Toronto G20 damage bill goes to Ottawa: mayor

Toronto's mayor says the federal government should pay for the damage to the city from weekend G20 protests.

Toronto Mayor David Miller said Monday that he's sending the bill for damages and compensation from the G20 summit to the federal government.

Police vehicles were burned, bank windows smashed and storefronts vandalized Saturday as a small band of militant protesters ran riot in the downtown core.

As the city that resembled a police state on the weekend resumed business as usual Monday, Mayor David Miller called on Ottawa to assume financial responsibility for the mess.

"This is a federal responsibility. It's their conference," Miller said at a news conference.

The mayor did not have a cost estimate of the damage, but said he felt businesses and employees deserved compensation, "and the city will be asking the federal government to do exactly that." 

After last week's exodus of workers avoiding the downtown core, the streets were full of the usual bustle on Monday. Workers could be seen replacing the smashed windows of a Queen Street West bank.

A Starbucks coffee shop that had its windows shattered on Saturday reopened just after 8 a.m. on Monday with its windows covered in plywood. 

Carl Cachero, who owns a small jewelry store not far from where the worst of the violence played out, said he was lucky to escape the weekend without any damage. But his business was still hurt by the loss of revenue,

"It's a huge loss for us, especially during the summer," said Cachero. "We get a lot of foot traffic here on Queen Street and obviously nobody could come down here on the weekend. Most of last week it was like an armed camp out here."

The mayor defended the police actions over the week, noting the exceptional circumstances. He said the offer to host the G20 meeting at the self-contained Exhibition Place would have made a lot more sense, but Ottawa turned that suggestion down.

"Whether that would have prevented people who simply wanted to come to commit violence acts I think is debatable, but it certainly would have significantly lessened the impact on downtown Toronto," said Miller.

With files from The Canadian Press and Reuters