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  #1  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2010, 8:09 PM
mr.steevo mr.steevo is offline
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Downtown Tunnels

Hi,

I was talking to my friend yesterday about a series of tunnels that go underneath 9th Ave and follow up Centre St. These tunnels are supposed to be over 70 years old and he said they are supported by wooden beams like an old mine shaft. He doesn't know any details about these tunnels other than that they are extensive and this is the first I've heard of it. It doesn't sound like the LRT tunnel that was constructed in the 70's as I can't imagine the city using wooden beams.

Anybody here know the history of these tunnels?

s.
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 1, 2010, 11:56 PM
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If I was to guess (and thats assuming they actually exist, I haven't heard of them before) but I'd probably say they would be for utility use and probably be fairly small. Similar to the several kilometers of tunnels running below the U of C campus (though those are all concrete) that a lot of the phone, network and heating systems run through. The LRT tunnel that exists off the south line under city hall only extends a short ways past the municipal building underneath Olympic Plaza and thats as far as it goes.
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  #3  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 12:22 AM
unibrain unibrain is offline
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Originally Posted by mr.steevo View Post
Hi,

I was talking to my friend yesterday about a series of tunnels that go underneath 9th Ave and follow up Centre St. These tunnels are supposed to be over 70 years old and he said they are supported by wooden beams like an old mine shaft. He doesn't know any details about these tunnels other than that they are extensive and this is the first I've heard of it. It doesn't sound like the LRT tunnel that was constructed in the 70's as I can't imagine the city using wooden beams.

Anybody here know the history of these tunnels?

s.
Under Chinatown, there are a series of tunnels that go from building to building. Many of these have been disconnected as utilities have been installed and renovations to the buildings themselves.
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  #4  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 4:06 AM
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Originally Posted by unibrain View Post
Under Chinatown, there are a series of tunnels that go from building to building. Many of these have been disconnected as utilities have been installed and renovations to the buildings themselves.
That's kind of interesting. Do these tunnels cross streets and avenues?
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Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 4:47 AM
unibrain unibrain is offline
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That's kind of interesting. Do these tunnels cross streets and avenues?
They dont anymore. The tunnels were nothing new as City crews had discovered tunnels connecting buildings buildings across 2nd avenue when they were installing utilities way back in the day. Nobody knew the extent of the tunnels until crews were excavating to build the iron block building near the river.

These tunnels were used to go from building to building. Some say it's for games of majong (probably deemed as gambling/illegal at the time?).
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  #6  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 3:22 PM
xAnderblaze xAnderblaze is offline
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Doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Lots of cities have such tunnels. Even some smaller towns that were around back then. The whiskey prohibition was huge business back in the day. My guess is they went between the train station and the hotels along 9th ave. Have any of you ever heard of the Tunnels of MooseJaw? Apparently they were used by Chinese railroad workers after the railroad was built and whiskey smugglers. They say Al Capone used them to smuggle booze from Canada down to Chicago via the Soo Line railroad which connected Moosejaw to Chicago. They offer tours of parts of the tunnels now because lets face it, what else does Saskatchewan really have? Anyway check it out.

http://www.tunnelsofmoosejaw.com/tours.asp
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  #7  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 9:55 PM
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Sounds a lot like the Seattle Underground Tour.http://www.undergroundtour.com/about/history.html
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  #8  
Old Posted Sep 2, 2010, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by unibrain View Post
They dont anymore. The tunnels were nothing new as City crews had discovered tunnels connecting buildings buildings across 2nd avenue when they were installing utilities way back in the day. Nobody knew the extent of the tunnels until crews were excavating to build the iron block building near the river.

These tunnels were used to go from building to building. Some say it's for games of majong (probably deemed as gambling/illegal at the time?).
I find stuff like that fascinating. Thanks.
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  #9  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 12:12 AM
SKYSTHELIMIT SKYSTHELIMIT is offline
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Sounds a lot like the Seattle Underground Tour.http://www.undergroundtour.com/about/history.html
I went on that tour a couple of years ago and was by far the most interesting thing we did in Seattle, I highly reccomend it.
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  #10  
Old Posted Sep 3, 2010, 4:44 PM
mr.steevo mr.steevo is offline
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Hi,

I'm hoping that I can convince my friend to take me down to these tunnels. The problem is the entry to the shaft is in the building my friend works at and I doubt his employer wants people off the street gaining access to tunnels from their building.

Still, I can't resist. I must see this for myself.

s.
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  #11  
Old Posted Sep 8, 2010, 4:34 AM
MarkL MarkL is offline
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Originally Posted by mr.steevo View Post
Hi,

I'm hoping that I can convince my friend to take me down to these tunnels. The problem is the entry to the shaft is in the building my friend works at and I doubt his employer wants people off the street gaining access to tunnels from their building.

