20081018_1982A.jpg

Toronto in Recession: 1982 vs. 2008

Back in 1982, E.T. was tops at the box office, "Mickey" was so fine that it reached #1 on the pop charts, and Rance Mulliniks was playing his first game as a Toronto Blue Jay. Bill Davis was the Premier of Ontario, and Art Eggleton the mayor of Toronto. Minimum wage was $3.50, and we were in the midst of a serious recession.

A recent report by the Conference Board of Canada has revealed that consumer confidence right now is at its lowest since 1982. What did a valley in consumer confidence mean in 1982? What does this mean for Toronto today?

If the current economic nose dive continues, our lives will most certainly have to change some. We already have to work a lot longer hours to enjoy the many things the city has to offer. Don't believe it? Check out some examples.

20081018_1982.jpg

In searching for things to do in Toronto in 1982, I came across this old travel article written by none other than Margaret Atwood for the New York Times in 1982.

I've done a brief cost-comparison of then versus now, with the time required to work at minimum wage ($3.75 in 1982, and $8.75 in 2008) to pay for each purchase shown in brackets.

Round trip to the Toronto Islands by ferry:
1982: $1 (0.29h)
2008: $6.50 (0.74h)
increase: 2.5x

Admission to the ROM:
1982: $2 (0.57h)
2008: $22 (2.51h)
increase: 4.4x

Visit to the AGO:
1982: $1.60 (0.48h)
2008: $18 (2.06h)
increase: 4.3x

Romantic stay at the King Eddy on a Saturday night:
1982: $60 (17.14h)
2008: $280 (32h)
increase: 1.8x

Dinner for two at Scaramouche:
1982: $60 (17.14h)
2008: $210 (24h)
increase: 1.4x

With the cost of living having gone up by such an extent, and an economy tanking before our eyes, I suspect that many Torontonians will be having a lot less fun and leisure and a lot more scraping for necessities.

Photos: Nmarie and .Allan.


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