Friday, 17 January 2020

Ottawa Underground Legend

Some urban legends have more truth to them than we think. My own city, I discovered recently, has a few as well. Way back in 2012, there were reports of an abandoned rail tunnel, complete with train, compiled by an enterprising journalist of the Ottawa Citizen. He looked into rumors that someone had found an entire train just abandoned beneath the earth. So he went digging.

Bar side tales told that there was an abandoned train tunnel in the depths of Ottawa. Perhaps from an original attempt to get the city an underground rail system for its street cars, or maybe it was from an old brewery. For the latter, it was out of use since 1967, and no one had seen it since.

That was, potentially, until 2015 when some workers literally fell through the floor into the old tunnel. Needless to say, they were quite surprised and no one could figure out why it had been hidden. Mapping it out on old municipal maps, the rail line was discovered to extend perhaps as far as Carp and Rockland either way.

Now, its not clear from this latter article whether the tunnel in question refers to the conclusions of the 2012 Citizen article that the 'abandoned subway' is a part of the old brewery tunnel, or whether this is a completely different small rail system. There has been precious little follow up journalism on the subject, and it seems that it may well fall into the topic of urban folklore once more.

However, the fact that one has just happened to turn up is both fascinating and perhaps a little alarming. It should make us pause at just how many secrets cities, even small ones of only over a million, can hold after so many years. What else could be lying just beneath our feet?

A special shout out to Voices in the Attic for originally sharing and bringing this to my attention. They've got a great spooky Twitter feed to follow too. Definitely check these guys out!

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