Skip to main content

Police patrol Ontario's Peninsula Lake on Thursday in preparation for the G8 summit.

Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press

Sitting on lawn chairs a stone's throw from Deerhurst Resort, Stella and Murray Ruby have a front-row seat on all the excitement.

Helicopters carrying dignitaries fly overhead, the RCMP patrol their neighbourhood at all hours of the night, and police boats buzz around Peninsula Lake.

To say their quiet cottage-country life has been turned on its head is an understatement. The G8 leaders started arriving Thursday in Huntsville, and the Rubys are hoping to catch a glimpse of at least one of them wandering onto the golf course or taking a jog.

Story continues below advertisement

"It's a once-in-a-lifetime experience," said Ms. Ruby, 83.

The Rubys have owned one of the handful of cottages by the resort since the 1970s. They have to cross the golf course to get to their property. Their identification passes identify them as Deerhurst residents. With such heavy security, getting into downtown and back is a process. They call an RCMP officer, who drives them to run their errands and then escorts them home.

But what may seem like an ordeal to some is certainly not for the Rubys. They made sure to organize their lives for this week, buying groceries in advance. Not only are they glued to their television, they're moving from the front of the house to the back, wondering what will happen next or which world leader is about to land in their tiny part of the world.

Ms. Ruby said she used to run her errands in the morning and rest in the afternoon. "But not since this started, because I'm running from door to door, window to window. I'll be glad when this is over because I'm worn out," she said with a laugh.


While the Rubys can't contain their excitement, the unknown has put others in this town of 20,000 on edge. Will the protesters, who have yet to descend, cause disruptions to their idyllic lifestyle? How will police handle problems? And what about traffic disruptions Friday when the G8 leaders hold their conference?

Many residents have gone into hiding. "Everybody is using the term 'hunker down,'" said Heather Van Veld. "That's what I'm doing. Get our stuff, get back home and hunker down."

Story continues below advertisement

Ms. Van Veld took Friday off work and plans to putter around the house. Her two children are staying with her mother in Hanover, about four hours away. "I didn't want them anywhere near it, just because the protesters are so unpredictable," she said.

Grocery stores, pharmacies and even the hair salon where Ms. Van Veld works were quiet as residents ran all their errands last week. Others have left town for their cottages.

Abdo Hlal, the pharmacist at Zellers, said he did two weeks of business last week. The store was quiet Thursday. "They don't want to come to town," he said.

Ethel Dickson, who has lived in Huntsville for about 35 years, said while she won't remain indoors, she's sticking close to home. She sat on a bench along Main Street Thursday watching the police cars go by. "We have never done something like this before, so we don't know what's going to happen," she said.

The G8 summit will only last a couple of days, and Mayor Claude Doughty doesn't think it will be long before locals and tourists start flooding back in.

"By Saturday, Sunday, everybody will be back in town, breathing a sigh of relief," he said. "That's our hope."

Story continues below advertisement

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