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article imageSlab of marble falls off Toronto's First Canadian Place

By Bart B. Van Bockstaele     May 17, 2007 in Business
A marble tile measuring 1 by 1.2 metres and weighing 140 kg fell off the 55th floor of First Canadian Place in Toronto.
Missing slab of marble - Photo by Bart B. Van Bockstaele
Missing slab of marble - Photo by Bart B. Van Bockstaele
First Canadian Place was the highest office building in Canada when it was built in 1975 and it remains unchallenged to this day. It is located at 100 King Street West, between Bay Street and York Street, in the very heart of the city’s financial district. It is one of Toronto’s tourist attractions. Over 16 million people are said to visit the building annually.
Two days ago, Tuesday May 15th, a 140 kg slab of marble fell off First Canadian Place onto the third floor mezzanine. Fears that it might happen again has led the police to close King Street West and Adelaide Street between Bay Street and York Street for all traffic.
Wednesday late afternoon, Adelaide Street was opened again, to the great relief of motorists. King Street West will remain partly closed however, possibly until the end of the week or at least until all marble tiles have been checked.
King Street West is closed - Photo by Bart B. Van Bockstaele
King Street West is closed - Photo by Bart B. Van Bockstaele
The marble tiles are normally checked once every six months and during the last inspection several hundred were identified as “at risk” for falling off. The risk was not considered an emergency, and no one had expected this accident to happen any time soon. Tiles that are considered at risk are routinely replaced. This probably explains the different colours of the tiles.
Exactly from what floor the marble tile has fallen, seems a matter of debate, the numbers given by the media vary greatly. However, if the owners of the building are right and the building has indeed 72 stories (which seems accurate), the slab of marble must have fallen from the 55th floor.
I went to see the building and I took some pictures of it late Wednesday afternoon. Unfortunately, the rain prevented me from taking sharp pictures. I also made a few movie clips of a workers crew hanging outside the building as they were inspecting the tiles.
First Canadian Place in the rain - Photo by Bart B. Van Bockstaele
First Canadian Place in the rain - Photo by Bart B. Van Bockstaele
I went back Thursday morning to take some more pictures. There were no workers, unfortunately, but the pictures of the part where the marble slab fell off, are a lot sharper because it didn’t rain.
An event like this could well have ended in tragedy. It didn’t. And exactly that makes this event so special, even hilarious to a certain degree.
More about First canadian place, Slab marble, Toronto
 
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