It’s kind of hard to believe it’s been twenty years. Really intense, indelible memories have a way of shortening time, I guess.

I still remember my colleague Dom standing up on his chair and telling us planes had hit the World Trade Center. I remember there was no TV in the office, and all the news sites we visited were overloaded so we ended up using Ananova, and going downstairs to the Radio Shack to watch the news through the window. I remember everyone going home early when the banks evacuated the big towers downtown. I remember stopping at the McDonald’s at Bloor & Avenue for some lunch, back when TIFF was centered in and around Yorkville, and hearing several American film industry people on their phones trying to figure out how to get home. I remember meeting my friend Jane on the patio at Hemingway’s (I was there yesterday for the first time in years, weirdly enough) that night as we tried to reconcile what had happened, gazing at it through the bottom of pint glasses. I even remember going to a Sigur Ros concert at Massey Hall nine days later (documented here, in what would end up being my first blog post, before I even knew the word blog I think) and everything still felt fuzzy and surreal.

It was an event born from decades of tragedy and violence, and begat decades more. It seemed trite and overblown to say it at the time, but with so many years of hindsight it really does seem one of the defining moments of history as I know it.

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