Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Caught in the storm, penned in at Queen Street

Picture taken by Lisan Jutras on Queen Street West Sunday.

Lisan Jutras/The Globe and Mail

Lisan Jutras was on the streets of Toronto this weekend taking in the events and watching the many demonstrations. In the end, she was one of the citizens held at Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue on Sunday night, only to be released just before 10 p.m. Lisan works at The Globe and Mail and although she wasn't accredited for the summits or on assignment, was using some of her tweets in our live coverage.

She writes: "At around 5 p.m., I began following a bike rally in the financial district. It was a relaxed group with no obvious affiliations. There were two kids, probably eight and four, with a protective dad. 'Peaceful protest!' was a popular chant, as was 'let us through', when the march was blocked at intersections by lines of police. A huge cheer went up as it was permitted to travel west on Queen at Bay. People were walking now, not riding, and accumulating curious onlookers as well as people who just found themselves walking in a march."

What follows is a recap of her Sunday from her Twitter account @lisanjutras

Story continues below advertisement

Read her full story: Boxed in and arrested on Queen Street West

At around 5 p.m.

* Bike rally stops at Bay/Queen

* Because a line of police is blocking Bay Street.

* Carrying on west on Queen now.

* Rally cannot move because blocked by cops. Again. Chanting "let us through"

* Onlookers in Sheraton Centre confused, bemused, disgusted looking.

Story continues below advertisement

* The march has kind of suddenly grown large. Ratio of tag-alongs to protesters unknown.

* Way blocked at Queen and Spadina again, no one knows where to go.

* Cab driver caught in rally traffic jam jumps out of cab to deliver lecture on G8 geopolitics and economics.

Around 5:40 p.m.

* Bike rally stopped and not moving even tho marshal has said it will go north. Not sure why.

* So many frustrated bike rally people trying to clear intersection.

Story continues below advertisement

* Essentially there are two exit routes, N and E, but people are still not moving. Another line of cops has moved in to block south Spadina.

Around 6 p.m.

* Police just took away someone, holding him in alleyway just north of Queen.

* People incensed, yelling "what's the charge?"

* This is the impromptu holding pen

* Guys coming in from the north in riot gear now, familiar screams of MOVE! MOVE!

* Chant starts up: peaceful protest!

* Riot cops moving in again, penning us in. Only exit now is eastbound. This is feeling bad.

* Cops performing crushy manoeuvre again, in riot gear. Intimidating.

* Coming in from all sides. This is insane.

* People with suitcases, trying to get home, are stuck here too.

At 6:19 p.m.

* No exit at all that I can see. Ok, this is truly not feeling good.

* Things just got nuts. Not allowed out. Civilians not allowed out. Pushing has begun, they are squeezing us between 2 rows

* People are starting to panic.

* The police keep saying MOVE and pushing us into smaller areas.

* The police keep saying MOVE and pushing us into smaller areas.

* No one has been half as provocative as yesterday.

* A down-at-the-heels guy got shoved and scared by riot cop while woman walking dog yells at cop to go easy.

* We are crushed into tiny space now.

* crushed in small space now

* Elderly people too

At 6:26 p.m.

* Everyone is calm here. Except me, my hands are trembling.

* Wikipedia says we could be detained here several hours. God I hope not. *kettling

At 6:30 p.m.

* Woman behind me was grocery shopping when she got caught.

* Talked to guy from Iran. "Are you in the protest?" I asked. "Now, everyone is part of the protest. How can you not be?"

* Why is cop filming this?

* Why are cops on top of the CIBC building on northeast corner?

* Oh they seem to be displacing spectators.

* But now they are all perched up there looking ominous.

* Am fine. People beginning to sit down, feels like there's more room now--my imagination?

At 7:08 p.m.

* And now it's thundering and raining. Argh.

* Police are justifying this by saying everyone shoulda left when they were told to

* Police keep us from seeking shelter under underhang but lots of brollies

* Truthfully the police did not announce they would pen us in

* I see a paddy wagon.

At 7:19 p.m.

* I had police suggest exits to me but only after I asked. What about others who didn't ask until too late?

At 7:26 p.m.

* Still here and safe

At 7:57 p.m.

The Globe's Jen MacMillan wrote this tweet: Spoke to @lisanjutras by phone. She can't tweet due to wet phone.

At 8:01 p.m.

The Globe's Matt Frehner wrote this on our live blog: Lisan just phoned in. She is in a small group still being boxed in at Queen and Spadina. They are slowly letting people out, as more police arrive to relieve those who have been stationed there. She also saw some of those who left being placed in handcuffs.

