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A Better Look Inside the G20 Prisoner Processing Centre

Earlier this afternoon, representatives of the Toronto Police Service led media on a guided tour of the prisoner processing centre at the Toronto Film Studios on Eastern Avenue, which was set up to temporarily house arrestees during the G20 summit. Michael Farrar, unit commander for the processing centre, said that of the roughly one thousand prisoners housed in the makeshift jail since the start of the summit, about seven hundred were released without charges. The remaining two to three hundred were charged with crimes.
Returning peace and order to Toronto’s streets, said Farrar, was “the number one purpose for most of the arrests.”
The majority of those who were brought to the processing centre had been arrested for what’s known as “breach of the peace,” which means their actions had been deemed disruptive to “the queen’s peace.” Breach-of-peace isn’t a criminal charge; this is why so many G20 arrestees were released with no charges after being held by police (in some cases for over twenty-four hours).
The sprawling facility takes up the better part of two soundstages, each about the size of an aircraft hangar. Staff Superintendent Jeff McGuire, who was on hand to field media questions, repeatedly said that he would “not dispute” allegations by prisoners of temporary discomfort (lack of water, bad food, overcrowding, and inability to make phone calls being some of the more common complaints), but he maintains that police upheld the law at all times, and did their best to see to the needs of those they detained.
“We’re responsible for the care of all custodies,” said Farrar.
“This is not some dictatorship. This is Canada.”
Check back later this week for our comprehensive photo essay on the interior of the G20 detention centre.
Photos by Michael Chrisman/Torontoist.


  • http://undefined DJ

    The “queen’s” peace? Seriously? We’re nearly 150 years old. Can we please dispense with the monarchy already?
    Thanks for the update and pictures.

  • http://undefined Harry

    “This is not some dictatorship. This is Canada.”
    Seriously? Germany under Hitler in the mid 30s wasn’t a dictatorship. It was Germany. Not many people realized what happened until it happened. Have we not learned from history? Statements like these are moot.

  • http://undefined Paolo

    That sandwich looks fucking disgusting. I would rather have starved to death.
    And to the monarchy haters, the only reason I tolerate her is because I refuse to say the words ”President. Stephen. Harper.’

  • http://undefined CaligulaJones

    Oh, yeah. Except for places like Dachau. Oh, and the political murders. Kristalnacht was pretty “dictatorshippy”. Night of the Long Knives wasn’t exactly a sing-a-long.
    I could go on, but I think someone who doesn’t understand “moot”, or, “history” won’t get the point anyway.
    If we lived in a true police state the jails, temporary as they are, would be full of the Naomi Kleins, Maude Barlows and Judy Rebicks of the left. Not to mention the Michael Ignatieffs and Jack Laytons. I don’t think dictatorships were built on putting a relatively few politically naive teens and twenty somethings in a hoosegow that doesn’t look much different than some hostels I’ve paid to stay in.
    Oh, and they’d still be stuffing people into such facilities…I guess all the fantasists kinda forget that.

  • accozzaglia

    As a basic sandwich, it looks OK to me.
    But go ahead. Starve to death. Speaking from experience, it takes way more than a week and a half. Apparently it can take several weeks.
    This isn’t a comment on incarceration conditions. It’s a comment on your melodrama. You trivialize squalid incarceration conditions found all over the world. If that sandwich looks so disgusting, then I hope you never experience what it’s like to be faced with eating that, because there’s a whole lot worse.

  • little_potato

    Sure, returning the peace eh. The only disruption to peace on Sunday was the arrests, which the police instigated.
    Between the official police statements and the eyewitness reports, I’ll believe the latter. This whole thing makes Canada look like another country whose name starts also with C and ends with a.

  • http://undefined Bicyclist

    Hello class action suit, Chief Blair and Toronto Police Force- for the Novotel and Queen and Spadina arrests…unfortunately, this suit will only add to the ludicrous cost of the Summits, but you made this lawsuit necessary.

  • thelemur

    Since the Queen happens to be in the country, can we ask her whether her peace was in fact breached?

  • accozzaglia

    “Oh heavens. What did my son do now?”

  • http://undefined rek


  • http://undefined thelemur

    China? Cuba?

  • accozzaglia

    Crimea?* ;)
    * you didn’t specify present- or past-tense.

  • http://undefined thelemur


  • http://undefined little_potato

    Bring them on. Or maybe this could be what CSIS means by foreign sway!

  • accozzaglia

    Costa Rica? Croatia?

  • http://undefined Edmund

    “And which one was it this time?”

  • accozzaglia

    CSIS have their own Pressure Sway of doing things.

  • http://undefined friend68

    I’m rather incensed that anyone would say something so insensitive and thoughtless about such a perfectly good-looking sandwich. It’s the white bread, isn’t it?

  • http://undefined thelemur

    Caledonia (old or New, the choice is yours)?

  • little_potato

    Sunday was the 4th last day in June. This is such a coincidence. Or maybe they have planned this all along and timed the arbitrary arrests to send a not-so-secret message.

  • accozzaglia


  • little_potato

    TTC staff arrested for going to work. This gets more and more ridiculous. The police were the real thugs last weekend.