August 14th, 2003 – I woke up to a beautiful clear sky, the sun shining, hot on my skin. After a beautiful breakfast of waffles and fresh strawberries, it was very clear to me that this day was going to be a lazy one. I decided that I was going to get all of my chores done before lunchtime, so I hopped into the boat and went into Port Carling to pick up a few groceries for my mother, then rushed back.
When I arrived back at the cottage, I noticed two boats that weren’t any of ours, pulled up to the eastern dock, and beside them was my father’s seaplane. I immediately knew that something was going to impede on my original plans. As I came up from the boathouse from the western side of the island, I saw both of my parents sitting there with a few of my father’s friends. I sat with them on the deck of the main cottage for a little while, had a glass of wine with them and then about a half an hour later I finally broke free from their chit-chat and went forward with my plan to have a nice relaxing float in the water. I grabbed my air mattress, jumped into the water, and proceeded to paddle out into the middle of the lake where I then laid under the hot clear sky, and eventually fell asleep.
I woke up, still on my air mattress, but I was unsure of where I was floating. Initially, what woke me up was a boat going by, and the wake of the boat rocking me back and forth. I realized that I had floated across the lake, 2 entire islands away from Oak Island (The name of our island). It turned out I was very near to a resort called DACKS, and since the thought of paddling back all that way, against the current wasn’t quite a pleasant one, I decided to use the payphone at DACKS to see if my mom might come to get me. Just my luck, Nobody was home.
I arrived back at home around 8:30 PM, after an hour and half of paddling through the choppy water, and let me tell you, my arms were sore. There was a note on the table that said my parents had gone out for dinner to the Muskoka Lakes Golf Club, and that they wouldn’t be back until about midnight. It was then that I realized we had no power when I tried to make myself some dinner and the microwave wouldn’t turn on. I became very confused, not knowing why the power was out, so I jumped in the boat and went over to Rock haven (our family cottage, where my aunt was staying at the time) to see what was going on. It turns out while I was floating around in the lake, under the beautiful hot sun; the entire world was in chaos. My aunt filled me in on what had happened.
A blackout, spreading across the entire continent. Initially, I was shocked. To me the scariest part of the entire day was the boat ride back to Oak Island. I never realized how vital the very dull lights from on land cottages was for guiding your way around on a dark lake. I felt lost in a sea of black, and had to drive extremely carefully in order to get back in one piece.
The blackout wiped out major cities power including New York City, Ohio, Montreal and Toronto. It was caused by an overuse of energy. One of the major reasons the blackout occurred on what was one of the hottest days of the year was the fact that most people, along with using normal amounts of energy for appliances and household needs, were also using extra energy to cool their homes by way of air conditioning.
It is obvious that our population is quickly increasing, and with that our basic utilities, such as hydro, should also be increasing, however, companies who supply this basic need have fallen behind. I believe it is the governments responsibility to ensure that these needs are met, meaning they should have either expanded these companies, enabling them to produce more energy, or they should have, at the very least, warned the public of the possibility of over-use. Instead, what they have decided to do is increase the price of hydro, in order to pay for new facilities that can create energy. This is ineffective because in the amount of time they are using to obtain the finances to build such facilities, they are putting off construction of new facilities, endangering both Canadian and American cities, citizens and economies. It is definitely time for the government to invest some time and money into Canada’s utilities, if they neglect to do so, there could be even more trouble just around the corner.