You know that feeling when you hear a rumor and need to play detective?
Years ago when I was a freshman at U Waterloo I heard rumors of interconnected passageways beneath the student residences (northwest campus side) - subterranean hallways that were since closed due to assaults and other unsavoury activities. I have no official source to verify this, but it sparked my curiosity.
(The closest I could find now: https://uwaterloo....stalgia-and-trivia
The idea was that the Student Life Centre connected to the residences.
So I began to pay close attention to my surroundings on my way to and from classes, quietly testing unmarked doors around campus, exploring hallways.
I told some friends and we quickly became familiar with the public, interconnected hallways - which surprisingly connected from the south campus to the north west. Impressive public pedestrian systems that spanned most of the campus. So perhaps, there was some validity to a hidden tunnel system.
Years passed, and we never found anything to verify those initial rumors. And hope began to fade.
By my 4th year at U Waterloo a new major technological building was being constructed in the heart of campus nearby the Student Life Centre. So naturally, we made regular visits to explore during its construction. We hit the rooftop and marveled at the sparkling new rooms over a span of a few months...
One spontaneous night of exploring, we decided to check out some of the funky and fancy equipment. These massive metallic capsules.
The adventure eventually led to the basement. We weren't all too interested in the idea of a dead-end...
But we kept pushing onwards, and realized that the tunnels were extending way past the physical size of the construction building.
Naturally we had to blend in.
Eventually the steam pipes led to a hallway ended at a metal door. It was a push-only door. Checking the frame for any electronic alarms, we decided to slowly open the door.
There was a burst of light. And we could hear people. And see people. We were so confused.
It was the Student Life Centre. With no sign of any interior construction at the student life centre, the construction site we had entered had seemingly interlaced itself with another older, existing steam tunnel system. I was mind blown.
When the door closed behind us, the door simply blended into the basement level of the SLC. No outside handles to enter from public access, just a plain grey door.
My sense of adventure stirred and it was like I rediscovered the spark of wonder all over again.
Let this be a lesson to always keep exploring - and if you're at U Waterloo, I would not be surprised if there are other systems hidden in plain sight in some of these large buildings.
Also check out the York University tunnel stories!
Wanted to share this for old times sake for the spirit of exploration.