The demonstrations were low-key, locals lined up along Main Street, cameras poised for a sighting of a world leader, and the mayor’s wife hugged her favourite politician, the President of the United States.
That, in many ways, summed up Huntsville’s relaxed and warm reception of the G8 summit, unlike the protests and vandalism that marked the G20 in Toronto. But despite its unassuming nature, this quaint cottage country town is sure of one thing: The international coverage of its tiny piece of the world will pay off sooner or later.
Its outlook has already brightened considerably as millions of federal dollars were used to repave roads, build a new community centre, improve hydro lines and even attract the University of Waterloo to house a campus in town.
Mayor Claude Doughty knows change doesn’t happen immediately after the motorcades and helicopters carrying the G8 leaders leave. But even U.S. President Barack Obama suggested to him that he might want to return to this idyllic Muskoka community.
“I’m sure that Huntsville can’t help but benefit,” Mr. Doughty said. “When you have international media writing glowingly about Huntsville … it can’t get any better than that, in terms of our image.”
Mr. Doughty and his wife, Kim, ended up being the only two people in this town of 20,000 who got to meet the world leaders who gathered at the Deerhurst Resort just outside town. Ms. Doughty, a long-time fan of Mr. Obama and his politics, even received a hug when the President learned she had travelled to Washington for his inauguration.