Sunday, June 27, 2010

Toronto G20 Summit June 24-28

First trip to Toronto, which reminds me of somewhere else except I can't think where that is.

Am up here for the G20 summit -- not with Hillary this time, but to handle "political" news out of what is supposed to be primarily an economic summit. We're staying at the Hilton downtown, which is nice -- except the security clampdown has made the place into a ghost town. We shuttle to the "Direct Energy Center", the cavernous convention hall where the media center is, in vans driven by nice guys from Minnesota who work for some division of Thomsonreuters I've never heard of.

We were given a security briefing at the start of the thing, which included advice not to sit in front of windows at restaurants because rocks might get hurled at you. But despite a bit of protest action ("protesters emerging from sewers"!) there doesn't seem to have been too much to be afraid of. I wrote a quick piece on this, talking about the decline of mass protest at these kind of summits. It will probably turn out to be wrong but here it is.

Otherwise it has been a lot of waiting in the Reuters room at the press center, tying stuff together from other reporters. The G8 ended up saying some stuff about North Korea but none of it was terribly exciting.

The Canadians have done a pretty good job I think. The picture is the infamous "Fake Lake" that they installed in the press center at huge cost. It is supposed to transport you to "Cottage Country" north of Toronto, but people just go stare at it and then walk away...

They are feeding us pretty well. It must be a huge operation to feed this many journalists, but they've managed lunch and dinner every day. Impressive!