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The Fourteen Essential G20 Videos

Photo by Christopher Drost/Torontoist.

It’s been days now since the G20 ended, and the details and extent of what actually happened across downtown Toronto over the weekend—on Saturday, along Queen and King and Yonge streets and at Queen’s Park; on Sunday night, at Queen and Spadina; throughout the weekend, at the temporary detention centre on Eastern Avenue; and just about everywhere else—are still unfolding.
It helps, though, that video evidence is everywhere, shot by everyone from aspiring directors to pedestrians with cell phone cameras to professionally trained videographers. Here are the fourteen G20 videos that we’ve been able to find, or that have been sent to us, that we think are the most important ones for everyone in Toronto to see.


WHAT IT’S OF: The police car attacked and set ablaze on Saturday afternoon at King and Bay.
WHO SHOT IT: Ryan Walker/Torontoist.
KEY MOMENT: The whole thing, but especially after 0:34, when Walker gets out into the street.


WHAT IT’S OF: Some of the most dramatic action from Saturday, in a video that is (unlike many of the others included here) more heavily edited.
WHO SHOT IT: Miguel Barbosa of YEAH! Films, who also shot more peaceful protests over the weekend.
KEY MOMENT: 0:42, when black-clad rioters surround and start to attack a police car at Queen and Spadina, with a police officer still inside, and other officers rush in to help.


WHAT IT’S OF: Looters, Black Bloc–ers, protesters, pedestrians, cyclists, and media making their way up Yonge Street on Saturday, in ten minutes of unedited footage. As others who watched similar looting elsewhere have pointed out, there were no visible police.
WHO SHOT IT: A CTV cameraman.
KEY MOMENT: The whole thing, but especially everything that comes after 2:00.


WHAT IT’S OF: One man tackles a looter, on Yonge south of College on Saturday, about as politely as anyone can. [UPDATE, JULY 1, 5:05 PM: The man who tackles the looter is Roger Reis, a banker who also happens to have a black belt.]
WHO SHOT IT: Writer/director Corey Surge, whom we interviewed about the video on Tuesday. Surge tracked the mob throughout the afternoon.
KEY MOMENT: The whole seventeen second–long thing.


WHAT IT’S OF: Police officers alongside their bikes, advancing on a crowd of people sitting down in the median just south of Queen’s Park, on Saturday.
WHO SHOT IT: YouTube user Jehsin.
KEY MOMENT: 0:50, when the officers, batons at ready, march south into those sitting.


WHAT IT’S OF: Two men doing an impromptu strip-tease in front of a line of police officers on Saturday, as the crowd chants “you’re sexy, you’re cute, take off your riot suit.”
WHO SHOT IT: YouTube user tomekbuga.
KEY MOMENT: All of it. What’s important to glean from it is that the tone of most demonstrations were not anything like those that drew the most attention. Violent protests were still the exception, not the rule, this weekend, as another video from Saturday, by the Toronto Video Activist Collective, or TVAC, demonstrates.


WHAT IT’S OF: Steve Paikin, host of The Agenda on TVO, explaining what he saw first-hand (and tweeted about) on Saturday night at the Novotel Hotel protest.
WHO SHOT IT: The Real News Network.
KEY MOMENT: 6:43, when Paikin describes the apparent assault of Guardian journalist Jesse Rosenfeld by a police officer. Rosenfeld was arrested and charged with “breaching the peace.”


WHAT IT’S OF: Police confronting, and as Global puts it, “fir[ing] blasts,” apparently smoke canisters, into a group outside the temporary detention centre at 629 Eastern Avenue on Sunday morning.
WHO SHOT IT: A Global News videographer.
KEY MOMENT: The whole thing.

9 & 10

WHAT IT’S OF: On Sunday, outside the Eaton Centre, an older man carrying a cart and a small megaphone sings a song he’s written about Toronto (to the tune of “This Land is Your Land”), and gives an interview explaining that he’s trying to create a “calming effect,” and that he served in the Canadian Armed Forces and just wants to make sure that “nothing happens to any one [of Toronto's citizens].”
WHO SHOT IT: AM640 reporter Adele Newton.
KEY MOMENT: Both videos, in their entirety.


