How An Unbreakable Window Led To Tragedy And The Closure Of A Prestigious Law Firm

The strength of windows can vary considerably depending on their uses, construction and purpose.

For example, tempered glass is very strong, but is designed to shatter into tiny pieces when faced with strong enough impacts, such as passenger windows of vehicles shattering into chunks rather than jagged shards that could cause injury.

On the other hand, the glass used for a windscreen consists of glass that is not designed to shatter, as it is an important safety device that protects the driver in the case of an accident.

Structural glass, such as those used on skyscrapers is designed to resist a wide range of impacts without the need for window glass replacement, and this led in 1993 to one of the most infamous urban myths that turned out to be true.

Garry Hoy was a 38-year-old lawyer working for the prestigious Holden Day Wilson firm in Toronto, who was seen by his peers as one of the best and brightest corporate and securities lawyers in his division.

He also loved to show off the strength of the windows of the Toronto Dominion Bank Tower as a part of his tours to new employees and visiting articling students.

He had done this many times in the past and every time he would bounce off it unharmed, and indeed on 9th June 1993, his first attempt was just as successful as his many others.

The next one, however, caused the window to pop out of the frame intact causing Mr Hoy to fall 24 floors to his death.

A spokesman for the firm noted that the glass did not break, although a structural engineer did note that building codes were not designed for an adult to run up against a piece of glass and withstand the impact.

This tragic event had a direct effect on Holden Day Wilson, who lost 30 lawyers in the next three years and would close in 1996.