beirut explosion comparison

This is the damage the Beirut explosion would have caused to major cities in Canada

The news of the horrific explosion in Beirut, Lebanon has rocked cities around the world, prompting a flurry of donations, prayers and condolences to everyone affected by the tragedy.

As of Friday, the devastating warehouse explosion has claimed the lives of 150 people and injured thousands more.

It's impossible for Canadians to fully comprehend the scale of the blast that tore through Lebanon's capital city, leaving city blocks covered in shrapnel and rubble. It's impossible to truly understand the devastation and pain that the people of Lebanon are going through.

But some chilling maps give at least some frame of reference for how far-reaching the damage was in Beirut by offering an approximate comparison to cities in Canada.

For example, if the blast of 2,570 tons of ammonium nitrate had taken place in Vancouver and radiated 10 kilometres from the blast site like it did in Beirut, then it would sweep across North Vancouver.

Popular tourist destination Granville Island would have suffered immense damage, as would much of Vancouver's city centre.

If the blast happened in Winnipeg, the explosion could have wiped out the city's airport, as well as the Manitoba Legislature Building, the Manitoba Museum, and several other major landmarks.

And if the explosion occurred in Toronto on the waterfront, the city's densely populated neighbourhoods would felt the repercussions, including Danforth Village, Yonge and Eglinton, and High Park.

It's important to note that all of these comparisons are merely estimations, of course; in reality, the topography of a city, air density, and other factors play a role in shaping the scope and severity of the damage.

For example, a city with an uphill area or a coastline can impact the speed of a shock wave, according to Joanna Merson, a cartographic developer at the University of Oregon.

"Google maps are, of course, projected in Web Mercator, which does not show distance equally across different latitudes," Merson wrote on Twitter. "Scale and projections matter."

Lead photo by

United Nations

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