Police in Toronto, Canada were reportedly alarmed to learn that a mystery underground tunnel was discovered by a conservation worker in a wooded area, near a venue which will be hosting the 2015 Pan Am & Parapan American Games.
The 33-foot-long, 6-foot-high tunnel was found by accident, according to authorities, on Jan. 14.
"This was a fluke discovery,” Deputy Chief Mark Saunders said. “It was a conservation authority worker who was simply patrolling the forest … he found a gas canister on top of a small pile of dirt and decided to take a closer look. He shoved away some of the dirt and underneath that was a flat piece of wood that was covering a hole. He pulled that off and looked down and saw a ladder.”
Upon discovering the tunnel, the worker immediately called authorities and police conducted a search of the area.
“Police were called and went down into the tunnel and discovered this wasn’t the work of children, this wasn’t some kind of prank, this was highly sophisticated,” CBC’s John Lancaster said. “The walls had been reinforced with heavy timber, the ceilings had been reinforced, there was also a sump pump and a hose connected to drain the water out of that. There were lights and tools left behind.
“There was also evidence of food and beverages down there,” Lancaster added. “One of the oddest pieces that was found down there were some rosary beads and a Remembrance Day poppy.”
Police said there was no evidence to suggest criminal activity played a role in the tunnel’s existence, nor was there any indication that machinery was used in the excavation process.
“It’s not so much the tunnel that has police so concerned, it’s the fact they don’t know why it’s there and who put it there and what the motive for this may be,” Lancaster said.
Saunders said he and other officers are investigating the tunnel to determine why it was constructed.
“We’re trying to find and establish who built it, why they built it and what were their intentions,” he said.
Saunders added that the tunnel did not appear to be illegal.
“There’s no criminal offense for digging a hole,” he said. “There is nothing that suggests this is criminal in any sort of form.”