WHAT IT’S OF: In what has become for many in Toronto—and around the world—the iconic moment of the weekend, police charge into an apparently peaceful crowd who had just finished singing “O Canada” at Queen and Spadina on Sunday night.
WHO SHOT IT: Ryan Walker/Torontoist. Two other perspectives on the scene: one from Meghann Millard, who watched from above (a full ten minute–long version is here; a shorter one, showing just the anthem and charge, is here); and another from YouTube user atomcatt, who was on the ground below.
KEY MOMENT: The whole thing.


WHAT IT’S OF: What it was like inside the kettle at Queen and Spadina on Sunday, as it closed.
WHO SHOT IT: Jason MacDonald, a CTV viewer who was later arrested and taken to the detention centre. Justin Stayshyn (who was later detained at the intersection) shot another video nearby.
KEY MOMENT: 3:05, when the line of police moves to approach the crowd.


WHAT IT’S OF: Of the many allegations made about conditions inside the G20′s temporary detention centre at 629 Eastern Avenue, those from Amy Miller, an independent journalist detained there, are the most serious—she was told, she says, that she was “going to be raped”; she says she witnessed strip searches of women by male officers; and she also heard at least one allegation of sexual assault. Miller has filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director and is, along with Jesse Rosenfeld, now represented by Julian Falconer.
WHO SHOT IT: Vimeo user Darren Puscas.
KEY MOMENT: The whole thing.


WHAT IT’S OF: Mayor David Miller’s Monday morning press conference (in two parts). Miller praised the actions of Toronto Police and did not call an inquiry into the weekend’s events.
WHO SHOT IT: Global News.
KEY MOMENT: Probably 2:00 in, when Miller says that “Toronto will be getting back to normal,” encouraging Torontonians to go to see the Tall Ships in Lake Ontario as part of the Toronto Waterfront Festival, as well as the Jazz Festival at Nathan Phillips Square. Toronto would soon after go to Nathan Phillips Square, but not for the reasons Miller asked them to.

Torontoist’s complete, continuing G20 coverage is collected here, including photos from Saturday and Sunday, and live coverage Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.


  • accozzaglia

    Jim McMillen is my new hero. He has just brought bursting tears to my eyes. His public act of participation does this whole city the greatest honour one can bestow.

  • accozzaglia

    The Unspace Interactive footage of “O Canada” on Queen St. was by far the most compelling of the three videos I’ve seen so far. That should be on this list of essential videos, either as complement to Ryan Walker’s incomplete video or as a standalone.

  • David Topping

    Meghann Millard’s video from Unspace’s offices—including a ten minute–long version—is already linked directly below Ryan’s.

  • accozzaglia

    And while I’m already aware there was a URL buried underneath the Ryan Walker video, I am referring to embedding the video right underneath his. Just for clarification, that’s all.

  • accozzaglia

    I understand that Ryan’s already in your stables, David, but the 1:34 version of Meghann Millard’s video ought to be alongside his, given how his was truncated and kind of missed part of the scene.

  • http://undefined munzz

    Here’s my version of the O Canada incident on Queen and Spadina.
    I’ll never forget the disproportionate response of the Canadian police towards a bunch of peaceful citizens singing our beloved national anthem.

  • http://undefined John

    In the “kettling” video, OPP badges are clearly visible, including on the cop who cut open the videographer’s face with his shield. Can’t see any Toronto Police Services badges. Who was in charge of this operation? Was it Fantino?

  • Dry Brain

    Seeing the O Canada video from the rooftop was bad enough, but seeing it from the ground makes clear just how profoundly peaceful and totally non-threatening this crowd was. What an unbelievably violent, bullying tactic. I’m actually shaking a bit in anger right now.

  • http://undefined Martin

    On my phone so can’t tell if the Global National video referenced is the one, but at 2:00, a Toronto Polic Sergeant can be heard, then seen dry-discharging his Taser at people in attempt to get them to retreat.
    Important to note: the people in question have no weapons, are not acting in a threatening manner. There is no justification for the officer to draw and deploy his taser.

  • http://undefined Maryam

    Re: the video at top (and others) — I wish all the camera-happy people would’ve stopped shooting for a second and stopped someone from graffitiing, or stupidly smashing in a window.

  • accozzaglia

    That’s asking a very tall order from the social meeeee-dia generation, you know. Everyone’s a photojournalist now.

