4th falling glass incident at Four Seasons Yorkville in as many years
By: Ieva Lucs
Bay Street is now open after falling glass closed a section of the downtown Toronto artery late last night due to a panel shattering on the penthouse suite at the Four Seasons Residences in Yorkville.
Toronto Police said the call on Bay Street north of Bloor Street came in just after 10:30 p.m.
“Luckily, no one was hurt, but people did see smashed glass all over the streets,” said 53 Division Staff-Sgt. Michael Hamilton-Greener.
“We take this incident very seriously and worked diligently to take all necessary precautions to resolve this matter as quickly as possible. The safety and security of our guests and neighbours remains of utmost importance to us,” the Four Seasons said in an official statement.
This is the fourth incident of glass falling from the luxury residence since 2013.
University of Toronto engineering professor Doug Perovic said this type of incident usually occurs because the glass has an impurity which, after it’s tempered, swells and explodes, raining down shards of glass on the street below.
“It’s quite likely that there are batches of glass that are not good,” Perovic said.
There have been dozens of incidents like this affecting Toronto condos over the last decade, he said.
Perovic said that is because there are few manufacturers making the glass, and many condo developers got stuck with the same bad batch.
The exploding glass will generally occur in the first seven years, and Perovic said if it lasts beyond that these incidents are less likely to happen
Perovic was the expert called to speak at a class-action lawsuit brought against three condo developers by 1,200 residents who had been barred from their balconies while workers replaced glass panes. The decision to do a mass replacement came after 15 panes of glass fell from one of the Murano Towers at Bay and Grosvenor Streets between April 2010 and September 2011.
Franca Miraglia was living with her husband in the Shangri-La Hotel on University Avenue when glass fell from one of the balconies in the spring of 2014. The hotel saw glass fall three times during a 10-month period.
She woke up early one morning to take her dog for a walk and found the street below the hotel blocked off and shattered glass all over the ground.
“When I found out what had happened, I had the distinct feeling of having my stomach fall,” Miraglia said. “Even in this place that is so beautiful and so carefully crafted, it is not safe. I felt sick to my stomach.”
New Ontario building code regulations were passed June 2012 to address some of the problems that cause such incidents. However, those regulations only pertain to condos built after July 1, 2012.
Events like this can cause city residents to think the sky is falling. Perovic said even though his knowledge allows him to see with “X-ray vision” what is happening inside a faulty panel of glass, he isn’t walking around downtown looking up with anticipation or fear. He currently sits on a committee seeking to bring in laws ensuring that glass quality standards are much higher than now.
“Because of the shattering effect of the glass, the probability for serious injury isn’t likely,” Perovic said. “Engineering is the science of serving people. If there’s a problem, we get our hands around it and contain it.’
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