Toronto tunnel mystery: Police solve mystery, says it was harmless "man cave" built by two "blue collar guys."

Canada’s Mysterious Tunnel Was Really Just a Harmless “Man Cave,” Say Police

Canada’s Mysterious Tunnel Was Really Just a Harmless “Man Cave,” Say Police

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March 2 2015 1:05 PM

Mysterious Tunnel Was Really Just a Harmless “Man Cave,” Say Police

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The Toronto skyline as not seen from the young gentlemen’s “man cave.”

Photo by Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images

Canada’s Great Tunnel Mystery is no longer a whodunit—but it appears destined to remain a head-scratcher nonetheless.

Toronto police announced Monday that they had found the two men who were responsible for digging the elaborate tunnel that briefly piqued the Internet’s interest last week. After speaking with them, however, officers decided that the men had gone through all that trouble for “personal reasons,” and that there was nothing more to worry about.

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“It’s very strange. I’m not going to say it’s not,” Detective Scott Whittemore told the National Post on Monday. “The big question is ‘Why?’ You know, having worked in homicide for six years, a lot times the question ‘Why did this happen?’ is very rarely answered. You just try to deal with what you’ve got. But that’s the million-dollar question.” Whittemore described the two amateur excavators as “just blue collar guys” in their early 20s who were not professional tunnelers or engineers. “They were forthright and kind of — I don’t know what the word is — apologetic,” the detective told the paper.

The unidentified pair won’t face criminal charges for digging the 30-odd-foot tunnel that was found near York University and the Rexall Centre, which will host the 2015 Pan American Games this summer. The reason for that, as Deputy Chief Mark Saunders put it simply last week: “There is no criminal offense for digging a hole.” If the cops wanted to be sticklers, they could probably find a minor mischief-related charge or two, but they have no interest in that. “There’s no sense wasting the court's time,” Whittemore said Monday.

For those of who missed it last week (I don’t know, perhaps you were distracted elsewhere), police went public with the tunnel after discovering it last month when a conservation worker stumbled across it. Officials turned to the public to help them solve the mystery, and that’s ultimately what happened. Given its location near the Rexall Centre, there had been some speculation that the tunnel—which experts said likely took weeks to build—could have been terrorism-related, although police never seemed overly concerned on that front.

“It is simply two guys who just wanted to dig a cave,” Toronto police spokesman Victor Kwong told CBC News. “That really is what our investigation has led to ... they just wanted to dig a cave to hang out.” The two men, however, will need to find a new place to do just that—police have since filled in their tunnel.

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City.