The federal government will hold June’s G20 summit on the edge of Toronto’s financial district, a decision that will close a large swath of downtown — and sideline baseball fans — as the city kicks off gay pride week.
An official announcement is not expected for a few weeks, but sources tell The Canadian Press the Metro Toronto Convention Centre has been selected over locations outside downtown.
Canada has already hosted a G8 summit and other international meetings in the building. Plus, it gives the government a chance to put the spotlight on its stable financial district — safe and quiet within a security perimeter — at a time when G20 leaders are looking for role models.
“The whole point is to showcase Canada as an attractive place to do business and the way we regulate our banking sector,” said Andrew MacDougall, a spokesman for the prime minister.
The June 26-27 summit is expected to involve tens of thousands of people from delegations all over the world, along with media, support staff and hospitality crews. It’s also sure to attract thousands of protesters, as well as non-governmental organizations and trade unions.
But the G20 summit will displace far more people than it draws in.
The Toronto Blue Jays are scheduled to play against the Philadelphia Phillies on June 26 and 27 in Toronto. The Rogers Centre, where the games are normally held, is virtually next door to the Convention Centre, and will almost certainly be encompassed in the security zone that is set up to protect world leaders at summits. So discussions are underway to move at least one of the games, sources said.
The Gay Pride Parade, which usually draws over a million visitors from around the world, has already been pushed back a week. Activities will start just before the summit, on June 25, and build up to a parade on July 4.