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Enwave Tunnels
Deep Lake Water Cooling System

Many have spoke of it, the tunnels that run deep underneath downtown Toronto, carrying almost-freezing water to many buildings as an alternative to air conditioning. Few have seen these tunnels, and the punishment of being caught in them is hypothetically severe. But that doesn't stop everyone.

Location attributes for Enwave Tunnels
Location   Toronto, Ontario
Built :: Closed   2004 :: N/A
Status   Active
Difficulty   ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Hazards Risk   ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Security Risk   ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
AUE Rating   ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

The Deep Lake Water Cooling (DLWC) project by Enwave is designed to compliment their heating project which delivers high-temperature steam to many downtown buildings as a way of heating them. The heating project uses a separate system of tunnels, which to my knowledge have never been seen by anyone outside of those who work on them.

The DLWC project draws water from the bottom of Lake Ontario where it is around 4 Celsius, and through a heat exchanger in the John St Pumping Station, chills a closed-loop of water, which then runs through tunnels deep under Toronto (easily 150 feet below ground) to buildings that have signed onto the project.

The tunnels themselves are approximately 10 feet in diameter, bored out by tunneling machines. The pipes rest in the bottom half of the tunnel, and have been covered over by concrete which leaves only the top 5 feet or so for walking. Rather uncomfortable unless you walk down the drainage trench in the middle; it's a foot deep but occasionally has deep puddles of water in it.

Access to the system is through dropshafts at either end of the system. How long these will remain open is unknown; there are actually three (maybe more) dropshafts in the system (where the boring machines were dropped in), but they have been capped off and covered over, and it can be expected the same will happen to the currently open shafts.

There aren't many hazards in the tunnel other than the low ceiling; lights are sometimes on and sometimes off, so a flashlight is needed. Security is also very lax; the highest places for being caught are actually the dropshafts. Inside, there doesn't appear to be any form of security although that can easily change if the city thinks it's necessary.

It's definitely worth a trip if you're nearby and love tunnels. But, be aware that it is the same thing the entire way; very little changes between tunnel segments unlike many other tunnels I've been inside of.




And now, as of September 2009, the opportunity is gone. The tunnel lies beneath the ground, a closed system except to those that need access to do maintenance. The construction entrances have been sealed and paved over. Such is life.

 
 
Depths of Society - June 2008 (Extra Restricted Content)
   
 
 
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