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A Giant Sinkhole Has Opened Up Near Canada’s Parliament

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has long talked about Canada's crumbling infrastructure — now he has a perfect example.

by Justin Ling
Jun 8 2016, 5:20pm

Justin Tang/CP

Ottawa's main street is sinking, and one vehicle has already gone in for a swim.

A chasm sucked up part of the Canadian capital, swallowing one van, taking out a watermain, and causing a gas leak that forced police to evacuate the area. The city's mayor says, however, says it's too early to tell what caused the cavernous hole.

The massive hole opened up on Rideau Street on later Wednesday morning, sucking pavement and street signs deep underground, where engineers have been tunneling for months to build a new metro system for the city's downtown core.

The sinkhole wrecked the street just outside the Rideau Centre, Ottawa's downtown mall; and just adjacent to Canada's Parliamentary precinct.

The rapidly-growing lack of ground is a mixed blessing for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who spent much of the last year arguing that Canada's aging infrastructure is in desperate need of replacement.

As of Wednesday afternoon, there was no plan to have the prime minister visit the sinkhole.

While Parliament itself, which sits just on the other side of the Rideau canal, wasn't affected, hotels and buildings immediately surrounding the sinkhole were evacuated due to the gas leak, including Ottawa's main convention centre.

But while that tunnel would seem an obvious culprit, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson told reporters that it was too early to tell what caused the void.

As the National Post points out, Ottawa hasn't had great sinkhole luck. Another hole opened up in 2014, thanks to the construction of its light rail transit line.