  • http://undefined canuck1975

    Wait, no Eaton Centre WHY ARE YOU CLOSED guy?
    FYI, this would be the one:

  • rek

    This one claims that the man seen climbing on top of the cruiser is a police agent provocateur (same backpack as police, according to the description below the video), which is worth investigating. It also clearly shows there were protesters who visibly/vocally disapproved of the destruction as it was happening.
    (I was there at the time and shot video overlapping this, starting earlier and ending shortly after the “how is this helping us?” starts. In another video I shot, the masked smashers try to flip the car but another protester talks them out of it.)

  • http://undefined Eric26

    Most people weren’t too keen on stopping those people, camera or not. That would be the job of the police. If you get involved you risk being attacked by the vandals, the police or both.

  • http://undefined juliegyatso

    Why is there NEVER EVER any coverage of the peaceful protests that went on? I was at Queen’s Park on Saturday and there were many great images that actually might have informed people as to why people were protesting in the first place. Why can’t the press cover that, and in not doing so how are they complicit in the ongoing violence, and ongoing ignorance of the issues. More peaceful and informative coverage please!

  • http://undefined rek

    There were at least two reporters at the peaceful-turned-brutal protest in front of Novotel. There were reporters from CTV, La Presse, Global, and probably others, at the peaceful-turned-kettled quasi-protest at Spadina & Queen on Sunday. So even when they tried to cover the peaceful stuff, it was for nought because the police had other things in mind.
    I’m not good with the youtubes, but I have video of peaceful drumming and marching at Spadina and Adelaide, and Bay and Adelaide.
    CP24 went live at the peaceful protest on Monday, does that count for anything?

  • http://undefined warmflash

    It’s no wonder the rest of Canada hates Toronto. This was hardly a riot.
    For a real riot see below.
    The 1992 Los Angeles Riots were sparked on April 29, 1992, when a jury acquitted four Los Angeles Police Department officers accused in the videotaped beating of African-American motorist Rodney King following a high-speed pursuit.
    Thousands of people in the Los Angeles area rioted over the six days following the verdict. At that time, similar, smaller riots and anti-police actions took place in other locations in the United States and Canada.
    Widespread looting, assault, arson and murder occurred, and property damages topped roughly US$1 billion.
    In all, 53 people died during the riots and thousands more were injured.
    Now that, is a real riot.

  • http://undefined editor66

    So would your point be that Toronto doesn’t know how to throw a proper riot?

  • http://undefined warmflash


  • http://undefined lianimal

    In the “looter gets owned” video of the guy tackling the Bell Canada store looter, I do believe he makes an appearance in unedited CTV footage at between 6 to 7 minutes in…

  • http://undefined s’rose

    The last few minutes of Jason MacDonald’s video of the kettle at Spadina, when police rush into the crowd, and violently grab people, with his sister crying, asking where he is, what is going on is overwhelming.
    Blair says ‘they have videos’. Well, so do we.

