CBC Digital Archives

Tight security at Toronto's 1988 G7 Summit

It began in 1975 as an exclusive intellectual retreat where leaders of the world's industrial powers could discuss common interests face to face. What is now the annual G8 economic summit has been criticized as an expensive, media-oriented display that yields few tangible accomplishments. As Canada plays host for the fifth time in 2010, CBC Digital Archives looks back at the preparations, the players and the protests when the world's wealthiest power brokers came calling in 1981, 1988, 1995 and 2002.

media clip
The threat could come from anywhere. Security has to be serious when seven of the world's most powerful leaders are about to gather in Toronto for the G7 economic summit in 1988. According to this CBC-TV report, the RCMP is keeping especially close tabs on two groups: the Japanese Red Army and the Irish Republican Army. In total, it will cost $6 million in taxpayer dollars (the equivalent of about $10 million in 2010) to keep the world leaders safe. 
• Less than four years earlier, in 1984, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and members of her cabinet were the intended targets of a bomb planted by the Irish Republican Army at a hotel in Brighton, England. Five people died when it detonated, but Thatcher and her cabinet were not harmed.
  • According to the Globe and Mail of June 18, 1988, the security measures in the downtown area at Toronto's G7 Summit included: banning unauthorized flights under 5,000 feet; removing newspaper boxes near hotels; locking public baggage lockers at the train station, and practice runs at clearing the streets for motorcades. About 700 members of the Canadian armed forces were seconded to summit security.

• Protesters clashed with security forces on the first day of the summit on June 19. After a peaceful four-hour rally, 3,000 people marched down one of the city's main avenues chanting "Arrest the G7. Arrest the real war criminals!" About 140 were arrested after attempting to climb the steel barricades sealing off the security zone.

Medium: Television
Program: The National
Broadcast Date: June 16, 1988
Guest(s): James Batt, Dick Dickins, Maurice Tugwell
Reporter: Neil MacDonald
Duration: 2:49

Last updated: April 18, 2013

Page consulted on June 5, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

The Calgary Olympics: The Winter of '88

"Everything is perfect!" That's how one IOC member described the 1988 Winter Olympics to Calga...

1971: Canada's first successful plane hijacki...

An armed gunman reroutes Air Canada jet to Cuba.

1982: First Canadian to conquer Everest

Calgary native Laurie Skreslet is the first Canadian to climb Mount Everest.

2001: Air traffic halted after four planes hi...

Following four airplane hijackings in the United States, thousands of travelers are stranded i...