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Journal: The Eye Bank


University of Toronto - Best Institute and the Eye Bank by Liz (February 2002): From the ground level of the Toronto General Hospital, we decided to check out a tunnel we'd visited before that shoots off of the first floor College wing. This tunnel is marked by a set of green doors on either end, but the first time we tried them, the doors were locked on the far end. This time they were not. We entered a building we had not explored before a startling bright green and black-and-white place with all kinds of neat woodwork and strange extinct medical-style equipment. We headed up a few storeys and found bizarre mechanical rooms and abandoned filing cabinets naming diseases we'd never heard of. Boxes of slides with urine specimens lay atop cabinets in seemingly-abandoned hallways. What a strange part of the hospital, we thought.
        Up on the top level, we found a few signs of life animal testing facilities with keycarded doors and unfriendly signs. One level further up Ninj found a nice ladder to an elevator room, but I was too hot to do any more climbing. (It is a universal rule of institutions that on the first warm day of the year, they will not adjust their thermostats from the "hot as can be" setting, even if it means the whole building is 342347999991 degrees).
        On our way back down to ground level, we paused to look out a window in one of the stairwells.
        "Hey," I said, "Where exactly are we?"
        Ninj joined me in looking outside, both of us perplexed as to why the street we were looking at was none of the four that border Toronto General Hospital.
        "Uh...I think we crossed the street," Ninj said. We had. That tunnel at the beginning? It led under College street over to the University of Toronto. We weren't in the hospital at all! No wonder we'd never explored this wing. Oops.
       On our way back home from the hospital, we decided after many years of ignorance that we ought to know what was inside One Spadina Crescent. This building, owned by the University of Toronto, is the large, looming structure that sits in the middle of Spadina roughly between College and Bloor streets. While our friend Kate had previously advised us that this building was "creepy" and contained some sort of medical eye laboratory, we were quickly distracted by the shoddy interior and wide-open doors to just about anywhere.
       We speedily found our way to a large room marked "storage". This room, at the north end of the building, contained numerous bizarre, brightly coloured machines, and three storeys of barrels. Walking up a metal staircase to take a closer look at this barrel paradise, we noticed massive cobwebs I guess the barrel-watchman isn't on duty more than once a year. I was having fun looking around and taking pictures when I realized many of the barrels (all unmarked) were uncovered and seemed to contain differing stages of mysterious and disgusting slime. I suggested it was time to go rather than keep hanging out with the toxic waste, and so we headed out, just about bumping into a security guard the minute we left the room. Only he wasn't a security guard. He just worked for the parking authority. But it seemed like a close one at the time.
       What I didn't find out until later is that 1 Spadina Crescent actually houses a massive eye bank that's right, a repository for hundreds if not thousands of disembodied eyeballs. It was also the site of the murder of U of T Art History professor David Buller last year. Buller was stabbed to death in his office in the middle of a weekday the killer remains at large. It was speculated at the time that the building was an unsafe place to spend time, as there were so many hiding places for crazed homeless psycho killers. (While it seems more likely that Buller was killed for being a controversial gay artist, the building is still disturbing by its own rights.)

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