2012 Villain: Breaking Condo Glass
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2012 Villain: Breaking Condo Glass

Nominated for: causing bodily harm to civilians below, and leaving those above without panels in their balconies.

Torontoist is ending the year by naming our Heroes and Villains: the very best and very worst people, places, things, and ideas that have had an influence on the city over the past 12 months. From December 10 to 19, we’ll unveil the nominees, grouped by category. Vote for your favourites from each batch, every single day! On December 19 and 20 the winners from each category go head-to-head in the final round of voting, and on December 21, we will reveal your choices for Toronto’s Superhero and Supervillain of the year.

As if transforming one of the most diverse cities in the world into a denser metropolis wasn’t challenge enough, now we have to worry about falling objects of mass destruction. If you haven’t yet had to pluck sharp bits of glass out of your hair, here’s what’s been going down: balcony panels have been shattering in a number of Toronto’s downtown condominiums, closing intersections and in some cases sparking lawsuits.

Freak accidents aside, the problem appears to be a manufacturing issue with the type of glass used in many buildings. The strongest, safest glass is more expensive—small comfort when there have already been been some reported injuries.

To combat the sharp-edged showers, some developers are wrapping mesh around their glass-panelled balconies as a precaution, while the provincial government was forced to act earlier this summer and implement new regulations for the type of glass used in construction. Under the new code, companies must use a material that is closer to that used in windshields (heat-strengthened and laminated) for glass that is in or near balconies. The flaw in this new system? The regulatory changes only apply to buildings that haven’t been built yet, not ones that are already raining glass over our residents.

Until a more permanent fix is implemented, we advise the Chicken Littles of the world to refrain from looking up if they’re walking near one of the suspect condominiums, or, at the very least, to carry an umbrella.

See the other nominees in the Cityscape category:

The Gardiner Expressway

An eyesore that’s creating an increasingly dangerous commute.
  The Impossible Rental Market

Vacancy rates that make renting hopeless.
  Donald Trump

Lending his name to an ugly, failing project.

Extreme NIMBYism

Taking the fear of change to irrational heights.
  Casino Pressure

Making it hard to make a good decision.
  Bike Lane Fiascos

More angry, more congested, and less safe streets.

Cast Your Ballot