TORONTO – World leaders trickled into Canada’s largest city on Thursday for global economic talks, but their resolve seemed less focused than at earlier meetings held in the fearful atmosphere of the worst downturn since the 1930s. New leaders in Australia, Japan and Britain could alter the dynamics.

With recoveries in their countries proceeding at starkly different paces, leaders of the 20 largest industrial and developing nations found themselves at odds over how to strike the right balance between continued government stimulus spending and confronting ballooning budget deficits. Divisions also persisted on proposals for a global bank tax and over how much multinational banks should be required to keep on reserve as a cushion against loan losses.

“The most pressing issue is sustainable economic growth,” said Canada’s finance minister, Jim Flaherty. But he told a news conference before a speech to the Toronto Board of Trade that this means different things in different parts of the world.

“There are clearly some countries, particularly some European countries, that need to fiscally consolidate on an urgent basis,” he said.

He noted that Canada’s economy is fundamentally strong and that its banks weathered the financial crisis without failures or government bailouts. “We are the envy of the world,” he said in voicing opposition to a global bank tax.

Security was tight as foreign leaders arrived during the day and their motorcades tied traffic into knots near the airport and on roads into town. Barricades turned Toronto’s downtown core into a virtual fortress.

Police said they took a man into custody Thursday after searching a car and finding containers of gasoline and implements that could be used as weapons, including a cross bow, a chain saw a baseball bat and sledge hammers. A large makeshift container was strapped to the roof. The car was stopped near a hotel where the French delegation is staying for the summit. Workers at the hotel had walked off the job Thursday as part of a labor dispute.

Constable Hugh Smith said the man was being questioned on why he had so many of the items and why he was in the area. He said charges are pending. The vehicle was seized. Constable Tony Vella said there’s no reason to believe the incident was summit-related.

Although heavier protests were expected later in the week, demonstrations on Thursday were tame and nonconfrontational. Police with bicycles moved in tandem with several hundred First Nations protesters — descendants of Canada’s aboriginal residents. They marched through downtown streets, waving upside-down Canadian flags, pounding on drums and shouting, “No G-20 on stolen native land.”

Also, Canadian police patrolled the Lake Ontario waterfront in powerboats and jet skis.