On a winter day in Hogtown

Posted January 20, 2014 on 10:13 pm | In the category Canada, Uncategorized | by Mackenzie Brothers

A sort time ago, during the first week of January , and in the midst of the peak travel time of the New Year, Canada’s largest city, Toronto, got a bit of a wintry blast,  nothing out of the ordinary in northern climes. All airports from Yellowknife to Murmansk stayed open and were not severely affected by this rather normal winter weather up here in the north. Except one – Pearson International in Toronto, by far the largest one in Canada, the fourth largest in North America and a  crucial one for flights going in and out for much of North America.  Now the powers that be at Pearson – and the CEO of the now semi-privatized airport was in Edmonton at the time and made his decisions on the basis of phone calls  (Edmonton Airport of course remained open)  decided  that Pearson Toronto could handle international flights but not domestic ones.  His subsequent explanation was that it was slippery and cold out there for his workers and the pilots  had to drive their planes carefully into loading docks, causing delays.  The result, of course, was chaos.  Canadians could indeed arrive at Pearson Airport from far-off places but then could not travel on to Canadian destinations, in some cases for 3 or 4 days as traffic backed up.  Montreal’s Trudeau  airport remained open of course but could not send its scheduled flights on to Toronto, causing chaos in Montreal, which made for good business for trains and busses, which of course travelled normally, but there weren’t enough of them to handle the increasingly restless crowds.   Officials at Vancouver Airport could only look on in astonishment as planes failed to arrive from the east, and sent many of its thousands of daily international travellers off to Asia without their luggage,  as chaos ruled the  luggage routes to Asia.

Finally on Saturday, 10 days after these exciting events, the most Canadian of all explanations came in.  Mr. Vijay Kanwar, the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority apologized in a full-page ad in the Globe that probably cost as much as the wages of the workers who were ready to take on the cold and ice  for “the  inconvenience  that passengers and their families  experienced during last week’s extreme weather conditions” .  And he also announced  the most Canadian solution to such a problem  – “the board of Directors has established anad hoc committee to review last week’s events, which will “conclude its work within 90 days and share it findings with the public”.  And these guys speak  of my brother and me as hosers.  They are still laughing in Inuvik about “the extreme weather conditions” that Hogtown couldn’t deal with.  Why even the Maple Leafs made it to the rink and played under such conditions.  Don’t ask about the result.


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