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Citizen-Z Cavan Young's 2004 film about the zamboni crisis





Blackout Jan 2009 In Media

posted on February 03, 2009

What will you do when the lights go out?

Having a few simple things on hand can make a big difference

By: Jennifer Brown
Published: January 31, 2009
Source: THE STAR

When the power went out in his apartment near Dufferin and Bloor Sts. on Jan. 15, Iain Grant discovered a whole new use for his BlackBerry.

"At first I thought it was just the fuse, so I stumbled down to the fuse box using my BlackBerry as a flashlight and flicked the power switch back on, and nothing happened. My roommate came to the top of the stairs and told me that it might not be just us, it seems the neighbours were looking pretty dark, too," says Grant, who was sitting in his apartment when the power went out around 9:30 p.m. for what ended up being nearly 24 hours.

"My only issue through the whole experience was not having a flashlight that I could use. Mine was in my tool box, but it had dead batteries. My phone seemed to suffice, so that was helpful," he says.

Grant was one of an estimated 250,000 people affected by the outage in an area spanning Jane St. to Spadina Ave. and Queen St. W. to St. Clair Ave., and he was one of many who discovered they weren't entirely prepared for a blackout. And while experts say the best thing to do during a power outage is to evacuate, many people didn't think the lights were going to be out for more than a few hours and therefore waited it out.


posted on January 23, 2009

Toronto Is blackout city

Why are the city’s power outages double those of London? 

Published: January 24, 2009
Source: Financial Post

Some 250,000 Torontonians lost their electricity last week, about half of them for 18 to 24 hours.  Had this power blackout happened in London or any other part of the U.K., each residential customer forced to endure such an extended hardship would have received £50 (about $92) in compensation. In the U.K., the public sees such compensation as simple justice — why shouldn’t the power company be held accountable?  This simple justice is unavailable to Torontonians who rely on city-owned Toronto Hydro, even though their hardship last week far exceeded anything the U.K. ordinarily experiences — the power loss also disabled home furnaces, no small matter with temperatures at -20 degrees centigrade.  Ninety-two dollars in compensation would have provided meaningful relief to many — the poor whose food spoiled with the loss of refrigeration, those forced to take taxis because the subway wasn’t running, those who lost a day of work because the power failure shut down their employer in Toronto’s downtown.



posted on January 24, 2009

The Web hasn't democratized this world of hurt - yet

Published: JANUARY 23, 2009
Source: The Globe and Mail

"After the lights went out in the middle of Toronto, leaving a cool 100,000-odd people without power for almost 24 hours in the dead of winter, the mayor had a suggestion: buy battery-powered radios.

That preparedness advice wasn't without merit. There was one report of the ill-equipped being forced to use an iPhone as a flashlight. (In my defence, the light it casts is more colourful than your average flashlight's.) But a good many of the afflicted discovered that, as battery-powered gadgets go, smartphones were even more useful than radios. Within minutes of the power going out, people with mobile Web access had hopped online and were comparing notes. Reports pinging in from around the city described the extent of the outage, directing people toward neighbourhoods (and pubs) that still had power."



posted on January 23, 2009

Blackout victims told to be patient

Until investigation complete, hydro officials have few answers for west-end residents

Published: January 23, 2009
Source: The Star

About 70 west-enders crammed themselves, their notebooks and their misgivings into the Parkdale Library basement last night, to find out why their neighbourhood spent almost 24 hours in the dark during last week's blackout.

Be patient, they were told by a panel of city and hydro officials. Answers are on the way.

The panel, led by Hydro One director of asset management Mike Penstone, was able to explain why the city rushed to shut down the transformer station at Bloor St. W. and Dufferin St. last Thursday night.


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posted on January 23, 2009

Answers sought on west-end blackout

Hydro firms to address residents' concerns

Published: January 20, 2009
Source: The Star

West-end activist Jutta Mason and her neighbours want fast answers on last week's blackout.

She emailed MPPs on the residents' behalf and they want to be briefed, she said.

Now Cheri DiNovo, MPP Parkdale-High Park, has called a community meeting for Thursday at 7 p.m. in the Parkdale Public Library, a week after the blackout, so residents can get answers from Toronto Hydro and Hydro One. Councillor Gord Perks for Parkdale-High Park will also attend.


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posted on January 23, 2009

Faulty sprinklers blamed for blackout

Published: JANUARY 17, 2009
Source: The Globe and Mail

"A faulty sprinkler system belonging to Ontario's Hydro One utility is to blame for a power blackout that left a quarter of a million people in Toronto without electricity and heat on one of the coldest nights of the year. The crisis, which chilled homes, forced schools to close and halted a huge chunk of the city's subway system during the morning rush hour, had city-owned Toronto Hydro scrambling to restore power to some customers until about 9:40 last night, when Mayor David Miller announced it was back on. "I want to thank Torontonians for their co-operative efforts during this challenging time and all city staff for their quick response to the outage and the strong sense of caring for the people we serve," the mayor said in a statement."


Some perspective: Toronto residents were not in the forefront of disasters. The blackout caused serious damage to some homes, and there should be compensation, but compare it to this:

posted on January 23, 2009

2008 one of worst years for natural disasters this decade

Published: Friday, January 23, 2009
Source: CBC News

Cyclones, earthquakes and hurricanes around the world made 2008 one of the worst years for natural disasters so far this decade, the United Nations said Thursday.

At least 235,816 people were killed in 321 different disasters, some of the worst of which took place in Burma and China, according to the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

"Almost the entire bulk of the deaths... is explained by only two events: Cyclone Nargis and the Sichuan [earthquake]," said Debarati Guha-Sapir of the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, which conducted the tally.

The UN estimates that nearly 84,000 people died and 54,000 went missing after Cyclone Nargis came crashing into Burma, also known as Myanmar, last May 3. About 2.5 million people were left destitute by the storm.

Less than two weeks later, nearly 70,000 people were killed when an earthquake rocked a swath of central and southern China. An estimated five million people were rendered homeless.

Content last modified on February 11, 2009, at 03:32 PM EST