Office workers flooded Toronto's downtown core after a blackout hit much of the city around 4:30 p.m. Monday. Fortunately for most traders, equity and debt markets had already closed and the power outage cut right into after-market recap meetings, allowing many employees to make an early exit.
Despite the volume of people who took to the streets, there wasn't much chaos. If anything, people reacted calmly thanks to their experience in the famous blackout of 2003, which affected most of the eastern seaboard for several days. Civilian bystanders bravely stepped into gridlocked intersections, including the financial hub at Bay and King Streets, directing traffic with their bare hands. Drivers, including streetcars, dutifully obeyed.
Waves of people left downtown in the hour immediately after the blackout hit, but not everyone was so keen to vacate. Patios along King Street were packed with people who stopped for a drink amid stifling humidity.
Steven Paul, who works for Bank of Montreal in First Canadian Place, had to travel down 51 stories down by foot, but he had little to complain about. The stairwells weren't hot, and he was leaving work soon anyway.
Workers at Minden Gross LLP had the same feeling, according to Beverly McCarthy who was waiting on York Street for her husband to pick her up. Asked if her co-workers were happy to have their day cut short, she paused, hoping not to say anything that could get them in trouble, then answered, "I think so," before breaking out into laughter.