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Blackout in Toronto
15/08/2003

Everyone has stories to tell about the blackout.

One of the big stories here in Toronto is about the way civillians volunteered themselves directing traffic on the streets. With no lights, the city was bound to be chaos. But, with a shortage of police, regular people stepped in and started directing traffic at major intersections. Apparently, nearly every intersection in downtown was manned. (Or wo-manned.)

All around, people were telling each other that things would be fine in Toronto -- "because we're Toronto". There seemed to be a general sense that mayhem would just not happen here... and I'm sure that the idea itself was a contributor to it becoming a reality. (A positive spin on the old saying about "self-fulfilling prophecies".) It may be a goofy sense of pride, but Toronto thinks of itself this way and it's self-reinforcing.

The other interesting soty is the way people were connecting with each other. There were stories all over about people talking who don't normally acknowledge each other.

It happened to us, here. Our neighbours moved in 6 months ago and we've never talked to them. (Never seen them, actually.) We ended up spending a couple hours on their balcony last night, chatting in candlelight with them and another couple from the end of the hall (who also had never talked to any of us). It was fun... and our floor won't be the same again.

With this happening across the city, it just goes to show you how much reserved, quiet, Torontonians really want to connect with each other. They're shy, not mean. And, as soon as they have a good excuse to break the ice, they're completely different.


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