‘Digger’ with Tunnel Vision

By Gerald V. Paul

Elton McDonald, who dug the now-famous tunnel near York University, is using his fame to raise money on Facebook to create a program to employ youth.  Facebook Photo.
Elton McDonald, who dug the now-famous tunnel near York University, is using his fame to raise money on Facebook to create a program to employ youth.
Facebook Photo.

Elton’s Tunnel Vision Fund is now digging, oops, trending on Facebook

“My name is Elton McDonald. You may know me from the media as the ‘Digger’. I am starting this fundraiser to help me accomplish my goals of starting a business as well as give back to the community,” McDonld posted.

He said he plans to start a construction business and begin “a program where I can employ youth from my community.”

McDonald, 22, has said he dug his now-famous reinforced hole in the ground near York University because he just wanted somewhere to hang out with friends and was simply fulfilling a childhood dream. After police learned of the hidden tunnel, there was wide speculation it might have been built for illegal purposes, which their investigation eventually debunked. Police said no law was broken and no charges would be laid.

“I just planned on basically having it as a spot where I could chill,” McDonald said, adding he sometimes barbecued just outside the tunnel and hoped to eventually expand it to include a few extra rooms.

McDonald says his program would involve youth along with himself dealing with lawn maintenance. This will include cutting and raking grass, installing and uninstalling interlock walkways and planting trees and creating garden spaces.

“This youth program would take place in the summer and if enough money can be raised I will be beginning it this summer. Through this program I plan to teach youth the skills that I have learned doing this sort of work,” McDonald revealed.

He said money raised will go towards providing youth with breakfast in the mornings, costs for equipment and tools, transportation, workshops and fun outings. “This fundraiser will help with bringing my vision to reality.”

Already the response is positive, he said. “Thank you for your support and believing in me to his Facebook following.”

His profile photo on Facebook shows a handsome young man wearing a white T-Shirt and white hard hat. He is employed by a construction company.

McDonald’s posting has resulted in an online outpouring of support and comments. A sample:

Michelle Romeius posted, “Elton the tunnel builder. Full calendar out soon.” Dave Tabone noted, “Loved the tunnel Elton” while Kelly Ann Earl posted, “You are just awesome … you tunnel digger you … $$.”

Christina Lee posted, “Do you want to build a tunnel, come on let’s go and play, I never see Toronto’s underground anymore, come out the door, today’s a sunny day! Build a woman cave for my buddies, so we see no light from the sky. Do you want to build a tunnel? It doesn’t have to be a “tunnel” Hahaha this is my song for the tunnel builder in T.O. with a happy face. Elton McDonald, genius!”

McDonald posted on February 20: “This is what I do man I build homes,”  with a photo of a home under construction.

Meanwhile, when The Camera contacted Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA), they said they don’t expect to pursue charges over the tunnel which was illicitly built on conservation land.

However, “I would urge the public not to dig any holes on our property again,” TRCA Enforcement Officer Brian Moyle said.