Major power outage that affected over 22,000 homes and business on the coldest night/day of the year.
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Power back on in west end.
Paola Loriggio and Jaspreet Tambar
Power has been restored to all areas in the west end of the city affected by a massive blackout that left thousands in the dark and cold starting Thursday night.
Mayor David Miller announced the return of hydro service to the entire area around 9:40 p.m. Friday.
Full subway service, which had also been interrupted by the blackout, had resumed in time for the afternoon rush hour.
The Bloor-Danforth line was back in service around 2:30 p.m.
As a precautionary measure, Miller said that seven reception centres set up as part of a contingency plan to keep residents without power warm will remain open until midnight.
The reception centre at Parkdale Collegiate Institute, at 209 Jameson Ave., will remain open all night to assist residents whose homes are too cold to stay in tonight.
Miller thanked the residents of Toronto for maintaining a sense of community amidst the disorder of the blackout and for helping one another out, particularly the elderly.
“I want to thank Torontonians for their co-operative efforts during this challenging time and all City staff for their quick response to the outage and the strong sense of caring for the people we serve,” he said.
He further added that there had been no increase in crime or serious incidents for the duration of the blackout, with the exception of two fires caused by candlelight. Police increased patrols in affected areas.
The seven reception centres open until 12 midnight are:
Metro Hall: 55 John St.
York Civic Centre:2700 Eglinton Ave. W
J.J. Piccininni Community Centre: 1369 St. Claire Ave. W.
Castleview Wychwood Long Term Care:351 Christie St.
Memorial Community Centre: 44 Montgomery St.
Harrison Pool: 15 Stephanie St.
Trinity Bellwoods Community Centre: 155 Crawford St.
Pets are not permitted into reception centres. Officials remind people to take along their medication if they decide to visit a centre.
City of Toronto staff continues working at the Operations Centre to monitor the return of residents to their homes.
Elderly or people with disabilities who may require assistance are advised to call 416-392-9391.
The TTC had been working all day to gradually shrink the number of affected stations, which stretched from Jane to St. George from about 5 a.m. to around 8:30 a.m.
The Carlton streetcar, which had been on diversion, was also back on its normal route by 2:30 p.m.
Power had been restored by 3 p.m.to about 75 per cent of the approximately 22,000 households originally affected.
Power went out in most of the area from Jane St. to Spadina Ave. between Queen St. and St. Clair Ave. W. around 10 p.m. Thursday, when a pipe broke inside a Toronto Hydro power station on Dufferin St., just north of Bloor St.
Dave O'Brien, chief executive of Toronto Hydro, said the transformer station, which is shared with Hydro One, has eight huge circuit breakers not unlike those in a home's electric panel.
Waist-deep water in the hydro vault coming from the burst pipe in the Hydro One section of the station forced Toronto Hydro to shut down all eight breakers.
As of 3 p.m., six had been dried out and put back in service, he said, but two were still too wet to use.
In a public statement late this morning, Toronto Mayor David Miller urged Torontonians to visit or call any elderly or disabled friends or family members to see if they need assistance coping with the power outage.
If they are unable to contact vulnerable friends and family, city workers can be sent to check on them. The phone number for Access Toronto is 416-338-0338.
The outage also forced the closure of dozens of schools.
Even as the subways slowly returned to life, people crowded around bus stops along Bloor to squeeze aboard the coveted shuttles.
Some pushed and elbowed for a spot, eager to warm up after a long and bone-chilling wait, and many buses were too full to stop for passengers by the time they were mid-way through the route.
Meanwhile, with the morning rush in full swing, many commuters wondered if they should just head back home.
"It's Friday, I don't really want to work today," said Jennifer Lightbody, 25, as she mapped an alternate route from Dufferin to her job near Leslie station.
"I'm hoping I can go home, sleep some more," said Lightbody, whose apartment was plunged into the dark and cold last night. "I don't have heat, but I have cats - they're like little heating pads."
Janina Jaremus took refuge at her Bloor St. office this morning, where the heat - if not the electricity - still worked.
Her home on Delaware St. was frigid overnight, despite Jaremus's attempts to bundle up, she said.
"I thought I was going to freeze to death," she said as she fetched coffee for her co-workers at a nearby Loblaws.
If the power didn't return by early evening, Jaremus said she would visit her daughter in Etobicoke, "and hope for the best."
"We've got all sorts of grief. Traffic lights, houses, everything," said Staff Sgt. Devin Kealey. Police have called in extra units to patrol intersections, he said.
Police are also asking residents to remove their vehicles from the main roads, or else they may be towed to ensure traffic flow.
All schools in the affected area were closed for the day. All community and recreation centres, libraries and day care centres in the affected area were also closed. Libraries or recreation centres that had power welcomed residents seeking warmth. With files from Henry Stancu, Christina Commisso, Jesse Mclean , Thandiwe Vela, Tess Kalinowski and John Spears