Urban Exploration in Toronto, Valentine's Day Style
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Urban Exploration in Toronto, Valentine’s Day Style

A little over a week ago, couples (and triads and other amorous groupings) got together to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Tradition would hold that you choose a warm, inviting environment in which to toast the holiday of love—a candlelit restaurant, fireside rug, or scenic overlook—but not everyone is so bound by convention. One couple, at least, found a more creative way to mark the occasion: sushi in a Rosedale-area storm drain.

Urban exploration (UE) is the practice of investigating those parts of a city which aren’t meant for public access: abandoned factories, locked roofs, transit tunnels, sewers, and other hidden-in-plain-sight spaces. Toronto has a very active urban exploration community—one whose members’ identities are by necessity undisclosed. And a few days ago, one of these members made a delightful discovery.
In Rosedale, in a carved-out space most of us will never see, was a neatly set-up table for two, complete with tablecloth and heart-shaped arrangement of tealights. The discoverer (who did not reply to our emails) surmised that the hideaway had been the scene of a Valentine’s Day tryst, and posted photos of his charming find on Reddit and to Urban Exploration Resource, a popular UE forum.
Sure enough, another member of the forum soon replied—the very woman for whom this dinner had been created. (She also declined to respond to our inquiries.) She described the locale as a storm drain—the original poster had called it a sewer, so this was something of an upgrade—and reported that “it certainly was the best V-day surprise I’ve ever received.” She also allayed the concerns of some of the UE community, who were distressed that the couple had left the remnants of their meal in the drain rather than taking everything with them. “The cleaning crew has been delayed,” she told the forum, “but will be returning soon to pack everything up.”
Late last night we spoke with Alex, the owner/manager of Urban Exploration Resource, and like us he was charmed by the romantic interlude, and curious to learn more about its origins. He told us that the Rosedale drain in question is well-known within the UE community, but that he hadn’t seen a set-up like this before.
Even our cynical, Hallmark-holiday-mocking hearts are warmed.
Photos by enkideridu/CheapSteak; you can view the full set of images here.