At 8:09 p.m.

"Right now there is a line up to be arrested," Sammy Katz tells CP24

At 8:26 p.m.

The Globe's Jen MacMillan put this tweet out: "Just spoke to @lisanjutras via borrowed phone. She is OK, but stuck in the rain. Only way people are getting out of area is by getting arrested."

At 9:42 p.m.

Globe reports that the tense stand-off comes to an end in downtown Toronto. Cheers from crowd as police let whole group go.

* Update: I was arrested and cuffed, held on bus for abt 20 minutes and then given an unconditional release. More later. (Jutras was not given the opportunity to show her press credentials.)

After midnight Lisan recaps her story. Here are selected updates

* Thank you so much everyone for your concern.

* I was not let go because I was media. They didn't even look at my credentials before cuffing me. No one looked at them once.

* I was released with everyone else who was being detained on my particular bus. I gather they did the same with other buses.

* The most shocking thing to me was 90% of the people I talked to at Q&S were there taking pictures/grocery shopping/being pedestrians.

* And the protesters that were there were not provocative.

* The cops I saw were from Saskatoon, Niagara region, Toronto, and were varying degrees of nice to horrible.

* One guy said "We're working on gettin' ya out of there. Won't be long now" and smiled. Was he being sadistic and weird, or did he not know..

* ... that we were all ultimately going to be verry slowly arrested and detained one by one?

* They really didn't let me say anything. I said "Give me a chance to speak" and four (yes) officers were on me instantly, forcing cuffs on me

* They really didn't let me say anything. I said "Give me a chance to speak" and four (yes) officers were on me instantly, forcing cuffs on me

* And trying to (weirdly) pull off my bike helmet. I don't know why they stopped and let me wear it but I was yanked away by female officer.

* Same officer also had my purse with phone number for legal representation in it. She promised I'd get it back in detention.

* This made me feel really nervous. I begged her to tear off piece of paper with lawyer's number on it but no dice.

* Everyone's stuff was put in clear plastic bags with our ID. The officers all had stickers but no one knew where to put them. On bags? Dunno.

* Talked to people around me. Couple were walking home, got caught. Student w/ Chinese accent, insuff. ID, also there by chance.

* Woman of couple was corporate lawyer. "Guess that does me no good here," she joked to her police escort. She was really, really sweet.

* Later had a different guy behind me, also really sweet, totally docile, joking too w/ cops, meanwhile we were all shivering like crazy.

* My officer asked me to explain what had happened. She seemed to have literally no idea why we were penned there, how it happened.

* Cops attitude was "You shoulda gotten out before this happened." "But I had no warning!" was the reply. And I believe it.

* After more standing in the rain, we were shown our way to TTC buses with "CHARTERED" on the front!

* We got on. Beside me was Chinese student. In front of me were two women who were ACTUAL protesters.

* First I had met.

* They were sisters. Very thin and dressed in t-shirts and I watched the goosebumps rise on one sister's arms for 20 minutes.

* "They don't even know what they're protesting," said a cop. "Yes I do," said one. "What?" "This," she said.

* Then my cop tells the 2 cops beside her that I work for the Globe. "I was tweeting for the Globe here today," I say.

* "Oh yeah, we read those live tweets," says my officer. "They're helpful to us!"

* I'm thinking about the banality and discomfort of the next few hours when a guy gets on the bus and starts yelling. I am inured 2 this now.

* He yells we will all be given unconditional release but if we show up in the area in the next 24 hours our goose is cooked.

* (Not his exact words.) He gives us the spiel in legalese, then "DO YOU UNDERSTAND!" We all say, "Yes," like drones.

* It takes a strangely long time to get let off the bus or maybe it just feels that way. I'm still shivering and guy cop says "Relax."

* "Relax, you're leaving! Be happy!" "I'm cold," I say. "I'm just as cold as you and I have to work 10 more hours" he says.

* "Dude, I'm not busting your chops," I say. "This is not a contest about who is colder."

* "I'm colder than both of you," my cop says (another funny!). "You win," I say.

* "I'm colder than both of you," my cop says (another funny!). "You win," I say.

* And then they cut off my cuffs and I find my bike unscathed (!) and I ride to The Globe and when the Globe security asks me for ID...

* I'm happy to give it to him. I start telling him I was arrested. A week ago his spot-checks seemed irksome.

* Now it's like "Oh, hey, you're not the police? Oh, hey, whatever, bro."

* There's more to be told, about the whole getting trapped at Spadina and Yonge business, but maybe later.

For more, Lisan's Twitter feed.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to