WATCH ABOVE: 12 years after massive blackout, energy experts say grid much more stable. Mark Carcasole reports.
TORONTO —; Torontonians have different memories of Aug. 14, 2003 —; the day the city went black —; but for Michael Louise Johnson and Shamez Amlani, they are working to keep the legacy of that unforgettable day alive.
The pair have come together to host a Blackout party each year to celebrate “Toronto the good.”
“It just turned out to be the most magical day ever. Everyone’s got stories about directing traffic and pulling people out of hospitals,” Amlani said.
“What to us is meaningful to celebrate this day is what it’s like to come together, as people. People who share the streets of the city come together in a public square.”
READ MORE: 10 years after blackout, North American power grid still vulnerable to failure
WATCH: Michael Louise Johnson and Shamez Amlani are finding ways to keep the magic of that unforgettable day alive.
Both Amlani and Johnson have vivid memories of the day of the blackout. Johnson recalls coming back from the Toronto island to buy some food for a friend’s 30 birthday that evening.
“We’re getting money out of the cash machines, so we can go buy the food for dinner, and – the cash machine’s not working,” he said.
“And all of a sudden you could see this ripple of people down the street all going, ‘Hey! What’s going on? Hey, there’s nothing. Everything’s out.’”
Amlani wasn’t the only one who saw the blackout as an opportunity to connect with his fellow Torontonians. People right across the city went out of their way to offer a helping hand.
One man in particular left a lasting impression.
“I remember seeing a guy directing traffic, and all he was wearing was a Speedo,” said Amlani.
Amlani had just arrived to Toronto after a vacation to Argentina.
READ MORE: Blackout 2003: Ontario in the dark
“By the time we got downtown, all the lights were out,” he said.
“We didn’t know how long it was going last, but it became apparent very quickly that this is going to take a while.”
Amlani was using his rickshaw to give people free rides around the city after loading it up with cases of quickly-warming beer while on his way to a party. Coincidentally, the beer he handed out was La Fin Du Monde.
“I started giving people free rides on my rickshaw,” he said.
“Every person who got a free ride, I asked them where they’re going and take them somewhere where they could get home safer and I gave them a beer.”
Aug. 14, 2015 marks the 12th anniversary of the blackout.
“People came out to take care of each other
Nobody was thinking about themselves and how they could take advantage and breaking the rules and stealing things,” Johnson said. “It was a community party.”
The blackout party will take place at David Pecaut Square at 9:30 p.m. on Friday.
The 苏州美甲纹绣培训 event has more than 1,000 confirmed guests and encourages attendees to “bring a candle in a jar if you can, bring friends, bring discreet refreshments, bring a convivial spirit.”
“What I loved about that day is that we got out of our boxes,” Amlani said.
“We got out from behind those computers and TVs. We got out of our houses and into the streets, and we communed with our fellow human being.”