As central Canada struggles to get back to normal following this weekend’s ice storm, some are already turning their attention to that burning question: What will this cost?

It’s too early to say for sure, especially given that the storm’s effects may not have played themselves out entirely just yet. One number we know for certain: It's costing Toronto Hydro $1 million per day to reconnect customers.

But the real impact could be felt at the checkout line. CIBC economist Benjamin Tal says retailers could get sideswiped by shoppers staying home on the last weekend before Christmas.

“While the timing of the storm suggests reduced pre-holiday spending, it is very likely that we will see above normal post holiday activity” as shoppers make up the difference later, Tal wrote in a client note Monday.

That, however, will depend on how long it will take for things to get back to normal in southern Ontario. More than 200,000 homes remained in the dark Monday morning in Toronto, even as another 100,000 got their power back. Across Ontario, some 340,000 homes were without power Monday.

Officials say power for some may not be restored until Boxing Day or later, potentially putting a damper on holiday shopping (not to mention people’s holidays).

The Retail Council of Canada is pushing municipalities to extend their working hours in the wake of the storm, warning that the holiday season is crucial for retailers.

December sales can mean the difference between ending the year in the black or the red,” the council said in a statement.

“Merchants across the affected regions are doing everything they can to service customers up to the close of Christmas Eve and again following the statutory holiday on Christmas Day.”

Sears and Target are among the retailers who have already announced plans for extended hours in the wake of the storm.

But overall, Tal expects the economic damage caused by the storm to be “negligible” — and it might even prove a positive, as reconstruction costs are in effect a kind of economic stimulus.

Tal notes that the legendary ice storm of 1998, which put large parts of Quebec and Ontario out of business for weeks, lowered Canada’s GDP by 0.2 to 0.3 percentage points. But repair activity after the storm added 0.1 per cent to GDP, offsetting some of the losses.

The Alberta floods earlier this year had a smaller impact on the economy than the ‘98 ice storm, shaving 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points off GDP, and Tal expects the impact of the ice storm to be even smaller.

“Accordingly, we do not view this storm as a major economic event,” Tal wrote.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Looks pretty! I mean the Logo on truck!!! lol

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/nmedeiros"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/nmedeiros">nmedeiros</a>:<br />

  • All signs point to ice

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/591020830/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing">onthewing</a>:<br />Road sign fringed with ice in Brampton during the ice storm that hit southern Ontario Dec 22 2013

  • B&W ice branches

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IamSteele"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/740788092/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IamSteele">IamSteele</a>:<br />Closeup on the first night. B&W in the Leeside neighborhood of Toronto.

  • Iced Line

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/591020830/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/onthewing">onthewing</a>:<br />Electrical line drooping across a neighbors driveway in Brampton during the Dec 22 2013 ice storm that hit southern Ont.

  • Apple tree branch

    Toothpick size branch

  • ice Storm

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ron_Linda"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/616822574/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Ron_Linda">Ron Linda</a>:<br />The big one in Quispamsis, N.B.

  • Eastborne Park

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />

  • Standing Strong

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Maple Leaf in ice

  • Iced Cherry

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Frozen Cherries

  • Eastbourne Park, Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Not a tree spared!

  • Frozen In Time, Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />

  • Eastbourne Park, Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />Nite Shot

  • Ice Flowers ~ Brampton, ON

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/803865400/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Derek_J_Sowa">Derek J Sowa</a>:<br />

  • Crews clear branches snagged on power lines on a closed road in Brampton, Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area — which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system — warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • An arborist cuts a tree branch dangling from a power line in Brampton, Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area — which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system — warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • A pedestrian walks down a street still closed due to downed power lines and trees in Brampton, Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area — which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system — warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • Peel Region employee Dwayne Berrigan cuts fallen limbs from iced trees in Brampton,Ont., Monday, December 23, 2013. Hydro companies in the Greater Toronto Area, which appeared to be the hardest hit by the weather system, warned some residents to brace for the possibility of being without power until Boxing Day or later.

  • Travelers line up after dozens of flights were canceled or delayed by Sunday's ice storm at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • Passengers sleep on the floor in the check-in line as dozens of flights were canceled or delayed by Sunday's ice storm, at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • Got Game

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Phil_Vriend"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/1568910464/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Phil_Vriend">Phil Vriend</a>:<br />The dolls on display at my neighbour's house also took a hit in the ice storm.

