Riverdale Park

Morning Brew: the latest G20 news, tent city outside MuchMusic put to an end by police, Toronto welcomes the 2010 World Cup and Luminato Festival, a Turkey Vulture in Leslieville

Q: What's more annoying than the G20 coming to Toronto? A: Having to read the endless descriptions of just how f&*%ed up everything is going to be during the summit.

But, alas, I can't resist giving the daily update. Although there'll be 5,000+ police officers patrolling downtown Toronto, the latest news is that they'll only use sound cannons to deter protesters if "extreme emergency situations" arise. And, even then, Police Chief Bil Blair says they'll use the device at least 75 metres away from the crowd and at two thirds of its 150 decibel capacity.

But for those of you who weren't planning to protest -- and who thus don't care about this promise of restraint -- you'll be unhappy to know that traffic around the GTA is going to be a complete nightmare leading up to and during the event. Rolling 15-45 minute closures will take place on the 401, 427, QEW and the Gardiner Expressway between June 24 to 27 as delegates are brought to and from the airport. Oh, and if you're planning on fleeing town that weekend, that might be tough if you don't already have a vehicle. Numerous car rental locations are sold out as the RCMP has booked all the minivans and SUVs it could get its hands on.

I'm not sure if the police spoiled the fun or saved the asses (literally) of all the teenagers who were lined up outside of MuchMusic yesterday waiting for the chance to attend the MMVAs (the station's video awards). With complaints mounting and the threat of rain in the forecast, the authorities pulled the plug on the former music station's plan to distribute wristbands at 8 a.m. this morning. Recipients of wristbands will still be determined based on the queue that had formed at Queen and John streets, but the spectacle of kids sleeping in tents has been brought to an end.

Are you a fan of Luminato, Toronto's 10-day arts festival that got underway yesterday? If so, the Globe's extended feature on its chair, Tony Gagliano, will make for a good read. The CEO of St. Joseph Communications, Gagliano is a complicated figure who resists easy categorization -- and, perhaps surprisingly, is just the type of person you want at the helm of an arts-based event like Luminato.

With the weather not looking so nice today, I suspect that Luminato hopping will, however, take a backseat to the other major news event of the week: the 2010 World Cup. With three matches on today's schedule, a day at the pub might just be the perfect antidote to G20 concerns. To help navigate the city's many options for collective watching, here's a helpful guide.

And lastly, I was somewhat surprised to hear that a Turkey Vulture has taken up residence in Leslieville. Although common at our latitude throughout the summer months, these vultures tend to occupy only rural areas (you'll see lots of them in cottage country). This little local interest story reminded me of one of the craziest things that I've ever seen in Toronto. Walking around U of T in the fall of 2007, I happened to notice that the sky above Varsity Stadium was full of these thermal-riding birds. At the outset of their migration south, they nevertheless appeared to be drawing huge circles across the downtown core. I'm not ashamed to admit that the whole thing was rather scary.

Photo: "Riverdale Park" by Smedilpotski, member of the blogTO Flickr pool.


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