By Matt Kwong
A power outage Sunday morning crippled much of downtown Toronto, knocking out electricity all over Ryerson campus except in one building.
Pitman Hall residence, which runs on its own hydro grid, was the only campus spot still blasting heat and opening its doors to people unfortunate enough to find themselves stranded in the cold. “All I know is thank God Pitman is on a different grid,” said Residence Life Facilitator Shaun Carson.
The source of the power failure was a flooded hydro substation at 532 Bay St. Water leaking into a basement vault shut down two Ryerson residences. Roughly 200 International Living Learning Centre residents and 34 O’Keefe House residents were told to grab homework and wallets, then migrate to Pitman Sunday morning.
Students like Craig Belanger, who carries an insulin pack with him, were allowed re-entry to the ILLC if they forgot medication. The first-year Graphic Communications Management student could fall into a coma if he runs out of units, but didn’t seem too bothered by the lockout. “Just checking my sugar level. I felt a little bit down, but I’m good,” he said before heading out for a walk at around 2:30 p.m.
Belanger’s insulin supply lasted well into the evening, after power was restored in his dorm at 7:30. Dimitri Gammer, a first-year RTA student, returned at noon from grocery shopping at Dominion but found himself locked out of a darkened ILLC. “I couldn’t even go up to our room to put this stuff in the fridge,” he said.
Soon after, Gammer was convincing friends to help him finish snacks and milk before it spoiled. Meanwhile, Sunday kitchen staff from the ILLC restaurant dashed food over to Pitman to stock freezers. “We’re just trying to make sure people have enough [to eat],” said Thomas Leung, co-ordinator of the ILLC. “Students are here now. We want to make it easier.”
Some were told to ration their meal choices to one major food item.
“My staff had a limited menu,” explained Patti Franklin, assistant manager of residence. “What [students] were probably instructed to do was only eat off the buffet.”
Franklin commended residence assistants and staff members–who usually have Sundays off–for their teamwork, and thanked the stranded students for their co-operation.