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Toronto tunnel’s builder comes forward, says it wasn’t really a tunnel at all

The self-described “main digger” of the Toronto tunnel has come forward, saying it was meant as a private hideaway and a “fun project” to challenge his construction know-how.

In an interview with the Toronto Sun published Thursday morning, Elton McDonald, a 22-year-old construction worker, said the project was never meant to be a tunnel at all. “I was going to expand it to have a couple of rooms,” Mr. McDonald said. “I was hoping to put in a TV. I did some barbecuing there. It was more a place to hang out.”

The discovery of the tunnel in January, and its announcement to the public last month, raised a host of questions about who built the mysterious tunnel and why – many of which were left open when, this past Monday, police ruled out any criminal charges and said their investigation was closed. Here is what we now know so far.

Why was it built there?

The site was found behind York University’s Rexall Centre by a worker at the nearby Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Mr. McDonald has lived in the nearby Driftwood neighbourhood for years, and told the Sun the tunnel site had been there for more than two years prior to its discovery.

How was it built?

Inside the tunnel, police found a sophisticated bunker reinforced with a wood frame built out of plywood planks. “The individuals responsible for building it clearly had some level of expertise in ensuring its structural integrity,” Deputy Chief Mark Saunders told reporters on Feb. 24.

Mr. McDonald told the Sun he had help from some close friends and used equipment borrowed from his boss, including a gas generator. This was how the police found him, Mr. McDonald said: They traced the equipment back to his boss, who then identified him. (“My boss was not mad,” he added.)

What’s the deal with the rosary?

The tunnel also contained a rosary with a Remembrance Day poppy attached to it, which Mr. McDonald told the Sun was “kind of for protection. It was for good luck, a prayer.”

Where’s the tunnel now?

When policed were finished investigating the site, they filled it in.

With reports from Ann Hui and John Lorinc

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