underground Toronto

5 things you didn't know were underground in Toronto

There's more underground in Toronto than just the PATH, the subway, and the sewers. In fact, there's everything from solid gold to rotting garbage hidden beneath our feet; you just have to look for the clues.

For urban explorers and believers in urban legend, the subterranean world is a happy hunting ground. Abandoned subway stations and disused tunnels make for great photographs, and even better stories (who can forget the one about the secret alien city)?

Here are 5 real things you didn't know were underground in Toronto.

A massive Hydro station

Toronto Hydro's underground infrastructure made headlines after an explosion in a vault near King and Yonge, but the spot where that took place is tiny compared to the new Copeland Station buried under Roundhouse Park, which will fuel much of Toronto's downtown power needs when it's fully up and running.

Gold bullion

Far below Scotia Plaza, in what is the deepest excavated basement in the city, lies a high security bullion vault, the only of its kind in Canada. Few people outside the bank are sure quite how much precious metal is stored down there, though we know that ScotiaMocatta, the bank's gold bullion division, accepts deposits at Scotia Plaza.

Reservoirs

Sir. Winston Churchill Park hides a secret beneath its massive lawn, one that's on display now as its massive water reservoir is reconstructed. Along with the nearby Rosehill Reservoir, these sprawling tanks supply a large portion of downtown with clean, crisp drinking water. There are a total of 10 underground reservoirs in Toronto.

Enwave tunnels

District heating company Enwave uses a network of tunnels beneath city streets (and the lake) to provide heating to buildings in the downtown core and as far north as Queen's Park. Many of the most recent tunnels, excavated and bored in secrecy, date from between 1998 and 2004. Check out Michael Cook's site Vanishing Point for photos.

Private bowling alleys

Back in the days when churches doubled as community centres, many congregations set up theatres, gyms, and bowling alleys for the enjoyment of parishioners. Eastminster United Church on the Danforth has its own basement bowling alley that dates from 1924, so too does Knox Presbyterian Church at Spadina and Harbord.

Writing by Chris Bateman and Derek Flack.

Lead photo by

Toronto Hydro at Copeland Station


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