Alas, we meet again. In the news: there are still a lot of people without power in Toronto, the Toronto District School Board has closed all schools and child care facilities to conduct post–ice storm inspections, Norm Kelly went to Florida and some people are not very pleased with him, and Boxing Day shoppers were out in droves yesterday.
As of this morning, approximately 33,000 Toronto Hydro customers are still without power as the final push to restore power after last week’s ice storm hit yet another snag when Environment Canada issued a weather warning yesterday, advising there would be high winds of up to 30 kilometres per hour. There is still no word as to how long these lingering outages will last, although the City has said that it will now begin removing downed tree branches, a process that should take four to six weeks to complete.
Also, the Toronto District School Board announced yesterday that it would be closing all facilities, including child care centres, until further notice—pending safety inspections to assess damage from the ice storm. Schools are currently out for the holidays and will not likely be affected while the inspections go on; however, there are about 300 child care units that will be impacted by the closures—and this means parents relying on those services will have to make alternate plans for their kids.
Meanwhile, Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly finds himself brushing off his first bit of controversy since becoming Toronto’s de facto mayor last month. Kelly took an overnight trip to Florida over Christmas, leaving at noon on Christmas Day to visit family in Tampa and returning to Toronto the following morning. As a considerable amount of the city is still without power, including some of Kelly’s own ward, the quick jaunt down south drew some criticism. Kelly, who says he took the trip to visit an ailing sister, defended himself by saying, “I understand the optics of it, at the same time you try to live a balanced life, and I tried to balance the family side of my life with my obvious obligations to the residents of Toronto.” Furthermore, Kelly explained he was also in touch with city officials and residents while he was away, attending to business remotely through emails and texts. It’s slightly reassuring, though, that we’ve returned to the days when it’s the questionable vacations of politicians—rather than, say, the crack-smoking allegations—that draw ire. Isn’t it?
With or without power, Boxing Day deal hunters didn’t seem dissuaded from shopping this year, as the annual madness saw people across the GTA lining up as early as 3 a.m. to get the first crack at sales. Consumerism for the WIN!