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Toronto CN Tower closed, Blue Jays game cancelled as ice storm leaves trail of destruction across GTA

A man walks by the Rogers Centre as reports of falling ice from the CN Tower sparked a closure of parts of the area on Monday.

COLE BURSTON/The Canadian Press

The massive ice storm that ravaged the province over the weekend forced the postponement of Monday’s Blue Jays game after ice falling from the CN Tower punched a large hole in the retractable roof of the Rogers Centre.

The team officially cancelled the game against the Kansas City Royals just more than an hour before the first pitch was planned, nearly seven hours after chunks of ice began to fall from the CN Tower about 10:30 on Monday morning. The tower itself was closed about 11:30.

By mid-afternoon, the Rogers Centre outfield was covered in three tarps to catch water and ice coming through the tear in the roof over right field. By 5 p.m., the hole appeared to be covered, but officials still deemed it too much of a safety risk; the game will be made up by the teams playing a doubleheader on Tuesday.

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Other buildings in the area were also hit with ice, shattering windows and causing some damage. Constable Allyson Douglas-Cook with the Toronto Police said police shut down the area directly under the tower − including the pedestrian bridge into the Rogers Centre − to keep people safe from the falling ice.

“We’re monitoring it to see whether we need to expand that any further,” she said. No injuries were reported.

Workers examine a hole in the top of the Rogers Centre.

COLE BURSTON/The Canadian Press

The storm, which began on Saturday and continued until late Sunday, saw freezing rain, hail and sleet and winds reported at up to 100 km/h leave a trail of destruction from Windsor, Ont., to Quebec. On Monday, more than 80,000 people were still without power in the province. The storm also caused school closings, cancelled flights and flooding across the province.

One of the more unusual victims of the storms was a 25-foot art installation in Humber Bay that was swept away into Lake Ontario.

El Corazon, a figure made entirely of driftwood, used to sit lakeside with a bright red heart on the left side of its chest.

Julie Ryan and her art partner Thelia Sanders-Shelton installed the piece in September.

“It’s made of driftwood, so we know it’s only temporary,” Ms. Ryan said. “But it still kind of bruises your soul a bit when it goes away.”

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Although the heaviest rain and sleet had moved east of Toronto, Environment Canada issued a rainfall warning for Southern Ontario for Monday, saying another 20 to 30 millimetres of rain were expected.

Hydro crews were still working on Monday to repair power outages caused by winds and fallen trees on power lines, Toronto Hydro spokeswoman Tori Gass said.

“We’re dealing with a lot of very small outages that are spread out across the city, so it’s not just a few big ones where we’ve got easily determined restoration times,” Ms. Gass said. “We’re still getting to a lot of the calls.”

A man walks by the foot of John Street in Toronto on Monday.

COLE BURSTON/The Canadian Press

There have been more than 534 tree-related calls to Toronto’s 311 service line since Saturday morning, and the city says there are currently more than 60 forestry crews responding to them. They are prioritizing areas where there is a risk to the public or property, as well as roads and Toronto Hydro.

Sergeant Kerry Schmidt of the Ontario Provincial Police tweeted that there were more than 200 car crashes in the Greater Toronto Area on Monday, bring the total since the storm began to 1,600.

But another challenge lies ahead for Toronto. Low-lying areas in the city, such as the waterfront, are at increased risk of localized flooding and ponding in the coming days, city official Wynna Brown said.

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She said crews from across the city are out monitoring for flooding and are particularly concerned with catch basins.

“They’re making sure there are channels through any residual snow or ice that are on the roadways, for example, to those catch basins to facilitate the dispersal of water,” Ms. Brown said.

She also advised residents, concerned about the potential for property damage, to clear the snow from the catch basins on their streets or near their homes and shovel snow away from the foundation of their homes, as well as ensuring eavestroughs are free of obstruction.

Residents who see localized ponding or flooding should call 311, Ms. Brown said.

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