Men who built Toronto mystery tunnel wanted place to ’hang out,’ police say

A mystery tunnel discovered near a Pan Am Games venue in north Toronto was built by two men who wanted a place to “hang out,” police said Monday.

TORONTO — A mystery tunnel discovered near a Pan Am Games venue in north Toronto was built by two men who wanted a place to “hang out,” police said Monday.

The pair, who were tracked down thanks to tips from the public, told investigators they built the tunnel for “personal reasons” and their explanation has been verified, Const. Victor Kwong said.

Kwong said police have determined there was never any criminal intent or danger to public safety, and no charges will be laid.

“It literally was these two guys who had an idea to create a place to themselves to hang out in,” he said.

“You think about a kid making a fort, digging a hole — add 15 years to that,” he said.

Kwong said the men are not believed to be survivalists, adding they just “wanted to dig a tunnel.”

The men had “no idea” they weren’t allowed to dig in a public park and were apologetic during their interview with police, he said.

Toronto bylaw enforcement said they would look into whether any city rules had been breached and whether any tickets or fines would be issued.

Police are not releasing the men’s names, or any further details since the case is not a criminal investigation, but Kwong said there is no connection to York University, which is near the site where the tunnel was found, or the Pan Am Games.

Toronto police announced the discovery of the tunnel on Feb. 24 and released photos of the site, prompting media coverage across Canada and abroad.

The bunker, discovered in January by a conservation officer in a densely wooded area, is located 25 metres from the fence of the Rexall Centre, which is to host tennis events for the summer’s Pan Am Games.

Inside, police say they found plywood wall supports, a generator and a sump pump, as well as a rosary with a Remembrance Day poppy nailed to a wall.

Police said the chamber was almost two metres high, 86 centimetres wide and 10 metres long.

Even though the bunker “looked impressive,” the men have no formal training in construction, Kwong said.

Deputy police Chief Mark Saunders had said there was no evidence to suggest any criminal intent in the tunnel’s construction, adding “there’s no criminal offence for digging a hole.”

But he asked for the public’s help in solving the mystery and said police would continue to investigate until they discovered who built it, and that other authorities — including national and international security agencies — were notified.

The discovery of what has become known as the “mystery tunnel” made international headlines, while social media bubbled with theories that ranged from zombie hideouts to affordable housing.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Non-profits that are helping people impacted by COVID-19 can apply for relief funding

Red Deer and District FCSS can draw from a provincial pot of $30 million

Bank of Canada cuts key interest rate target while Libs up wage subsidy

OTTAWA — Canada’s central bank made yet another unscheduled rate cut Friday… Continue reading

A message from the Advocate publisher

In good times and bad, The Red Deer Advocate has been here… Continue reading

No Alberta renter will be evicted for non-payment on April 1, promises the premier

No evictions during the entire Alberta public health emergency

WATCH: COVID-19 doesn’t stop Red Deer Public Library from telling stories

Deb Isbister has been reading stories to children for more than 20… Continue reading

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

A message from Central Alberta Co-op

The COVID-19 pandemic is a global challenge that’s having a real impact… Continue reading

4 passengers dead aboard cruise ship anchored off Panama

4 passengers dead aboard cruise ship anchored off Panama

Drumheller Institution in Alberta locked down, two inmates tested for COVID-19

Drumheller Institution in Alberta locked down, two inmates tested for COVID-19

Alberta’s premier rejects call to fire health minister over abuse of citizens

Alberta’s premier rejects call to fire health minister over abuse of citizens

Trump boosts virus aid, warns governors to be ‘appreciative’

Trump boosts virus aid, warns governors to be ‘appreciative’

Marc Miller urges First Nations to delay elections during COVID-19 crisis

Marc Miller urges First Nations to delay elections during COVID-19 crisis

Most Read