The prospect of a collapsing, homicidal Trump spire did little to slow business in Toronto’s financial district

— Outside the quarantine zone Tuesday, life carried on as usual. Cars backed up. Fire trucks idled. Men (and women) went about their business.

But inside the cordon, in the heart of Toronto’s financial district, things were oddly, eerily calm. A lone police officer stood on Bay Street, looking bored and chewing gum, while outside the tape, office workers looked up, craned their necks and gaped.

Toronto Police blocked off a congested clump of streets in the commercial core for more than 24 hours Monday and Tuesday. The culprit: a wonky, but as it turned out perfectly safe, spire atop the Trump International Hotel & Tower.

The antenna scare provoked much mirth online. The mad lib potential of “unstable,” “Trump,” and “antenna” proved too much for most wits to resist.

Peter J. Thompson / National PostPeter J. Thompson / National PostA view of the antenna on top of the Trump International Hotel and Tower Toronto

Even the mayor got in on the fun. “I will say I smiled a little bit yesterday when I heard the words stabilization and Trump used in the same sentence,” told reporters with a chuckle.

But in the city itself — where road closures, like snakes in Australia, are a part of everyday life — most residents seemed just to curse, shrug and move on.

On the corner of Bay and Adelaide Tuesday morning, a caterer tried to push her cart through the empty road. The officer stopped her, gently, and sent her back. She had to go inside and use the underground PATH system to get her salad tray delivered on time.

Up the road, several tourists used the empty streets as an opportunity. They stood in the middle of Bay Street snapping photos with their phones, using the striking facade of Old City Hall, at Bay and Queen, as a backdrop.

By 12:40, many were ignoring the blockade. A steady stream of office types and construction workers lifted the police tape and walked up the verboten streets, while around them new gawkers appeared to point up at the supposedly unstable spire.

From the north, the Trump International’s antenna looks like a narwhal’s tusk, jutting out of one corner of the building in a decorative flourish.

RelatedToronto mayor calls for investigation into unstable Trump Tower antenna as streets remain closed

The trouble with it began Monday morning, when, according to the mayor’s office, workers on the roof noticed a possible problem with the platform beneath the spire and reported it to police. The police then contacted the city, which ordered the surrounding streets closed “out of appropriate concerns for public safety,” said a spokeswoman for the mayor.

It took more than a day for engineers to assess the situation and satisfy the city all was safe. Once that was done, at about 4:30 Tuesday, police pulled down the tape and reopened the roads on time for the afternoon commute.

Tyler Anderson / National PostTyler Anderson / National PostThe antenna spire of the Trump Tower on Aug. 31.

Monday was not the first time troubles at the Trump have snarled Toronto streets. In 2012, a pane of glass fell from the building, which is owned by a development company, damaging cars and forcing police to temporarily block off the intersection of Bay and Adelaide.

For his part, Tory vowed to get to the bottom of the latest shutdown.

“He will be looking to see how the situation was handled by the property owners — and by city officials and agencies — and what additional accountability measures, if any, are needed,” his spokeswoman said.

In the financial district, even the prospect of a collapsing, homicidal spire did little to slow business. While the streets above were closed, the underground PATH teemed with traffic.

Bankers moved between banking buildings. Stock brokers bustled. The food courts overflowed. Danger may have loomed, in other words, but the work, as it always does, carried on.

National Post, with files from The Canadian Press

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About Richard Warnica