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Journal: Eaton Centre

Eaton Centre
Eaton Centre
There are lots of exciting new holes to fall through and doors to check at the Eaton Centre.
Eaton Centre (February 2004): I've been poking around the Eaton Centre for many moons, having previously visited its basements and roof. Since those olden days, however, Eaton's has moved out and Sears has moved in, the movie theatre and a good number of stores have closed permanently and major construction work has begun on a new north face to the mall. Obviously it was time to bring myself up to date.
       After I did some preliminary scouting, Lost Flock and I went back for a more thorough look at the new construction. Waiting until the security guard had just finished making his rounds of the area we were interested in, we slid behind the barricades and began checking the doors of the various abandoned stores. Finding one door open, we ventured through into a hot, dimly lit construction area on the other side. We could hear someone working at the far end of the room, so we snuck about quietly and retreated after getting a few pictures of the new escalators still in their shiny foil wrapping. Leaving this area, we headed off to another under-construction portion of the building. I had just sauntered past the "authorized personnel only" door and started snapping pictures of the large holes in the floor when Flock drew my attention to the fact that a worker was actually in the room with us. We hurried elsewhere.
       We returned to the mall with eight other people after the third Toronto explorers' meetup, and we broke up into three groups to see if any of us could find our way down to the overhyped "underground city" that is the mall's shipping and receiving area. Pouch joined Flock and I, and the three of us headed off to Sears to ride the elevator down to an interesting area Flock had previously noticed. Grabbing the elevator at level -1, we took it down to level -3. The elevator doors opened to reveal a barren and primitive-looking room, but when I stepped out to take a look at the Simplex-locked door at one end of the room an alarm went off almost immediately. We tried to look unfazed as we took the elevator back upstairs to try a different approach.
       After a fair while scouting out possible entrances to the employee corridors, we managed to find a route that wouldn't require us to walk through a door labelled "authorized personnel only". After about a minute of strolling through the bendy employee corridors we came to a dead end, and encountered a fellow sitting there having a smoke. "You're in the wrong area," he said. "What are you looking for?" I told him we were looking for the washroom and he gave us some directions. We thanked him profusely and then headed the opposite way.

Eaton Centre
We eventually reached our goal, the massive three-level-below-ground shipping area some call the "underground city".
       Moving deeper into the employee corridors, we soon established a fairly regular rhythm of moving silently when we thought stealth would work best (as when we snuck past open doors) and loudly talking to each other about our day at work when we thought confidence would work best (as when employees passed us in the corridors). Finally making our way down past an empty security office, we came out into the enormous receiving area only to encounter an Intercon security guard fiddling endlessly with his van. After dodging from him for a bit (while trying to still look confident in case anyone was watching us on any of the many security cameras in the area), we headed back into the service areas and took a long stroll through a seemingly endless maze of rainbow-coloured corridors until, after a close call or two, we eventually emerged where we wanted to be, on the far side of the receiving area.

Eaton Centre
We looked for a way to follow the sign reading "Exit Via Tunnel".
Eaton Centre
Deep inside the corridor maze, we came across an abandoned office, an empty locker room and some nastily neglected washrooms. (The motion detector seen here was off.)
       Now it was time to see what lay beyond that sign labelled "Exit Via Tunnel". Leaving the receiving bay and strolling through another short set of corridors, we emerged onto a curvy parking ramp that, unfortunately, led up rather than down. We emerged in another large shipping bay, this one devoted to Sears and the Marriott Hotel specifically, and disappointedly headed into a new set of employee corridors, this one blue. After heading down some stairs and finding an abandoned office, a locker room and some fairly nasty washrooms, we passed a security guard whose CB was telling him to look out for a specific individual who, I thought, sounded like me. Fortunately, the guard seemed to have someone else in mind and basically ignored us.

Eaton Centre
Eaton Centre
We explored the two underground levels of construction before heading up to street level.
Eaton Centre
       We now passed through some very poorly secured doors into the basement of the same very hot construction area Flock and I had visited previously. Finding the area a little emptier this time, we explored a little more thoroughly, and eventually journeyed up the scaffold stairs three storeys to street level at the corner of Yonge and Dundas. Unable to find an exit other than the way we'd come in, we began to head back out via the employee corridors. We were almost out when suddenly we passed by a set of doors with windows cut into them and saw a security guard looking our way. Pouch said he thought the guard had seen us, and Flock and Pouch immediately began to hurry away. I urged them not to hurry, and by the time the guard opened the door and stepped into the corridor behind us the three of us were walking at a calm pace and talking to each other confidently. Even as I was debating with myself whether we should stop or run if he yelled at us, we came to a set of stairs leading outside, and happily bounded up and out into the rainy evening.

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