Toronto Earthquake

In honor of the G20 conference which is closing down our downtown, we just had a small earthquake in Toronto. I’ve never been in an earthquake before and was wondering what was happening. Not large enough to disrupt internet service, but a definite shake.


  1. Don Wagner
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    OMG!! Instability in the center of the universe!!!!

    Steve, we get them all the time out here in BC. Don’t worry, they won’t shake sense into the government

  2. ace
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    USGS reports magnitude 5.5 located approx. on the Quebec/Ontario border. Traffic webcams in Ottawa show lots of office workers outside. Must have been unnerving.

  3. dearieme
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 1:23 PM | Permalink

    There was a small earthquake in the south of Scotland thirty years ago which generated a new, natural unit of measurement. How bad was it? “It was so bad that my budgie fell off its perch.”

    • Jimmy Haigh
      Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

      I remember a small earthquake centred near Carlisle on the border between England and Scotland around New Year probably 35 years ago now. There was a classic cartoon in The Daily Mail at the time showing a couple of tartan clad highlanders sitting enyoying a New Year dram with their ‘but ‘n ben’ (small house) lying in rubble around them. One of the highlanders said: “Hell’s teeth Angus! Put some mair watter in it next time!”

      I was also in Puerto La Cruz in Venezuela on 9th July 1997 when a magnitude 7.0 earthquake struck about 100 miles away near Cumana. About 100 people were killed. 80 of them were children who died when their school collapsed. It was the last day of term before their holidays.

  4. PaulH
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

    We felt it here in Ottawa. USGS is reporting M5.5:

  5. Gary
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

  6. Ian Mc Vindicated
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

    Let me be the first to say it….earth quake casued by global warming…( might as well , apparently it causes everything from lead poisoning to snowstorms ..haha )


  7. Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    I was in Parry Sound shopping at my local NoFrills at the time,didnt feel the quake,darn.

    • Posted Jun 24, 2010 at 9:51 AM | Permalink

      I was due east of Parry Sound, in Ahmic Harbor. No shaking there either. Thinking back 50 years, I can’t ever remember a quake of any nature in the lakes region, except maybe when they were blasting for the new super highway.

  8. Debbie
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    I was at work in Etobicoke and definitely felt it! It was kinda freaky actually.

  9. Henry chance
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    This must be one of those heat induced triggers that impact plate techtonics. This too will escalate in the form of a hockey stick.
    The risk of Malaria and now this.

  10. Ed Caryl
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

    5.5? Hardly enough to make one break stride!

  11. Jud
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    5.5 here in Ottawa and it really shook things up.
    It felt like sustained blasting at a nearby building site if you know what I mean (35-45 seconds I would estimate).
    I was on a conference call with someone in Toronto so it was kind of cool to hear him relay its arrival shortly afterward.

    A good illustration of how they locate the epicenter I suppose!

  12. Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    I was in York U when it happened, felt wierd

  13. Jim Arndt
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    Just enough to lul me to sleep. We get about 20 to 30 a week here in So Cal USA. Just had a 5.7 last week though most you can’t feel but you hear them when the house makes noise. We usually get 5 or 6 a year and once a month in the 4 range. That 7.2 we had was about 120 mile from my home and you could watch the concrete bend, it was 35 to 40 seconds. When they go that long I do worry because they tend to get bigger if they keep going. We are only 60 miles from the San Andreas Fault that is due any time for a 7 to 8 (the big one).

  14. geo
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    When was the last time Toronto had an earthquake?

    5.5, if you’re relatively close to it, is certainly enough to get your attention, even with 1st world construction standards.

    geo, the recovering Californian

  15. charles the moderator
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    Everyone going on about how big a 5.5 feels is falling into the trap I have dealt with all my life here in Cali.

    Everytime there’s a quake some idiots spout off guesses at its magnitude without knowing its location or depth.

    “That felt like a 5.3!”. “Naw, it is at least at 5.9”

    I point out that is possible it was larger than 9.0 and that few buildings in Los Angeles may still be standing (we are in San Francisco).

    There is no standard about whether or not a given magnitude “feels” a certain way.

    Distance, depth, the type of fault, and the direction of plate motion are all factors which contribute to the experience.

  16. John Baltutis
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

    Must be related to the one bouncing the US/Mexican border since Easter. Nothing like a little shake, rattle, and roll.

  17. PhilJourdan
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 7:53 PM | Permalink

    I guess the G20 can move mountains! 😉

  18. Jimmy Haigh
    Posted Jun 23, 2010 at 11:52 PM | Permalink

    This is from the USGS website. The epicentre wasn’t far from Ottowa.

  19. Mark F
    Posted Jun 24, 2010 at 12:51 AM | Permalink

    I was certain that by now, some wag would have made reference to Quebec wanting to separate from the rest of Canada, and that some had predicted a seismic shift in the situation…

  20. Posted Jun 24, 2010 at 5:03 AM | Permalink

    This was exciting moment.. I was at work when it happened I was afraid .. thank god i am well.. I found an amazing video of this in action at

  21. Gracia Joalicne
    Posted Jun 24, 2010 at 8:08 AM | Permalink

    The incident really happened very suddenly, when I was working in the fields behind the house. I am grateful to still get a chance to be saved from disaster. BUt I found an amazing video of this in action at

  22. Fred
    Posted Jun 24, 2010 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    You have actually lived through many hundreds of earthquakes if you have lived in Toronto for many years.

    All that earth rebound following the last ice age melting away . . . Isostatic adjustment et al.

    But 5.5 is unusual.

  23. kenboldt
    Posted Jun 24, 2010 at 12:14 PM | Permalink

    While I acknowledge that the quake was felt in Toronto, it never ceases to amaze me how Torontonians try to take ownership of everything that happens in Canada. As stated above, the quake was centred near the Quebec/Ontario border north of Ottawa.

    After living in the GTA for the past few years, I was actually shocked that I didn’t hear people talking about the Toronto Olympics this past winter.

    For the record, this isn’t directed specifically at Steve, just at Torontonians in general who treat Toronto as the “centre of the universe” as perfectly stated in the first comment.

  24. Aaron
    Posted Jul 5, 2010 at 9:56 AM | Permalink

    The best comment I’ve heard about this earthquake to date is that it was BP’s fault. Seriously. Apparently, all of the oil is lubricating the tectonic plates. 🙂

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