Residents of Toronto’s L Tower condo development (8 The Esplanade) faced a scare on Saturday afternoon, as a 15 to 18-foot-tall crane above the 57-storey curved building came crashing down.
Luckily, nobody was hurt in the ordeal -- which shut down the surrounding area in the middle of a summer Saturday -- but the building did sustain some relatively minor damage. None of the residential units were impacted, however.
But this isn’t the first time the award-winning building has faced drama in the crane department.
Back in 2015, the anticipated condo was delayed due to a work-stop order over safety concerns surrounding a crane at the top of the building.
After complaints about the tower’s eyesore of a partially assembled crane, Ontario’s Minister of Labour launched an investigation of the work site. This resulted in the ordering of a work-stop order and engineering reports to ensure the crane was structurally sound before resuming construction. However, the reports were not filed by their due date.
It didn’t take long for the crane operator to resign after his concerns that the crane would collapse were ignored by the building’s construction manager. At the time, the business manager of IUOE Local 73 stated: “We don’t believe we should be rolling the dice on a custom-made lifting device over the heads of people of Toronto.”
After sitting unused for over three years, the crane was finally removed in September 2018.
Photo by LinedPhoto on Unsplash
In what may come as a surprise to some, downtown Toronto as a whole is no stranger to crane collapses. Last summer, Toronto police evacuated multiple buildings in the Simcoe and Wellington area after a crane collapsed onto one of them. The following month, a crane came toppling down in the Regent Park neighbourhood, narrowly missing a girl (it hit her bicycle) and a male bystander.
Then, in late November, a construction crane collapsed and fell into a sinkhole at a Crosstown LRT construction site at Eglington Avenue East and Mount Pleasant Road. Thankfully -- like the other incidents -- no injuries were reported.
But this isn’t always the case. Most famously, in September 2015, a construction crane collapsed and crashed through the roof of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, killing 107 people and injuring 394 others.
Toronto remains the crane capital of North America, with over 200 cranes currently constructed throughout the city. As the race for bigger, better, and faster on Toronto’s construction front continues, it could just be a matter of time until we're faced with a tragedy if the crane-malfunction trend continues.
At very least, it's not a great look for the city if our cranes keep collapsing.