  • accozzaglia

    You know, that has to be the most pathetic reason to say “no wonder the rest of Canada hates Toronto” I think I’ve heard all year. I see you’re in Toronto, warmflash, but this is still a poor analogy to put on the table. If you want a proper analogy from the U.S., use Seattle in 1999.
    A riot is a riot is a riot. There is no “real” or “fake” riot — unless the latter is some deliberate sketch comedy by Second City or Upright Citizens Brigade. ‘Riot’ embodies something specific: “a violent disturbance of the peace by a crowd,” per Oxford. Whether or not anyone died last weekend is not the sole point why riots are relevant to address. Often they relate to how things were before and after the event.
    In Montréal, we’ve had the Richard Riot of 1955. No fatalities, but historically relevant to the emergence of the Quiet Revolution. We’ve had the Winnipeg Bloody Saturday Riot of 1919. “Just” two fatalities, but significant changes to labour practices came from it, as well as the emergence of a certain J.S. Woodsworth, founder of the CCF. The list of riots are exhaustive, including our own Christie Pits Riot of 1933.
    What I genuinely believe may come from this past weekend is finally a coherent sense of who we are as a city, defining for the first time who we are as Torontonians (and for the first time not defining ourselves by who we aren’t), and finding where our place within this nation resides. The more I ponder why “the rest of Canada hates Toronto,” the more I think this has more to do with them, not us. This means — you got it — it’s not “all about Toronto.”
    This hate-on is a snowball which has been rolling and building for a long time, and eventually it will start to break itself up from becoming too ill-defined, too large, and too unstable. If for example Americans hated their primate eastern cities of New York and Chicago, then imagine what kind of a place either would have become. Sure, southerners detest New York City, but then again, where is the U.S.’s laughingstock? South of Mason-Dixon.
    For Montréal, I think they hate Toronto in part because their own push for the Assemblée nationale du Québec to enact Bill 101 sent a huge chunk of their economic engine packing for Toronto, and symbolically they hate how Toronto is now the top dog they were — that is, so long as Québec remains a part of Canada. They also symbolically associate “anglophone Canada” with Toronto, even though the proportion of English-only speakers out west and in the Maritimes is greater. I think the “West” hates Toronto, because they ascribe anti-Western political activity originating from the federal level in Ottawa to the easiest economic target in this corner of the world: Toronto and Montréal. The hated National Energy Policy Truedau pulled in 1980 was an “East spiting West” moment orchestrated by a Montréaler.
    Thing is, Toronto is an older city than anything out west, and consequently is further along in its own linkages with other cities and economies. Politically, the number of seats out east are disproportionately higher than the west, and again, this has more to do with the federal level than anything Toronto did. It’s not necessarily any guarantee that Toronto will remain the primate city. Maybe it’ll end up that Vancouver or Calgary take over one say. If so, so be it.
    I mean, seriously. It’s so absurd to hate the Toronto Maple Leafs (always an easy target) when, my god, they haven’t been a threat to any other Canadian team in decades. It’s absurd to hate Toronto because more immigrants settle here than the other two primate cities of Vancouver and Montréal. It’s absurd to hate Toronto because its economy is more diversified beyond a resource (Alberta) or manufacturing (Québec) base. It’s absurd to hate Toronto when generally speaking, Toronto and Torontonians leave the other cities alone.
    This should not have to end up as a rant, but there comes a point where Torontonians — whether born and raised, or arrived later — have been too “nice” about not fending for ourselves when the “let’s hate Toronto” card is dealt. Guess what, Canada? We don’t hate you.
    In some sense, Harper’s decision to stick the G20 here came from Ottawa (the same federal level loathed by the West and to different extent by Québec separatists), and that decision came from the desk of a PMO whose adopted home is out in the West (born in Toronto!). Toronto’s lack of veto power through this whole mess is what sent last weekend to the history books, and I genuinely believe the start of a respected Toronto — respect from ourselves and respect emerging slowly from elsewhere — is now underway. By surviving the G20, we sort of took one for the Canadian team, because let’s face it: we all know that no city really wants to host one of these.
    Dear other places in Canada: all that energy you waste on hating Toronto could be better used on loving something else. So why don’t you?

  • http://undefined bunnyhero

    i agree with accozzaglia. meghann’s video is much better & should be embedded too.

  • http://undefined bunnyhero

    also, if you really wanted to include “the iconic moment,” it is meghann’s video that has had over 300,000 views on youtube, was tweeted by roger ebert, etc etc. omitting it and only embedding your staffer’s video seems a bit self-serving.

  • accozzaglia

    Thank you! I wasn’t going to say that myself, because it seemed a little Captain Obvious coming from me.
    Have an awesome Canada Day. :)

  • http://undefined DJ

    I still can’t watch footage of the O Canada incident without getting shaky. Witnessing it firsthand was bad enough.
    I had no idea how terrifying an experience it could be.

  • rek

    You can be sure of violent rioting in Seoul at the next G20 summit.

  • accozzaglia

    About the only places where rioting can be suppressed are when these (and WTO meetings) are held in physically remote cities (Iqaluit) or where civil suppression (Doha, Qatar) is an assurance.
    Seoul does not fit these moulds, so probably so.

  • http://undefined DaveDaveDave

    What I find interesting about this video is the fact that latter that night, Blair stated none of his officers weren’t using rubber bullets. Did he not know what his officers were doing in the field?

