Underground Tunnels in Victoria BC
Pompeii, arguably the world’s most famous lost city, sits partially submerged beneath Naples, Italy. Buried by a sudden and massive plume of volcanic ash, Pompeii was all but forgotten, having only been discovered in 1748. Since then numerous excavations have revealed parts of its history – an ancient labyrinth of streets, including buildings and artifacts.
The notion of underground tunnels run rampant in Victoria, BC. Though not quite as elaborate, underground tunnels, unbeknownst to cyclists, pedestrians, and automobiles, lie beneath the roadways of Victoria, BC.
Here are four underground tunnels you didn’t know existed.
Broad Street East West Pedestrian Tunnel
Staring towards your feet as you walk along Broad Street, you’re likely to walk across grids of glass blocks. Purple in hue, seemingly offering light to what lies beneath, adds plenty of curiosity to most tunnel enthusiasts. Though underfoot, the hidden space is actually an areaway not a tunnel, and simply extended the basement of a neighbouring building.
From the Parliament Buildings
Having driven and walked past the nondescript Douglas Building on Government Street many times, it’s exciting to learn of the tunnel that runs beneath. Intended to offer dry access between the Parliament buildings, the ‘Bunker’ (as it’s known), then to the Douglas Building, a tunnel, now locked to the public, runs beneath government street. It’s suggested that such tunnels run throughout the legislative precinct.
The Hall of Wonders
Developed to divert Bowker Creek under the land home to Hillside Mall, the resulting tunnel is known as The Hall of Wonders. A gallery of sorts, the tunnel is decorated with graffiti, some images depicting the beginning of the universe and the history of life on earth. Bold statements adorn the darkened corridor too – in varied colours and fonts, you’ll see the words, “Run”, “Beware of what lies ahead,”, and “Call your mom more often”.
A former hot-spot for the historic Hudson’s Bay Company, a vast yet easy-to-overlook wall in Victoria’s downtown core previously warehoused goods for trading. Built-in 1858 and stretching above a low lying parking lot, the cobblestone retaining wall divides Wharf Street from the waterfront below. Previously opening into a warehouse, it was only 2013 when a stonemason repairing deteriorated mortar, discovered a hidden room or a passageway that runs beneath Wharf Street.
Other West Coast Tunnels
Though Victoria tunnels are creek diversions, basement extensions, or access-points, other cities have tunnel networks previously catering to subterranean storefronts, underground subcultures and the sordid nightlife. Underground tours are possible in Seattle as well as Portland.
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