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The Globe and Mail

Torontonians enjoy church, bars, soccer as protests rage

Herbie Hancock performs during the Toronto Jazz Festival at Nathan Phillips Square.

Della Rollins/della rollins The Globe and Mail

By Sunday morning, after violent protests Saturday shook the city, most business owners around the security zone had boarded up their windows and closed shop. But, just half a block north of the security fence, Reverend William Ingram opened the doors of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church for the 10:30 a.m. sermon without hesitation.

"The church has been here for 180 years and we don't intend to be deterred from gathering for faith and worship out of fear," he said.

By the time the service started, about 40 people dotted the pews in the cavernous old church to hear Rev. Ingram's G20-inspired sermon.

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"At the heart of the events that are taking place in Toronto this weekend are contrasting visions about the nature of life together in this global community," he said, his voice booming.

West of the church on Saturday night, people braved the streets for a different type of worship.

Toronto FC fans packed the soccer stadium at BMO Field to watch their team face off against the Los Angeles Galaxy.

Fan Phil Falcone showed up nearly an hour late to the game because his apartment building on Adelaide Street was essentially under lockdown, he said.

"We were surrounded by about 500 law enforcement officers through the day. Once the violence started taking place, I noticed a change in the mood and the tone downtown," he said. "It didn't look like I was going to be let out, but I made it."

Earlier Saturday, red soccer jerseys and Korean flags were everywhere on Bloor Street, as small groups strolled by, looking for an open bar or restaurant. Clinton's pub, with a capacity of 87, filled up "as soon as we opened the doors," said Christina Spencer, a server who turned" about 40 people away at the door in the 20 minutes after opening.

At the Duke of Gloucester pub on Yonge Street just south of Bloor Street, the Germany-England World Cup soccer match blared from televisions on Sunday. Manager Mihir Shah said more than 100 people packed the bar.

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"The mood wasn't great, but that's because England lost," Mr. Shah said, leaning over a table. He said no one mentioned the summit or the previous night's rioting and arrests at all. "Just football."

But the Toronto Jazz festival did not fare as well on Saturday. A free show on a Saturday afternoon would typically attract hundreds, the festival's executive producer Patrick Taylor said.

Instead, a few dozen people showed up to see gypsy swing band Club Django Sextet play."It feels like someone's sucked the life out of it," Mr. Taylor said.

With a report from Katie Hewitt

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