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Journal: From Union to the Royal York

Steam Tunnels Under Union Station Union Station and Royal York Hotel (mid July 1999): An acquaintance and I had a ridiculously successful trip to Toronto Union Station, which I'm happy to report hasn't become any more secure since the publicity this summer. If anything, it's become more inviting to visitors. The two of us saw virtually every interesting inch of the building, from the outside on the uppermost roof, to the flooded tunnel leading between the train station and the subway station, to the full run of steam tunnels in the basement. We even managed to take the steam tunnels all the way to the sub-sub-basement of the Royal York hotel! (I've made this trip once before, but the last time I did it I didn't realize what I'd found, so I wasn't able to fully appreciate it.)
         Though scarcely a single locked door stood in our way this trip, we did have a couple of close calls involving almost unbearably long and silent waits for employees to get out of our way. After one such close call in the mechanical rooms of the Royal York, we followed the tunnels through Union Station as far south as they'd take us, eventually coming upon a brand new section at the southernmost end of the system. We popped up and out of the sidewalk here, and had just snapped the grate locked behind us when we realized we were inside a fenced-in construction area with a traffic cop working busily not 20 feet away. Luckily her eye was on her job so we managed to scale the fence and leave the area without incident.

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