I love Toronto. I was born in Toronto General about 25 years ago, in the same wing my Dad was born in. I moved around most of my life - Stratford, Waterloo, New Brunswick, Spain, Italy and China, but Toronto has always been home. I love this city - I love the diversity, the food, the people, the Zoo - I love it all. Sure it has it's flaws, but this is my home. When I found out the G20 was going to be held in Toronto I was a bit worried. I didn't think it was a good idea to have it here - the history of protests turning violent, or ransacking I didn't want near me. I thought it would be better to have it somewhere else - anywhere else. But, I didn't do what a lot of people did, I stayed in Toronto. Partially because I was working a ballet recital, partially because I wanted to believe that we were better then this.
Turns out, we aren't.
There were some wonderful protests in Toronto:
The WWF had an amazing piece of protest art - heartbreakingly poignant, intelligent and telling.
The Raging Grannies came out to protest for the future of their grandchildren
And all of this, somehow turned into:
And in the above instants, everything every peaceful protester was working for was lost.
So I wanted to put this out there. First off, to the World: I'm sorry this is something that you now associate with Toronto. To echo our Mayor David Miller "They are not welcome in this city." This is not who we are, and to those on the outside, I promise you that the majority of us in Toronto are horrified, saddened and sickened that this has happened, and is happening in our city. This is not who we are, this is not what we stand for and this is not what we believe in.
To the police from across Canada who are in Toronto right now. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I don't believe every decision you have made was the right decision, but I do believe you have done the best you could, in an impossible situation. I know you are human too, and I know that none of you came here with the intention to hurt innocent bystanders.
I know that every side has their bias, but I also know that just as not all protesters were violent, I know that not all police are bullies and thugs, beating and arresting people at will. Many of you showed great restraint, just as many of the protesters wanted nothing to do with the violence, neither did you. You have done an amazing job, and please, come back and visit one day, when all of this is over so we can show you everything wonderful our city has to offer. Al, from the Cape Breaton Police Force, if you're in Toronto again look me up, I promise I will show you and all of your friends how great our city can be.
To the criminals who turned a great opportunity for dialogue and protest into something horrible: Get the hell out of my city.
To the protesters who haven't been heard: What you have to say is important, and I truly hope what you have to say can soon be not only heard, but also listened to.