No smoke without fire in downtown Toronto

Walking home last night after work, I tried to stay on the sunny side of the street as much as possible. Even though the weather is warming up, there’s still a chill in the air and keeping in the sun makes for a more pleasant stroll through the city.

My mobile sunbathing technique took me along King East and down Front Street, keeping to the south side. As I was heading west, I noticed clumps of people here and there up ahead of me, all looking up. As my gaze followed theirs, I was surprised to see a huge plume of smoke in the distance, just beyond the CN Tower and towards the lakeshore. At this point I had no idea what was happening, other than the obvious fact that a large fire was underway. Almost immediately, sirens started to sound and fire crews began to speed by in their trucks.

I took a picture. Actually, I took a few. It was the least I could do as my more dramatic side kicked in and I began to imagine this day going down in Canadian history as our very own 9/11!

Thankfully the terrorist scenario turned out not to be the case. When I got to my local pub closer to home, I found out that the top floor of a condo on Queen’s Quay had caught fire and the resulting plume was what we all saw. The smoke, however, was quite short-lived as the city’s emergency services went into action!

There were reports of no fatalities and only two injuries in the fire.

Click on the pictures below to see how exciting my life is on the way home from work.


Six Alarm Fire on Queen West

I walked along Queen West today, past the scene of the six alarm fire between Spadina and Bathurst. There were fire crews and police in abundance and the remains of some of the buildings were still smouldering, which was hard to believe given that the fire broke out in the early hours of Wednesday morning and it was now Sunday. That whole section of the street has been cordoned off to traffic and a fence had been set up to keep the public at bay. This didn’t stop people from gawking at the gutted buildings (including me) and taking photos and video of the whole mess on their cell phones. It was actually difficult to walk along the street, there were so many rubberneckers not paying attention to where they were going.

It’s sad that this fire happened, not just because of the loss of homes and businesses for the residents in the area, but because some, if not not all, of these buildings had heritage status and now they’re gone forever. That section of the city has a hip, vibrant appeal which the buildings obviously contributed to, so it’s a shame to see them just disappear like that.

Oh, well – let’s hope that whatever rises from the flames will fit well with the neighbourhood. It wouldn’t surprise me if a condo were built there. Maybe they’ll call it the Phoenix…