In case you haven’t heard, the G20 Summit is coming to Toronto next week.
In my current role, I’ve been involved in some of the business continuity planning but mostly from a communication perspective. All of the heavy lifting had already been done.
The event is taking place in the heart of Toronto’s financial district. This is a part of town which is mostly made up of office buildings and is a bee hive of activity during business hours. However, on weekends it is largely a ghost town, which is why it was selected to host this event.
Most financial institutions, including all the big Canadian banks, will be invoking parts of their business continuity plans next week. While the Summit will only be taking place on the weekend, widespread protests are expected all week-long with crowds building throughout the week.
Fences have been erected throughout the area to keep cars out of the zone where world leaders, including President Obama will be. It is odd and slightly unpleasant to see these on the streets. It’s as if an Indy race is in town but it feels a bit darker than that. Thankfully, they are not concrete or covered in German graffiti.
I Tweeted earlier this week that I predict G-2-O will be the next Y-2-K. A lot of planning and preparation (and cost) has taken place but it will be largely a non-event. I am sure some protests will get out of hand (there are always crazies and anarchists), traffic disrupted (there is always traffic), some windows will be broken and profanity spray painted on walls, but I do not imagine madness will ensue. At least not in front of my building – which is just outside the fences.
One concern people have is that they may get into work those days but may not be able to exit the building or get home. I would be shocked (shocked I tells ya) if protestors armed with torches and pitchforks had organized some human chain and tenants were unable to exit. I think you can easily mitigate that by dressing like a bike courier and looking like a protestor yourself. (I am getting fake tattoos and body piercings!)
Like all risks, you can accept them or treat them. I am taking the accept approach and coming in every day so long as my commuter train gets me there.
It will certainly be interesting times and I am sort of looking forward to seeing how it plays out.
Follow me on twitter.com/riskczar for updates (if there are any) and photos all next week.