G20 swag

swag-bag-g20-584.jpg(Amber Hildebrandt/CBC)

By Amber Hildebrandt, CBC News

amber-hilderbrandt-52.jpgEven before I opened the bright red shoulder bag, I was prepared to find humour in it.

A minute before I picked up the media swag bag, the journalist in front of me in the accreditation line at the Allstream Centre had guffawed loudly as he peered in.

"Something's funny!" joked the official handing out the laminated press passes. "I hope you enjoy it as much,"

It was, no doubt, the stereotypically Canadian mini-bottle of maple syrup nestled below a thicket of booklets and brochures that sparked his laugh.

The maple leaf-shaped bottle was, of course, from an Ontario company, Matthews Maple Syrup, up in Powassan, in the northern part of the province. A company that prominently displays its greening efforts, nonetheless.

Unfortunately, my bottle suffered a sad fate -- slipping from my hands and smashing onto the pavement as I got on my bicycle.

As for the other items in the bag, there were:

  • Commemorative pins and pens for both summits.
  • A metal water bottle stamped with Canada 2010 Summits.
  • A notepad.
  • City of Toronto postcards.
  • A Toronto Transit Commission booklet (complete with a one-week transit pass) and a TTC map.
  • A wallet-sized Tourism Toronto map.
  • A Tourism Toronto magazine, with a helpful sticker on the front for a 24-hour media line.

Is it too much? Or is it perhaps more useful than the so-called fake lake - which is part of $1.9-million tourism pavilion revealed today at the summit media centre - in securing coverage of Toronto as a tourist destination?