Raccoon causes power outage for thousands in downtown Toronto

The power is back on after an outage affected about 7,000 Toronto Hydro customers in the downtown core on Thursday evening.

Hydro One says the blackout was the result of a raccoon making contact with their equipment at a downtown Toronto station shortly after 7:30 p.m. Thursday. The raccoon did not survive the incident, according to utility officials.

Areas bounded by St. Clair Avenue West to Gerrard Street West and Avenue Road to the Don Valley Parkway were affected. The power was restored around 10:15 p.m.

Toronto Fire officials said they responded to a high number of elevator rescues while traffic lights and Line 1 TTC service in the area were also affected by the outage.

Hydro One spokesperson Tiziana Baccega Rosa says the utility is looking at ways to make sure raccoons and other wildlife stay out of transmission stations. 

Baccega Rosa says animals are often attracted to the warmth emanating from power stations, adding the utility takes the situation “very seriously” and will look at “whatever measures” it can put in place to prevent similar outages from happening again. 

She pointed to the utility’s other animal protection efforts, such as when crews build elevated platforms to help dissuade osprey from nesting on top of electricity poles, where the nests could be at risk of tumbling onto the lines below. 

Preventing animal-related outages at power stations can look like building an enclosure around certain equipment, she said.

“When we realize, ‘OK, animals have taken to the station,’ in some places its known based on environmental information and others it’s sort of like, this is a new spot or did they break through something,” she said. 

“So, I think there’s more to learn about on our end.” 

Files from The Canadian Press were used in this report

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