Toronto joins world in celebrating Obama victory

Americans and Canadians united last night in Toronto to watch history take place before their very eyes. Supporters of president-elect Barack Obama excitedly gathered at parties across the city in anticipation of watching his victory.

“This is a real chance for Americans to elect a new vision,” said Jason Ainsworth, who recently immigrated to Canada in January from the U.S. “Obama brings something new to the table.”

Ainsworth was part of Democrats Abroad, who gathered at the Plaza Flamingo Restaurant, which they named Plaza Obama. Group members and many others wore their slogan t-shirts and passionately shouted ‘yes we can’ as they watched America’s first black president make his victory speech.

Ainsworth, an online media analyst, said he doesn’t think Obama’s decisions will affect his job in Canada, but he is sure an Obama government will positively affect other Canadians.

“With the Obama win, I think the U.S. economy will stabilize and that should help us out up here,” he said.

He also hopes that the Canadian government will follow in Obama’s steps when it comes to energy and the economy.

“I think and hope that Obama’s vision to create a new green economy and get us off imported oil will really change everything,” Ainsworth said. “I think Canada will follow suit.”

Another group of Obama supporters, Canada Votes Obama, held a party at Wayne Gretzky’s downtown Toronto restaurant. Canada Votes Obama started as a blog and quickly grew into a movement. The website has received close to 185,000 page views in the last three weeks.

“It is incredible seeing how emotional this election is to not only the U.S, but the rest of the world,” the group’s web programmer, David Gallo, said.

Scott Hughes, a Toronto resident who holds dual Canadian and American citizenship, was happy that America decided to take a a chance; he believes Obama’s win will have an impact on residents in Toronto.

“Toronto is a major international financial centre. What happens in the U.S. will affect us here,” Hughes said.

Obama won the presidency with 349 Electoral College votes to Republican rival John McCain‘s 163.