From Halifax to Oshawa and Saskatoon to Prince George, pockets of hope persist amid recession gloomTORONTO, March 26 /CNW/ - 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 there? 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 land. - 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. For much more on each of these communities, see this week's issue of Canadian Business magazine, on newsstands beginning March 26. About Canadian Business magazine: Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving, best-selling and most trusted business publication in Canada. Canadian Business stands alone as the business magazine in Canada with 100% paid circulation. With a readership of more that one million, the magazine is published every second Monday, except in January, July and August, when monthly issues are published. Special annual issues of Canadian Business include the Investor 500, the MBA Guide, the Rich 100 and the Best and Worst Boards. Visit www.canadianbusiness.com.