Thursday, May 17, 2007

On Wednesday, it was raining rocks in Toronto. A 115 Kilogram marble panel fell 51 stories from the side of First Canadian Place, 100 King Street West, which is the heart of Toronto’s Business district. The panel was one of many that were identified as a risk during an inspection.

The rock fell onto a third story roof, where its fall was broken.

There were no reports of injuries, but the event snarled traffic in Toronto, as many major roads were closed. It also backed up street car traffic along King Street. King St. W. from York St. E. to Bay St. is expected to be closed for several days. Traffic continues normally now along all other previously closed streets.

As investigations continue, an expert has commented that there is no need for alarm. David Bowick, a professor of architecture at the University of Toronto, says such incidents are rare, given the improvements to architectural technology over the years. Several experts, Bowick included, have commented that the incident was probably caused by a major storm which occurred Tuesday night.

Bowick added that natural materials like marble have inherent flaws which are susceptible to such destruction.

According to the official website, First Canadian Place, constructed in 1975, is 2.8 million square ft., has 72 stories, and is still today Canada’s tallest office building (tallest skyscraper) measuring 298 metres in height. It has 3-levels of over 120 offices, banks, restaurants, and stores.

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