On August 14, 2003, Toronto went dark. The famous - or infamous, depending on how you look at it - blackout plunged the city of Toronto, southern and central Ontario, and much of the northeastern United States into darkness. The 16th annual Toronto Blackout Party goes tonight in Nathan Phillips Square.
The blackout started at 4:10 p.m. on Aug. 14, 2003. By Aug. 16. power had been restored to almost the entirety of Toronto, but subways and streetcars didn't resume full service until Aug. 18.
"There are probably only a handful of memories that are collectively shared by millions of people. Most are bad memories but this blackout is probably a 'good' collective memory for most people who experience it," Rohan Pinto, content editor of Toronto news aggregator @Toronto on Twitter, told Narcity.
If you're looking for an excuse to party tonight and are feeling sentimental about the blackout, the anniversary party will include music, a bike ride at dusk, and even a parade to commemorate and celebrate the blackout's Sweet Sixteen.
The festivities start around 7 p.m. and run well into the night with an after-party following the parade at a secret location.
People who are old enough to remember the blackout couldn't help but reminisce about how it all went down.
"If you are 20 years of age or more today, you probably enjoy looking back on the anniversary and reminiscing about the 'adventure'," said Pinto.
About 10 million Ontarians were affected by the blackout, and plenty of them are reminiscing about the event today.
For many, the best part of the whole experience seems to have been the camaraderie between neighbours, friends and complete strangers.
"The thing that stands out the most is how small the world seemed all of a sudden. People talking to strangers, and neighbours getting together to help each other out. What could have been a disaster, turned out to be the opposite," said Pinto.
Some of the blackout celebration festivities last year included fire dancers, live music and even a man dressed in a cardboard beaver costume.
So this year's party is sure to entertain.