Monday, August 14, 2023

The Great Power Outage of 2003

"It was twenty years ago today." (August 14, 2003.)

I was at my place of work in downtown Toronto. My co-worker and I stood in front of the bank of VTR (Video Tape Recorder) equipment and chatted some technical business. Suddenly, a harmony of clicks and clacks. And lights going out: overhead fluorescent tubes and the video decks' myriad of little indicator lamps. The shutdown was dramatic. And it meant that every video feed and recording we had going at the moment was rendered useless.

At first my partner and I both thought it was that bloody little local transformer station that too often failed in the middle of a work day. No doubt it'll pop back on in seconds or minutes.

Minutes passed.

Our manager popped out of his office and exclaimed: "There's a blackout on the entire eastern part of North America!" That was drama. Then it set in. We would have no need to finish our shift. Time to go home.

Wait a moment. That means there's no subway. Then, as now, I lived in Toronto's Annex neighbourhood.

Fine. I'll walk home.

As I propelled west along King Street I bumped into a friend and former co-worker who was making his way home. The fifty-minute walk was a great chance to catch up.

That evening I went for a stroll: Shadow People!

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