Building Wall Collapses onto Sidewalk at Yonge and Gould
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Building Wall Collapses onto Sidewalk at Yonge and Gould

Photo by Nick Kozak/Torontoist.

At about 12:38 p.m. on Friday afternoon, a section of a building wall above a sushi restaurant collapsed onto Gould Street. (As of 6:11 p.m., there are thankfully no reports of injuries.) Our live coverage, including reports from eyewitnesses inside the restaurant and on the street, and photos just after the collapse from inside and outside, is below.

1:26 P.M.—A story we’re following as it develops (you should follow Torontoist on Twitter @torontoist as we tweet photos and reports): a bit before 1 p.m., the brick wall of the building that houses Tatami Sushi—on Gould, just east of Yonge, right beside Salad King—fell onto the sidewalk below. CityNews initially tweeted that “people may be trapped,” though that’s not what we’re hearing more recently. We’ll be updating this post as we learn more, so stay with us.
1:31 P.M.—

Photo by @jamesclee88, taken just after 1 p.m.

1:32 P.M.—Torontoist’s Nick Kozak, on scene, tells us that it’s “Calm. No activity really. The authorities are just observing for now.” The Post is citing “reports” that no-one is trapped, and so we are now reporting on their tweeted report about a report.
1:36 P.M.—We’re waiting for photos from Nick. In the interim, you can see more photos here, here, and, from CityNews, here. CityNews is also reporting “that a sign attached to the wall that collapsed at Yonge/Gould might have pulled it down.” If you have photos or tips, send them to [email protected], or tweet @torontoist.
1:50 P.M.—We can glean a good-guess time of the collapse, from Toronto Fire’s Active Incidents board: units were dispatched to the scene at 12:40:05 p.m.
1:54 P.M.—Reader James Agnew was inside Tatami Sushi when the wall fell. Here’s his photo looking out, “about 30 seconds after the wall came down”:

Photo by James Agnew.

2:06 P.M.—Nick Warzin sends this photo, from a bit earlier. He has a few more in his Flickr set:

Photo by Nick Warzin.

2:11 P.M.—Torontoist’s Nick Kozak sends these photos from about an hour ago.
20100416gouldcollapse_nick2.jpg 20100416gouldcollapse_nick3.jpg

Photos by Nick Kozak/Torontoist.

According to Torontoist reader Bernie Chang, who was on his way back to work from lunch, and was walking on the north side of Gould, at 12:39 p.m., the wall collapsed just after “3 ladies just finish[ed] walking past….Brinks Security stop and ask if anyone was underneath and warned dazed Sushi restaurant workers to get back in. (Afraid of secondary collapse). Fire and police sirens heard as I was walking back to work.” Adds Chang: “One of the 3 ladies said she [was] ‘going home instead of going back to work’ due to the shock. Someone else suggest[ed] getting a stiff drink!”
2:21 P.M.—Toronto Police have issued a press release, saying that “Yonge Street is closed from Gerrard Street to Dundas Street until further notice.” Their release places the time of the collapse at 12:38 p.m.
2:27 P.M.—And here is one photo from Bernie, showing the scene immediately after the collapse:

Photo by Bernie Chang

The latest news on injuries is that there are, as yet, none.
2:37 P.M.—Laurie MacDougall Sookraj was also inside the restaurant. She tells us that, right after the fall:

It was pretty scary, we didn’t really know what was going on but there was a ton of dust flooding into the restaurant and there was rubble outside the windows, luckily they didn’t break, we were sitting right next to the windows. We wanted to get out before anything else happened, in case it was all about to collapse but there was confusion about which door to go out and if it was safe outside, so people started going out the door on Gould one at a time carefully over the rubble but it was right under where the bricks had come down so it probably wasn’t the best idea, but everyone got out ok and it sounds like no one was hurt outside so I guess it all went as well as could be expected. We’re still feeling pretty unnerved about the whole thing. Nobody wants to die at lunch.

2:59 P.M.—Now the question is how it happened in the first place. The Globe/CP’s report points to a large, ten-by-eight-metre sign, which a worker said “had been installed on the facade and began leaning toward the street”; the Star, though, talked to an eyewitness who cited no sign, saying instead that “It just looked like a loose brick that came out of place, but then gradually, a bunch of them just kept falling.” From a look at the rubble, we can see pieces of the faux windows that lined the building, but nothing larger—though of course we can’t know what we can’t see beneath the bricks.
3:36 P.M.—Now it’s beginning to sound like the sign, which ran along the bottom of the section that fell, was not apparently responsible for the collapse. Bernie Chang (who we’ve been talking to about the collapse since shortly after it happened), tells us that, from what he could tell, “it was only the double brick wall and the windows and frames that fell down, taking the Tatami Restaurant sign underneath down too.” Chang watched the tail end of the fall: “I heard a rumble, then turn[ed] to the building, a second later the layer of lower bricks on the second floor bulge[d] and all the bricks above slid down.”
6:11 P.M.—A final update, and a small correction: while we first called the restaurant that the wall fell in front of “Sushi Tatami,” it’s more correctly Tatami Sushi. (We’ve made the change to earlier updates, above.) Most importantly, the Star is now reporting, conclusively, that “nobody was hurt in the incident”—though it’s still not clear what caused the collapse.
For now, we’ll leave you with this shot, by Torontoist Flickr pool photographer PJMixer, of firefighters surveying the damage to the building on the south side of Gould earlier today—while across the street, at the site that once held Sam the Record Man, the results of a much more controlled demolition sit.

Photo by PJMixer from the Torontoist Flickr Pool.