go to content

This Is What It’s Like To Explore A Sewer

"I’m not ashamed to admit that on some excursions underground I’ve felt a bit like Indiana Jones...”

Posted on

Jeremy Kai is a Toronto-based photographer and urban explorer who fearlessly journeys into the dark underbelly of Toronto's sewers.

After graduating from the Ontario College of Art & Design, Jeremy has spent the last eight years documenting the storm drains and sewers that lie hidden beneath the streets of Toronto. What he discovered is a labyrinth of 19th century tunnels that few will ever see.

Jeremy tells BuzzFeed about his explorations:

"What interests me most about cities is their relationship to the natural landscape. The Toronto of 150 years ago had numerous creeks and rivers that zigzagged through what is now dense neighborhoods and skyscrapers."

"Since we cannot stop the flow of water, we buried it below the surface to fit the needs of the urban topography."

"To walk through these entombed rivers, some which were buried in the late 19th century, is like stepping back into time. Many of the tunnels have unique architectural qualities that very few people will have a chance to appreciate."

"If I had to choose a term to describe my photos, it might be 'romantic urban archaeology'. I’m not ashamed to admit that on some excursions underground I’ve felt a bit like Indiana Jones when I discover something fascinating."

"During storms, rain from the street gets diverted directly to these pipes–it doesn’t take long for water levels to rise and become extremely dangerous."

"Luckily, I’ve never been in the situation where I had to rush out of a drain because I’m always careful to check weather forecasts and conditions before exploring."

"Underground, the risks are subtle but dangerous. You could slip, you could drown, you could fall down a shaft, you could pass out from gas inhalation, or you could even get arrested and charged with trespassing and mischief."

"If I’m ever in the position where I feel unsafe, I assess the situation and might decide to turn around and leave. Obviously you should never go down a storm drain or sewer when it rains. That’s the golden rule."

"But the goal is always the same: I want people to see their city beyond the visible and the obvious. Beneath the veneer, there are hidden places of grandeur and historic significance that will never appear on postcards or travel reviews."

To view more of Jeremy's work, check out his website and Instagram. And to pick up your copy of his book River Forgotten, please visit koyamapress.com.

Every. Tasty. Video. EVER. The new Tasty app is here!

Dismiss