  • accozzaglia

    Technically (as much as I want to see him resign and apologize), he could be correct: this police force we saw over last weekend wasn’t the TPS, per se.
    It was the TPS as part of the federal ISU temporary force which included among others the Canadian Forces, OPP, RCMP, SPVM (and other municipal police forces), and extra-regional forces (like the preponderance of Peel Regional Police seen throughout town). The rubber bullets may very well have come from personnel in any of these forces. I suspect in the end that will be confirmed.
    That said, new checks and balances over the TPS by citizens needs to happen, and the unilateral leverage of the TPS has to stop. They have to realize that they are accountable to us first and foremost, the citizens who pay their salary — not to the police union.

  • accozzaglia


  • rek

    There’s that. And there’s the fact Seoulites love protesting. Often with molotovs and clubs.

  • http://undefined warmflash

    The Watts Riots of 1965 lasted 6 days in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, California, in August 1965.
    By the time the riot subsided, 34 people had been killed, 2,032 injured, and 3,952 arrested.
    Now that’s what I call a riot.

  • http://undefined Green Sulfur

    David Topping wrote: “Rosenfeld was arrested and charged with “breaching the peace.””
    Breaching the peace is not a charge. It can be legal grounds to detain a person.

  • accozzaglia

    How very interesting.

  • http://undefined Matthew

    This was posted by LuLu Katt Arrested for carrying eye wash and detained in the eastern ave detention centre.
    Thanks Officer,
    I’ve never felt less protected in my life than when i was in that stupid makeshift jail,
    sitting on the disgusting ground of the tiny youth cage,
    trying to comfort a crying 15 year old through a metal wall,
    asking a passing cop for a shirt or blanket, the girl was freezing.
    And the pig says: “yeah right”.
    Sitting in the adult cage, hands ziptied together, a girl in the cell with me screaming that she needs her medicine, it’s in her bag, they have it. She’ll pass out if she doesn’t take her medicine.
    And the pigs all say “we don’t know where it is.” we tell them it’s in her bag, here’s the property number. They say “we’ve got lots to do right now. maybe we’ll get around to it.”
    Coming out of the search room, being dragged by the handcuffs,
    begging the officer, “i’ve been in here for 7 hours. my parents don’t know where i am, they’re probably so worried. has anyone told them?”
    and he says, “think about your parents before you go out and protest next time.”
    And i’ve never felt more sure that people can be amazing than i was in that stupid makeshift jail,
    terrified, sick, and in pain from the ties on my arms,
    cuffed and not knowing where i was being dragged by the officer,
    waiting to go through yet another metal detector, so sure i was about to break down again,
    when i hear from the guy behind me say something.
    “you’ll be ok, sister.”
    the cop gripping my arm snapped “why are you calling her sister?”
    “she’s in chains next to me, she’s being mistreated like me, for the same reasons. we believe in the same cause. we’re all here in this together, she’s my sister.”
    I’ve never met him before, there’s a good chance i won’t meet him again, but he’s right. he’s my brother through all that. They all were. flashing peace signs, smiling, telling each other to stay strong. That’s all we could do, but it was enough to keep each other going in there.
    Which side would you stick to, after hours in jail for a bogus charge?
    I don’t know how you think that treating us like animals will deter us from continuing to stand up for peace and justice. We’re more motivated now. We aren’t going to just forget the things you said to us, the grimey floors, the lack of food. It’s only going to make us more active, more political.
    You haven’t changed my outlook on anything. But you sure did make it all stronger.
    ♥ ♫

  • David Topping

    We got sent that video right after it was first uploaded, and decided then that we wouldn’t be running it on Torontoist. And it’d be especially out of place in this collection, no?

  • accozzaglia

    Not in the slightest.
    That somewhat lighter moment — though he wore protest-tailored shirt and cap — is still very much a part of the gestalt embodying the ignominious weekend. This definitely deserves a notable 15th on the list of essential videos as a way to end it all after seeing the far more grievous 14.
    Fifteen is a good, odd number on which to cover all bases.

  • http://undefined TrueToronto

    Toronto is getting a bum rap. Look at the pretty pictures and decide for yourself about Toronto:

  • accozzaglia


  • accozzaglia

    Agitproppy! Spammy! Derivative! Scrapbooky!
    “****!” -Asterisk
    “I couldn’t put that book down!” -Reader
    “Will see it again!” -Plant

  • http://undefined friend68

    No, the real reason people hate Toronto is for things like when a earthquake near Ottawa gets called the Toronto Earthquake.