My father called me up yesterday around noon to give me the news: the Uptown Theatre, on Yonge Street just south of Bloor, collapsed during demolition and did serious damage to neighbouring buildings, including one active school. One person was dead and twelve injured, including three children.
I didn't really know what to think. It's a sad and horrible disaster, of course, but I didn't picture the Uptown Theatre in my mind. Reactions and reminiscenses from fellow Torontonian bloggers did help jog my memory, but I still can't remember the last time I visited the theatre, or what movie I saw when I did. I now vaguely remember, as a child, walking past it on Yonge Street and seeing, on the marquee, Police Academy 3. It was a grand old theatre, I'm told, but I'm probably one of the reasons why it was shut down and undergoing demolition.
I can picture the stretch of Yonge Street, now that I've read more about the incident and the history of the theatre. I've walked past there a few times. It's an alarmingly high-traffic area to have something like this happen. I've heard rumours that some safety measures may not have been taken by the demolition company, so I would hope that a government inquiry will get to the bottom of this affair. I can at least take solace in the fact that emergency services were on the scene quickly, the new mayor was quick to respond and well informed, and, most of all, there were few injuries and the disaster wasn't as bad as it could have been.
What surprises me is the level of coverage this incident has had in the global media. The BBC, CNN and ABC all have coverage of the disaster. I'm touched by the concern, but a little perturbed that this appears to be the only thing able to capture international attention for my old home town.