The economic impact of the G20, for the little guy (and gal)

I keep humming "Don't Fence Me In"

I live a little north and a little east of Toronto’s downtown. Right now, Toronto’s downtown doesn’t look like it normally looks. Last Wednesday I was meeting a colleague for a business lunch. As I came out of Union Station, I had to pause for a moment and remember where I was. Frankly, I felt like I was in another country. Fences, cops, confusion. (Ok, the confusion is normal).

Just outside Union Station I hailed a cab. When I told him my destination he said “hmmm, how am I going to get there?”  Being ever helpful I advised him where it was. To which he said “oh I know Miss, it’s the fences!”  Right, the fences.

As we spoke I felt sorry for the cabbies. Sure, I’ve cursed my share of them, but they’re just folks, most of them really decent folks, who are trying to make a living and support their families. “What have you guys been advised to do on the Saturday and Sunday of the G20?” I asked him. He threw up his hands and said “I dunno, I dunno how we can make a living and pay the mortgage when you can’t drive in the area that pays the mortgage on the busiest two nights of the week.” Wow, that’s rough.

This was a week ago, the police presence is MUCH heavier now

Although I haven’t seen it with my own eyes this week, a neighbor who works downtown confirms it’s a ghost town down there. There’s not even a line-up at Starbucks in the financial district! The cabbies won’t have any drunken patrons to bring home from the clubs because nobody will be going to the clubs this weekend. Imagine the loss to business? Right in the core of the city!

I was told two weeks ago not to go to my Saturday morning shift for my part-time gig. While the location isn’t right inside the red zone, as they call it, it’s close enough that people would have to go through it to get there. It simply isn’t happening. My financial loss, about $35. The cabbies and businesses are much worse off.

For the next few days, I’ll be pretty picky about where the girls and I go. We’ll stick around here I think. I should be going up to the rental to finish off some of the items on the “to do” list, but I dare not go on the highway this weekend. There will be lane reductions, and just generally too much to deal with.  My mother even called and suggested we get together. I normally don’t say no to Mom, but this time I told her it wasn’t a great idea.

As it is, a nice fella is coming to have dinner with me on Sunday. I think it’s a date. I reminded him he’d have to navigate some serious traffic disruption in order to get to me. He seems to think it’s not a problem.

From my vantage point a little north east of the action, I’ll be content to watch the drama unfold on TV. Meanwhile, I’ll be thankful that my financial impact isn’t significant, and just lick my wounds as a taxpayer, and hope my portion of that billion dollars in security has already been paid.


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