Toronto braces for G20 summit as media people pour in

17:33, June 24, 2010      

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With the fourth G20 summit around the corner, Toronto, the largest city of Canada, has fully geared up for the big event which some locals expect to bring more global exposure but others blame for being too costly and inconvenient.

"G20 summit in Toronto 26-27. Prepare for significant delays," reads a message to drivers posted on a large overhead electronic billboard on the expressway linking the Pearson International Airport to downtown Toronto.

Motorcades spearheaded by police motorbikes and carrying unknown VIPs cruised through the thoroughfares from time to time, while entry ramps to some main roads are blocked by police vehicles, forcing drivers to detour.

"I've never seen so many policemen on city streets before, and I heard they spent a lot of money buying hundreds of new patrol cars just for the summit," said a local chartered van driver who didn't want to be identified, as he carefully steered his vehicle around a pile of horse excrement obviously left by some passing mounted police unit at an intersection.

The cost of the summit, the fourth of its kind since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008, is expected to reach some 2 billion Canadian dollars (one Canadian dollar = 0.96 U.S. dollars), far exceeding the original budget of over 100 million Canadian dollars. More than half of it will be spent on security measures.

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