Still, I can't resist. I must see this for myself.

s.
Take pictures if you do go!
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  #12  
Old Posted Sep 8, 2010, 3:04 PM
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Originally Posted by SKYSTHELIMIT View Post
I went on that tour a couple of years ago and was by far the most interesting thing we did in Seattle, I highly reccomend it.
Seconded (plus, the tour is in a very cool part of Seattle). Seattle's Underground isn't exactly tunnels though, and what they ARE is part of what makes the tour so damn cool. I won't spoil the surprise for anyone that wants to stay in the dark. Tunnel pun.

Their tour operators are absolutely excellent too. I'm pretty cynical about that sort of thing but they kept me thoroughly entertained.
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  #13  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2011, 1:58 AM
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I didn't go on the Seattle tour, but I did a similar one in Edinburgh, and it was great.

Edit: Didn't realize this was such an old thread.
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  #14  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2011, 2:15 PM
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I didn't go on the Seattle tour, but I did a similar one in Edinburgh, and it was great.

Edit: Didn't realize this was such an old thread.
Hmm.. googling around, Edinburgh's isn't really similar at all, other than the fact that it's underground. The British version of this tends to be a lot more "Disney-fied" and about ghosts and wax museums and the like. They're more like a theme park than a museum.

Seattle's underground is pretty unique and a remnant of the old city itself. It's also pretty gritty - no exhibits really, it's just been left in its natural state.
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2011, 3:15 PM
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The existence of underground tunnels in downtown Calgary would be surprising given that the water table is only a few feet below the surface.
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  #16  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2011, 5:53 PM
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Hmm.. googling around, Edinburgh's isn't really similar at all, other than the fact that it's underground. The British version of this tends to be a lot more "Disney-fied" and about ghosts and wax museums and the like. They're more like a theme park than a museum.

Seattle's underground is pretty unique and a remnant of the old city itself. It's also pretty gritty - no exhibits really, it's just been left in its natural state.
Edinburgh has several different tours though, and I've heard some are crap. The one I went on was simply a guided tour through old streets underneath what is now a group of Scottish government buildings. I'm not sure about the other tours, but mine was certainly not "Disney-fied", and not one mention of ghosts.
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  #17  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2011, 6:13 PM
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Edinburgh has several different tours though, and I've heard some are crap. The one I went on was simply a guided tour through old streets underneath what is now a group of Scottish government buildings. I'm not sure about the other tours, but mine was certainly not "Disney-fied", and not one mention of ghosts.
Damn, I wish I would have known about that then. Most of what I saw in Britain was stuff like "dungeon tours" where it sounds more like an amusement park. When I Google it that's all I see too - let me know if there's a website for the tour you went on. I've been dying to go back to Edinburgh.
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2011, 6:36 PM
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Damn, I wish I would have known about that then. Most of what I saw in Britain was stuff like "dungeon tours" where it sounds more like an amusement park. When I Google it that's all I see too - let me know if there's a website for the tour you went on. I've been dying to go back to Edinburgh.
I found the website, but it looks like you describe. I don't remember the tour being anything like that though.

Mary King's Close

I do remember the guides being in character, but most of the tour was just information about life in Edinburgh 400 years ago. I still don't remember any mention of ghosts. Plagues, yes, but no ghosts.

I remember seeing all the dungeon tours around London, and I stayed away from those. I usually avoid tours altogether actually; three months in Europe and I think I went on two or three.
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Old Posted Jun 10, 2011, 6:46 PM
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For years, the hidden Closes of Old Town Edinburgh have been shrouded in myths and mysteries, with blood curdling tales of ghosts and murders, and of plague victims being walled up and left to die. Research and archaeological evidence have revealed a truer story, rooted in fact and – as is so often the case – more fascinating than any amount of fiction.
Hmm. I actually am intrigued now. They still mention ghosts on the website but it sounds more like an actual historical tour. Basically what I'm looking for.

Thanks! I loved the old city and all of its weird alleys and such. This would totally make my day (castles get boring after a while).
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  #20  
Old Posted Jun 10, 2011, 8:04 PM
SKYSTHELIMIT SKYSTHELIMIT is offline
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Hmm. I actually am intrigued now. They still mention ghosts on the website but it sounds more like an actual historical tour. Basically what I'm looking for.

Thanks! I loved the old city and all of its weird alleys and such. This would totally make my day (castles get boring after a while).
When I was in Edinburgh back in 2000 a friend of ours was performing at a pup on the Royal Mile(actually yes bagpipes) the innkeeper let me see the underneath of the bar through a trapdoor behind the bar. There were distinctive walls and alcoves as this was the pub years ago, but now its just storage for kegs. Apparently alot of the mile was built on top of itself throughout the years.
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