Orillia Underground - Do the Tunnels Exist?

Orillia's icon Opera House with it's twin towers.So ... there has long been a story in Orillia about the tunnels under the Opera House. Do they really
exist, or don't they?  Personally, I had always hoped the stories I've read were true. It's kind of a neat story to have as part of Orillia's past ... something of note that probably doesn't exist in a lot of other towns here in Ontario.

So a group of four (see: Under Orillia) took on the challenge that for years has not been been picked up. And yes, the tunnels are there.

The same group will be releasing a film of their explorations, and the time for that is now. Or, pretty close to now anyways. On August 29th at dusk you can visit Couchiching Beach Park's AquaTheatre and have a look at what they found (see: Video Promo).

The Acqua Theatre at Couchiching Beach Park,  in Orillia.I'm pretty excited by this. I love to delve into Orillia's history, and that of the surrounding area. I've owned and read several books about this area, some of them relatively old (The Diary of Mary O'brien of which there are only a few copies in existence), and Mr. Hale's wonderful memories, as well as stories from outside of Orillia itself that often mention or relate to Orillia (Loreen Rice Lewis - she was a wonderful lady whose books I've read and treasure) are just a few of the books I've had my head stuck into over the years. The History of Rama was a daunting effort for me, but it has only a single mention from the 1800s of the name "Stinson" and that's the history I was after, and although it didn't lead me anywhere I learned a heap of information about the area.

Back when I first moved to Orillia (I guess 43 years ago now) I remember using the washroom at the side of the Opera house.  Anyone that lives any length of time in Orillia has probably been in the dungeon at some point (the washrooms of course are below the current street level). Back then they weren't in terrific shape, but still, they were kept clean and if you "got caught short" you really needed them. There used to be a boarded up door in one of the walls down there which I always thought was really odd - partly because the wall it was in and it would seem to lead no where. Someone once told me there were jail cells behind that, but I always thought there might be a tunnel if there really were rooms behind that door. I guess I always wondered why it would be boarded up, unless it was unsafe.

There is a ton of history in Orillia ... and I guess I just love the historical aspect we have here. So, whose all planning to hit the park tomorrow night? I sure am ...

One of the beach areas at Couchiching Beach Park, c. 2007/2008

























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