Unearthing The York University Tunnel Mystery

Quick recap for those who’ve been living underground recently:

York University, specifically, the Rexall Centre, or Canadian Tennis Centre as it’s also called, the intended site of the upcoming Pan American Games, is currently at the centre of international attention over a mysterious tunnel found in a wooded area nearby.  It’s not clear who constructed the tunnel or why, but this head scratcher continues to fascinate.  The clandestine tunnel was discovered on January 14th, 2015 and filled in by police a few weeks later.  Clearly, digging this tunnel took some time, but it’s not known when the construction on the tunnel occurred. 

First Base Solutions often flies new imagery in early Spring before the trees bud in order to see ground features clearly, and 2014 was no different.  We happened to fly this particular spot on May 11, 2014.  Take a look at the images below comparing our 2013 and 2014 imagery of the site in question.  Can you spot any differences?  Do you see a tunnel entrance or a dirt pile?
2013 Orthophoto, 15 cm resolution


Our image interpretation experts like to think we can tell a which-what from a hole in the ground. Here’s our take on what we can learn from the photo:

2014 Orthophoto, 15 cm resolution

There appears to be a rectangular object about 3m long and a little more than a meter wide (about 3 x 5 feet) in the small clearing in the middle of the wooded area.  About 23m (76 feet) northeast of the rectangular object is a light coloured spot that doesn’t appear the year before, possibly a pile of dirt. It looks pretty obvious once it’s pointed out. Could the tunnel have been constructed in the summer of 2013 and no one noticed until just now? 

2013 Orthophoto, interpreted

2014 Orthophoto, interpreted

2014 Orthophoto, detail

For those who really want to dig into the details, all our aerial imagery collections, 1m contours and digital elevation models are available for sale through our online data store, MapWarehouse. For more information on what you can do with aerial imagery, please visit our website, www.firstbasesolutions.com.


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