The owner of a silver Ferrari abandoned in a flood-prone downtown Toronto tunnel last month will soon be revving the engine on a new 2014 vehicle thanks to publicity generated by a famed photo of his car in over a metre of water.
"RSA (Insurance) Group came through, they paid 100 per cent of the loss, and Ferrari thought it was great publicity and gave me a very good deal," said lawyer Howard Levitt, whose 2010 two-door sports car was photographed in an idle pool of water in a Lower Simcoe Street underpass after a record rainfall drenched the Greater Toronto Area on July 8.
'If I had not left the car when I did ...I would have drowned.'—Howard Levitt, Toronto lawyer
Levitt said he narrowly escaped from his car as the underpass south of Front Street quickly flooded when a water main broke.
"If I had not left the car when I did ...I would have drowned," said Levitt, describing how cellphone lines were jammed that night as he attempted to call 911 for assistance.
A brief downpour during the early evening hours on Tuesday created a similar scene at Lower Simcoe as two Beck taxi cabs stalled in the middle of the tunnel with passengers inside.
Toronto fire Capt. Murray Manson described the tunnel as a "dangerous" and a "problem" area most likely due to its proximity to Lake Ontario.
Levitt said he was told the same thing the night of his own incident.
"The officer that night told me it happens anytime there's any kind of rain," Levitt said.
A review of the sewer system at Lower Simcoe has been ordered and Coun. Janet Davis said the city needs to make some hard choices about a $1.7 billion water repair backlog.
"We don't borrow money for water infrastructure, we don't use property taxes for water infrastructure, we need to look at development charges," Davis said.
"I think there's a real recognition here that there is a problem and that we have to come up with more revenues to address it."