Toronto - Queen St. and Downtown Toronto small-businesses have begun to address vandalism and property destruction sustained at Saturday's protest.
Speaking in the Globe and Mail, Laura Schaefer, of the Queen Street West Business Improvement Area said, "What we saw on Queen Street West yesterday was absolutely not peaceful. To see this destruction is beyond unfortunate.”
Meanhwhile, in the Toronto Star, James Robinson with the Downtown Yonge Business Improvement Area is reporting 40 retailers and restaurateurs have suffered property damage.
Uncomformed reports indicate that small businesses such as Fran's restaurant were vandalized while it's been confirmed that that Jewlery exchange, Barclay's Jewlery and a leather shop next door suffered window damage.
However the vast majority of vandalism was targeted at large chains or businesses and the financial sector. American Apparel, Winners, Tim Hortons, the Bay, several Starbucks outlets, Nike, Bell store, Burger King and Pizza Pizza all suffered window smashing or spray-painting.
The strip club Zanzibar was also heavily attacked and vandalized. It had a sign saying "Forget G8, try G-Strings. G20 leaders solve world peace in our VIP rooms."
'Canada's big five' banks suffered the worst of the damage. TD Canada Trust, CIBC, Royal Bank of Canada, BMO and Scotiabank were all heavily targetted. The financial sector was heavily defended by riot police while many bank CEO's were meeting with G20 leaders or delegations.
While Canada's major dailies interviewed the head's of City business improvement associations, the Toronto Media Co-op (TMC), tried talking to small-business owners affected.
While none of the affected businesses were available for comment, the TMC was able to talk to Alex Leger, the manager of the ironically named Kops Records.
According to Leger, who's Queen st. and University Av. shop remained opened during the protests, sales were down by about 2/3rds but "we expected that."
Leger says that he believes his store's community involvement and small business nature meant that they would not be targeted. "We're an independent shop so we didn't expect that people would be attracted to us. I'm pretty sure that some of the protesters have even been in the shop," he said.
While he believes that his store got "lucky" compared to small businesses on Yonge St., he feels that most of the vandalism was directed at what he calls "icons of multi-nationalism." Leger says that, "the vandalism was directed at the banks especially given that they're seen as being responsible for the recession."
Adam Vaughan, City Councillor for the region where most of the vandalism occurred, had been lobbying Ottawa tirelessly for months to provide compensation for any businesses damaged during protests by either police or protesters.