This is Not My City

A view through the fence. (Ryan Coleman)

By Heather Morrison, G20 citizen blogger

heather52.jpgSince the security fence went up around the G20 summit zone, many pictures have surfaced to provide a taste of reality to those living outside of Toronto's core. Today, I came across Ryan Coleman's G20 photo essay on Flickr, entitled This Is Not My City. His pictures really capture the mood of the security zone, highlighting the abrasive fencing, concrete dividers and swarms of police units serving to divide Torontonians from Toronto. When asked what compelled him to put together a photo essay of this nature, he explained, "I've always loved walking in and around Toronto taking photos and have always enjoyed the vibe the city has. When I came downtown last week I was shocked at just how much the tone of the city had changed -- it really made me sad. It wasn't the Toronto I knew, thus the name Not My City."

Toronto is definitely a great walk and wander city, a city where you can head out your front door in any direction, uncovering new people and places. I have always loved pounding Toronto's pavement in search of new ways to fill or waste my time. The week ahead will likely make this impossible. The inviting vibe of our city streets will be painted over with "No Entry" signs and defensive lines of security personnel. It is definitely not our city!

"As I walked behind the fence it struck me how everyone on the other side of the street now seemed so far away and isolated," Coleman says. "For me it evoked a sense of looking into a prison yard, with the residents of Toronto confined in their own city. I tried to capture that feeling in my shots."

True, it's only for a week, and yes, the security measures are necessary when you consider how many world leaders will be in attendance, however, I think these photos make you ask the question: "Why in our city?" Why not outside of the city centre or in a pre-built secure zone such as Exhibition Place?

Torontonians, how do you feel?

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