A van parked on the north side of the sidewalk, as well as a light standard, fell into the hole. A high-pressure natural gas line was escaping, as well as a water pipe. Seven buildings were without power.
“We don’t have the basic information to formulate a plan yet for the next few days,” said Anthony Di Monte, the city’s emergency and protective services general manager. People in the mall were evacuated. The Rideau Center, the Westin Hotel, the Shaw Center and businesses along Rideau Street between Sussex and Dalhousie were already evacuated soon after the collapse. Ottawa police are advising residents and tourists to avoid the area. “We just don’t know how long it’s going to take … it’s a significant sinkhole in the downtown core,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said at an emergency meeting of city officials. It’s unclear why the sinkhole formed but it is near a construction site for Ottawa’s light rail system, which is slated to be complete in 2018. Before the sinkhole formed, the road was only open to buses and taxis. Now, some streets are closed.