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A volunteer sorts through unclaimed runners' bags after two explosions occurred along the final stretch of the Boston Marathon, Monday, April 15, 2013. (Kelvin Ma/Bloomberg)
A volunteer sorts through unclaimed runners' bags after two explosions occurred along the final stretch of the Boston Marathon, Monday, April 15, 2013. (Kelvin Ma/Bloomberg)

Canadian businesses in Boston play waiting game Add to ...

Several Canadian businesses operating in Boston were closed or left searching for more information in the aftermath of two explosions that killed at least three people near the Boston Marathon’s finish line. More than 130 other runners and spectators were injured in the blast on Monday.

Manulife Financial Corp.’s U.S. subsidiary, John Hancock Financial Services Inc., has been the lead sponsor of the well-known marathon for the last 28 years, including the 2013 race.

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John Hancock said on its Facebook page that it was “saddened by the deaths and injuries at the Boston Marathon.” The company has been headquartered in Boston since it was founded in April of 1862 and has a head office about 10 minutes drive away. The company was acquired by Manulife in April, 2004.

In last year’s race, more than 100 John Hancock and Manulife employees ran, along with hundreds of other runners sponsored by the company. Together they raised $6.8-million for 122 organizations. The company also sponsors a team of professional athletes that run.

Manulife’s chief executive officer Donald Guloien was in Boston at the time of the race, but was not hurt by the explosion.

One Toronto runner, Ted Citrome, a lawyer with Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, crossed the finish line more than 45 minutes before the blasts, and only learned the news after he later received an e-mail from a colleague asking if he was okay.

“I didn’t know what he was talking about. I thought he was referring to my somewhat disappointing time,” Mr. Citrome, who then turned on the television in his hotel.

He said the blasts put the focus on the marathon in perspective: “It’s a lot of mixed emotions, going from the elation of the Boston Marathon, for a lot of people a crowning achievement, something you work years for, and then to have your parade rained on like this – my marathon doesn’t matter any more.”

The Fairmont Copley Plaza hotel, which is owned by Canadian-based Fairmont Hotels & Resorts Inc. and located just two blocks from the explosions, stated that it encouraged those in the building to remain there, noting “all hotel colleagues are safe.” After receiving direction from the Boston Police, the hotel was only admitting guests and colleagues.

TD Bank, the U.S. arm of Toronto-Dominion Bank, has 18 branches in downtown Boston and the South Shore region, including one branch close to the site. “We have a location a couple of blocks away,” said Rebecca Acevedo, spokeswoman for the bank. “Fortunately, we do know that all of our employees our safe and sound.”

While TD’s branches weren’t damaged in the blast, two of its locations were closed as the area was shut down by police on Monday. The bank is now considering what it can do to help the community, and is waiting on more information.

“We are in activation mode, working to see what we can do as information is coming in,” Ms. Acevedo said.

Sun Life Financial Inc.'s Boston-based mutual fund and investment business, MFS Investment Management,  released a statement on its website saying it was “shocked and saddened by the events that occurred [Monday] at the end of the Boston Marathon. We have accounted for all of our people who were working in the building and are grateful for their safety.”

Monday was a scheduled work at home day, so the number of MFS Investment Management employees who were at the office were minimized. The office will be open again on Tuesday but employees will have the option to work from home again, as the investigation continues.

The Ottawa Senators were scheduled to play a hockey game against the Boston Bruins on Monday night at the city’s TD Garden arena, but the game was postponed. A statement from the National Hockey League said the rescheduled date and time would be announced at a later date.

With reports from Tara Perkins, Grant Robertson and Jeff Gray

Canadians in Boston in need of assistance can contact the Consulate General at (617) 247-5100.

If you're a Canadian who was at the marathon, The Globe would like to hear from you. E-mail community@globeandmail.com

 

Editor's note: An earlier reference a scheduled work-at-home day has been corrected to MFS Investment Management.

 
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