A broken water main caused a power outage in the city’s downtown core today, prompting the closure of stores and tourist attractions and leaving some residents without power for nearly 12 hours.
Toronto General Hospital and Sick Children’s Hospital operated on emergency power.
The City of Toronto opened Metro Hall for condo and apartment-dwellers who were left without heat as temperatures outside hovered well below freezing. Personnel from the Red Cross were on site.
Power began to be restored just before 7 p.m., and was fully restored by 7:45 p.m., said Karen Cormier of Toronto Hydro.
At about 7 a.m., fire crews were called to a water main leak at a power station at 532 Bay St., near Dundas St. Hydro crews shut off power before 9 a.m. after the water main caused flooding at the facility.
The power was shut off for safety reasons, according to Toronto Hydro.
Buildings between Grenville and Pearl Streets from George St. to University Ave. were without electricity for much of the day.
Ryerson University and the Toronto Eaton Centre were closed and not set to reopen until Monday.
“We don’t know the extent of the damage (of the leak),” Hydro One spokesman Alan Manchee told a news conference this afternoon.
The ramifications of the outage would have been worse had it happened on a weekday, Manchee said, as it struck much of Toronto’s financial district.
“I’m not sure you could say any time is a good time for an incident like this,” he said. “(But) it’s good that it happened today rather than a weekday.”
Manchee said power was restored incrementally to avoid overloading the system.
Power was returned at the Eaton Centre and Ryerson University, along with most of Yonge St., just after 7 p.m.
Cormier said there was no significant damage done to Toronto Hydro’s equipment and that any replacements needed will be made by mid-week.
During the outage, Staff Sergeant Duggan of Toronto Police said a section of Bay St. was completely closed and several traffic lights in the surrounding area were not functioning.
Toronto Transit Commission subways and streetcars ran at regular speed, though some stations were a little dimmer than usual because emergency lighting was being used, said TTC representative Marilyn Bolton.