiment at: urbanparty.tumblr.com

A Tale of Two GTAs

Comparing the regional and underground lines of Tokyo with that of Toronto is a laughable exercise.

The JR Tokyo lines service 16.8 Million passengers a day, while the Tokyo subway carries another 6.22 Million (23 million combined).  

The subway in Toronto, by comparison carries 1.5 Million riders a WEEK (averaging about 250,000/day) while GO manages 180,000/day (480,000 combined).

Of course, Toronto and its surroundiing area only has a population of 5.5 Million compared to Tokyo’s 34 Million.  However, over 67% of those living in the Tokyo area use the train on a daily bases, versus only 7.8% of those in the GTA.