  • Workers from Stacey Electric, a Toronto Hydro subcontractor, work to repair downed power lines around Victoria Park and Denton Avenues in Scarborough on Dec. 23 after a severe ice storm hit Toronto.

  • A vehicle damaged by fallen tree branches is shown in the High Park area of Toronto on Dec. 23. A steady dose of freezing rain across parts of Eastern Canada turned roads and sidewalks into skating rinks Sunday, cut power to hundreds of thousands of people, and played havoc with holiday plans at one of the busiest travel times of the year.

  • Fallen tree limbs are stacked up in the Urban Forestry Yard in Toronto on Dec.23. A steady dose of freezing rain across parts of Eastern Canada turned roads and sidewalks into skating rinks Sunday, cut power to hundreds of thousands of people, and played havoc with holiday plans at one of the busiest travel times of the year.

  • It was his time. We all have to go some time.

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Darryl_Nielsen"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/Darryl_Nielsen">Darryl Nielsen</a>:<br />It was his time. We all have to go some time.

  • The icy hedge

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/sunil_T"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100001296030346/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/sunil_T">sunil T</a>:<br />An icy hedge in our neighborhood in Don Mills this morning.

  • A pedestrian walks under a tree blocking Wellesley Street East following an ice storm in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • Power lines dangle on Sackville Street following an ice storm in Toronto on Monday, Dec. 23, 2013.

  • A man pushes a stroller through an ice-covered street in Toronto, Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, after a storm passed through the area.

  • Ice coats tree branches as a man walks on the sidewalk in Toronto , Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, after an ice storm passed through the area.

  • People clear the sidewalks on a closed off street in Toronto after an ice storm knocked down trees and power lines in much of the city on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013.

  • John Szücs scrapes ice off his car near Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013, following ice storm.

  • Icicles hang from a downed power line on a residential street in Toronto as over 250,000 people face up to 72 hours without electricity after a storm brought heavy ice rain, on Sunday, December 22, 2013.

  • A man steps over downed power line near Dufferin Grove Park in Toronto on Sunday, Dec. 22, 2013 following an ice storm.

  • Our tree in Brampton

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100003975728308/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution">IdentityPollution</a>:<br />The ice storm tore our tree right in half.

  • Brampton

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/100003975728308/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/IdentityPollution">IdentityPollution</a>:<br />Our street got hit hard

  • Kitchener

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/iiabbieii"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://s.huffpost.com/images/profile/user_placeholder.gif" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/iiabbieii">iiabbieii</a>:<br />Our tree sure took a beating

  • @scubafantoo

    @scubafantoo: <a href="https://twitter.com/scubafantoo/status/414775553385050112" target="_blank">#ONSTORM @StormhunterTWN @StormhunterTWN @vaughanweather @JdeQuebec Brampton, Ont! pic.twitter.com/XTHTnPjh1Z</a>

  • Lending A Helping Hand

    <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/fitcheerldr"><img style="float:left;padding-right:6px !important;" src="http://graph.facebook.com/775930130/picture?type=square" /></a><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/social/fitcheerldr">fitcheerldr</a>:<br />The neighbourhood coming together to help clean up after the ice storm of 2013.

  • @LoveRadollCats

    @LoveRadollCats: <a href="https://twitter.com/LoveRadollCats/status/414808493439188992/photo/1" target="_blank">#icestorm2013 Kitchener Ontario pic.twitter.com/nAxYS8VEJ9</a>

  • @ar09

    @ar09: <a href="https://twitter.com/ar09/status/414803999263428609/photo/1" target="_blank">tree down in #icestorm2013 #darkTO #680storm #icestorm24 pic.twitter.com/zWV4wFRB9e</a>

  • ‏@elanacamille

  • ‏@fitcheerldr

    ‏@fitcheerldr: <a href="https://twitter.com/fitcheerldr/status/414795586630467585/photo/1" target="_blank">Here's a pic of our neighbourhood working together to clear the downed trees. pic.twitter.com/63qWGAVyTB</a>

  • @diego153

  • @MattBellissimo

    @MattBellissimo: <a href="https://twitter.com/MattBellissimo/status/414784624125308929/photo/1" target="_blank">Normally I'd blame lightning for something like this... pic.twitter.com/P3wX5lVUe2</a>

  • @randy_mcneil

  • Don Mills

  • Don Mills

  • Don Mills

  • @canuck10001

  • @cylonchloe

  • @cylonchloe