A large swath of Toronto’s downtown core lost power on Thursday afternoon, leaving many office buildings, a major mall and a university campus with no electricity in the middle of the day.
Hydro One said it was working to restore power as quickly as possible. A spokeswoman said the outage appeared to be related to the transmission system. Toronto Fire Services said a call came in at 12:32 p.m. related to a crane that knocked down three to four power lines, which could have caused the outage, but it was too early to attribute an exact cause.
“This is an all hands on deck situation and we’re looking to see how we can reroute power, to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible,” Tiziana Baccega Rosa said in a phone interview.
A Toronto Hydro outage map showed reported outages stretching south through the financial district, north to Toronto Metropolitan University and affecting the the bustling Eaton Centre mall as well.
Many traffic lights were out, and police were helping to direct vehicles in the busy stretch near the Eaton Centre. In a Twitter post, police reminded people to treat intersections as four-way stops if traffic lights are out.
Many workers in the downtown core headed into the sunshine as the outage disrupted their workday.
“We were just doing our work and it cut out, but it’s just forcing us out on a nice day, so it’s not too bad for me,” software engineer Riaz Virani said.
Zeus Sequeira, who works with the Royal Bank of Canada, was heading into a meeting when he learned out of the outage. He said he was hopeful workers could apply their flexible work skills learned during the pandemic to adapt to the situation.
“I think it will be a minor inconvenience, may affect productivity a bit, but it shouldn’t really impact our ability to deliver too much,” he said. “It’s an inconvenience, though, for sure.”
Toronto Fire District Chief Stephan Powell said fire services has responded to around a dozen calls related people trapped in elevators
A spokesman for the Toronto Transit Commission said some downtown subway stations had lost full power briefly but it had been restored. The TTC’s King Station, in the financial district, was on emergency power, said Stuart Green.