Downtown Toronto suffers power failure, some bank branches locked
A power outage in Toronto's downtown core on Thursday left the offices of Canada's top businesses in the dark, forced the evacuation of one of the city's biggest shopping malls, caused some bank branches to be locked and trapped people in elevators.
Hydro One H.TO, Ontario's biggest electricity distribution company, said in a tweet it was investigating reports that a barge carrying a crane came into contact with high-voltage transmission lines and it was trying to reroute power to Toronto Hydro, which distributes electricity in downtown Toronto.
Toronto Hydro said nearly 10,000 customers were affected.
Toronto is Canada's biggest city and its financial capital, and the central business district is home to the biggest banks, insurers and stock exchange operators.
The power failure saw workers from downtown towers spill onto the streets, taking to sidewalks and parks, while shutting down many cafes and restaurants during the peak business hours.
Toronto Fire Services said it had responded to "numerous calls" for people trapped in elevators during the power outage.
Branches of the biggest banks, including Royal Bank of Canada RY.TO, Toronto-Dominion Bank TD.TO and Bank of Montreal BMO.TO, in the area were locked, and staff were seen sitting in the dark in some locations, according to a Reuters witness.
Neither of the three banks made any immediate comment.
Underground subway operator TTC said its services were normal though the outage tripped air conditioning. TTC warned that streetcar customers might experience major delays.
The Toronto Stock Exchange said its offices temporarily lost power but its systems did not. University of Toronto said some buildings were impacted.
The outage caused traffic lights to stop working in one area, according to a Reuters witness. Toronto Police told people to treat those intersections as four-way stops.
The outage started around noon EDT (1600 GMT).
The power failure comes just over a month after a system glitch at Rogers Communications Inc RCIb.TO crippled telecom services for the large number of users and services across Canada for nearly 19 hours.