Fake lake really disappointing
It's clear why the government was insisting that the notorious $57,000 "fake lake" be referred to as a "water feature." Unveiled Wednesday, the Muskoka feature of the Canadian Corridor in the G20 media centre is somewhat, well, underwhelming. The lake is about the size of a large wading pool, and no journalist seemed willing to sit in one of the many Muskoka chairs lined up on its narrow shore. Nearby, an espresso bar has been set up so visiting press can sip cappuccinos while perusing photographs of the region, and a fully operating cafeteria has also been opened for the benefit of hungry writers and photojournalists. Most journalists were drawn to the 4-D Ontario experience, a simulated ride that offers a tour of the province, complete with spraying snow, splashing whitewater and the breeze in your hair as you fly over Niagara Falls. At a cost of $1.9-million, the Canadian Corridor is designed to introduce visiting journalists to the country. And cappuccino.
Greening the G20
Expenses associated with the G8 and G20 summits have been estimated at close to $1-billion. But what about the environmental cost? It seems the government has made an effort to lessen the energy impact of the meetings in Huntsville and Toronto. William Pointon, of green electricity provider Bullfrog Power, said the company was contacted in February by the sustainability office of the G8-G20 planning group and asked to provide its services to most of the locations involved in the event. The Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Infield Terminal (at Pearson International Airport), Fairmont Royal York, Westin Harbour Castle, InterContinental Hotel and Deerhurst Resort will have their energy use matched by Bullfrog. "We'll be injecting 100-per-cent clean renewable energy onto the grid to match the energy use of those buildings," Mr. Pointon said. The company has offered the same service to the Juno Awards, the 2009 Calgary International Film Festival and the 2009 Rogers Cup. Mr. Pointon said Bullfrog estimates it will provide approximately 600 megawatts of energy to compensate for the G8 and G20 summits, about the same spike of energy consumption experienced in Ontario during the U.S.-Canada gold-medal game of the Vancouver Olympics.
City takes out G20 insurance policy
The City of Toronto has taken out event liability insurance for the duration of the G20, to "cover all issues that arise therefrom," according to spokesman Kevin Sack. Mr. Sack would not disclose the amount of the policy or which company was providing the coverage. "We have a risk management group that works closely with insurance partners to leverage our insurance needs," he said. "This event is over and above our usual activities." Last September, Pittsburgh paid $3-million to AON Risk Services Central Inc. for an insurance policy before its G20 summit.