Canberrans making the most of a public holiday were evacuated from the north quarter of the Canberra Centre on Monday after a sprinkler was activated in the Wood and Coal restaurant on the ground floor of the food court.
An Emergency Services Agency spokesman said the sprinkler had activated the Canberra Centre's emergency evacuation procedure with nearby restaurants and the Dendy Cinema evacuated as a precaution.
Wood and Coal manager Andrew Duong said the "very sensitive' sprinkler was set off about 11.30am and it had been a busy morning with staff working to prepare the restaurant for the dinner service.
Mr Duong said no customers were in the restaurant when the sprinkler was activated and it was good to see the Canberra Centre's emergency procedures working as planned.
One local restaurant said the evacuation lasted for no longer than an hour and many businesses had reopened to customers about 12.15pm.
The ESA spokesman said it was not known what caused the sprinkler to activate although he stressed the incident posed no danger to customers and businesses.