Reporting from the fake lake

The CBC's Rosemary Barton at the fake lake. (CBC)

By Rosemary Barton, CBC News

sbarton-rosemary-52.jpgThere were many times during the G20 that I didn't feel like I was in Toronto at all.

And not because of the violence on the streets or the police on every corner (although that didn't help), but rather because I was stuck in the Direct Energy media centre for most of the summits.

Up at the crack of dawn and into a cab with no traffic on the streets and then off to a large arena full of international reporters.

There was a reporter "feeding" schedule, a latte bar and, the now infamous "fake lake."

The work was hard, the content sometimes dense and yet, I came nowhere near any of the leaders doing any of the actual work.

No wait, that's wrong, I did manage to get about 10 metres away from French President Nicolas Sarkozy when he decided to upstage Stephen Harper by holding his press conference first, on the last day of the summit.

What I will remember though, is when the streets turned violent and the frustration of being a reporter stuck inside and wanting to go cover the story.

As I remained glued to the screen, I would occasionally hear cheering and yelling. Turns out most of the international media were not so interested in the cars on fire in downtown Toronto, they were watching World Cup soccer games.

On Saturday, I eventually did get out. But not much closer to the story. I was inside the security perimeter and just outside the CBC and I felt as though I were a ghost town with the exception of the odd siren heard from afar.

After all that, did the summits accomplish anything? On paper: certainly. In practice: that's a story for six months from now.