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U of T Steam Tunnels
University of Toronto

Deep underneath the campus of the University of Toronto lie the utility tunnels that carry superheated water and electricity from the Central Utilities Building to various parts of campus. And the only evidence of their existance are hatches in odd places in the ground, visible light coming from under grates in the roadways, and melted snow during the winter.</p>

Location attributes for U of T Steam Tunnels
Location   Toronto, Ontario
Built :: Closed   Unknown :: N/A
Status   Active
Difficulty   ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Hazards Risk   ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Security Risk   ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
AUE Rating   ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Extending to almost every corner of campus, the utility tunnels have long been a forbidden part of camous for the explorer. Entry to the tunnels is generally difficult, with entrances hidden behind multiple doors with secure locks. And the maximum penalty for a student caught down there is expulsion; I'm sure non-students will find the book thrown at them. Oh, and utility workers are known to be down there until the late evening and reappear in the early morning, so you have a narrow timeframe to work within down there.

As for hazards in the tunnels, there are plenty abound. Hot pipes, cramped spaces, utility leaks, sharp metal edges, asbestos pipe lining, water leaks, dark corridors, large metal valves to smash your head and body into (both above you and at chest level), high voltage power lines... the list goes on. In essence, the tunnel networks are a playground of pain if you have no idea what you're doing down there.

And never forget what is in those pipes down there, either. I went tunnel running in early November 2007, and stopped 10 feet short of running straight into a burst gage. The entire tunnel was full of high pressure and hot steam... hot enough that I got within 4 feet of the burst and instantly broke into a major sweat. Lesson: Don't fuck around with burst pipes. Just hightail it in reverse.

Worthwhile, though? It depends. If you're a tunnel fan, then you'll be right at home down there, and there are plenty of nooks to explore, sealed tunnel entrances that make you wonder where they went to, and out of place objects that make you inquire why the hell they're even down there. If you're not, though, then the narrow spaces and hazards will probably make the exploration very unenjoyable.

But if you are a tunnel fan... then you must get down there at some point.

Tunnel Runner - March 2006 (Non-Public Content)
Northward, Ho! - November 2006 (Non-Public Content)
Boiling Over - May 2007 (Non-Public Content)
Pressure Cooker - March 2016 (Non-Public Content)

Almost nine years later, I finally make my return on a night where the boilers were cranked to 110%...

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