The Canadian economy is poised to contract by
1.2% this year. Or is it 1.4%? Or maybe it’s 3%. Such varied and constantly
shifting forecasts are useful only up to a point: the recession is affecting
Canadians in ways that statistics cannot show. What’s really going on out

Canadian Business sent staff writer Joe Castaldo to visit seven cities in
seven days, from one end of the country to the other, to find out how
businesses and workers are dealing with the worst downturn in decades. What
emerges is a series of snapshots of the concerns and struggles of Canadians.

Some are fearful, others cautiously optimistic. And not all say they are
hurting. But even those happy few say the recession is very much on their
minds-and they worry whatever relative prosperity they may be enjoying could
be short-lived.


So what mood did we find in our communities?

– Stephenville, Nfld.: Where local business failed, the oilsands have
provided. But for how long?

– Halifax: In oil and hedge funds we trust-FOR NOW.

– Oshawa, Ont.: The new reality includes plant closings, unemployment.

– Portage la Prairie, Man.: There is some security in the bounty of the

– Saskatoon: In a province with a relatively robust economy, many are
betting the good times will last.

– Yellowknife: Financing for exploration has dried up, and the diamond
industry is just trying to hang on.

– Prince George, B.C.: Where the downturn hits hard, there are pleas to
“give these people a break.”


PLUS: A special report on Fort McMurray, which is playing catch-up until
the oilpatch revs up again.