By Brett Gillin
On January 14th, a conservation officer working in the Black Creek Parkland area north of Toronto, Canada saw a suspiciously large mound of dirt in the woods. That officer decided to investigate, and what he found has been baffling police ever since. Underneath a large piece of wood, the officer found a large hole with a ladder leading to a chamber, around 33 feet long and 6 feet high. This curious discovery was quickly reported to local police.
The Canadian Broadcasting Company reports that Toronto police immediately began investigating the origins and intended use of the structure. Thanks to the upcoming Pan American and Parapan American Games, which will take place in Canada this summer, security concerns are heightened, and the fact that this tunnel was located just yards from the Rexall Centre, where events are to take place, makes it even more worrisome.
Although officials say that the tunnel poses no immediate threat to the Rexall Center as it was currently constructed, authorities are taking the discovery very seriously thanks to the heightened fears of terrorist attacks. The Rexall Center is set to be one of the venues for the Pan American games in July and will host some of the biggest names in tennis the following month during the Rogers Cup, according to this article in the Daily News.
According to this article on NPR, Toronto Deputy Police Chief Mark Saunders believes that this tunnel is not the work of an amateur. He explained that the hand-dug tunnel contained a gas-powered generator, moisture-resistant light bulbs, food and beverage containers, several tools, a wheelbarrow, and a pulley system. Police also found a rosary and a Remembrance Day poppy nailed to a wall within the structure.
Now, people are debating as to what the purpose of the structure is. Was it to be used for something criminal such as drug smuggling or terrorism? Was it the work of a paranoid person looking to build a sort of underground bunker to survive an apocalyptic event? Or was it some sort of elaborate prank from some students of nearby York University?
Ron Wretham, a retired Toronto police investigator, told reporters with the CBC “I think we can classify it as a bunker, as opposed to a tunnel because it doesn’t really lead anywhere and it’s enclosed and the way it’s constructed.”
The Toronto Sun reached out to local Councilor Anthony Perruzza to see if he’s been able to gather any additional information. “I’m somewhat perplexed, confused about what that’s about and who would do that,” Perruzza told reporters. “Everybody is confused about it, worried as well. People obviously speculate the worst but there is no real information that would allow you to make any kind of determinants about who might have dug it and what the reasons for it were.”
Toronto police are now asking for the public’s help in determining the answers to the many questions that are popping up. In fact, Toronto police posted “If you built a tunnel near the Rexall Centre in #Toronto give us a call, k? 416-808-2222” on their Twitter feed.
At this point, according to Public Safety Minister Yasir Naqvi’s interview with the Toronto Sun, the tunnel does not pose a serious risk to the city or the upcoming Pan American games. Police will still continue to search for answers, and anyone with information is asked to contact the Toronto Police Department.