Ontario is home to country's first railway tunnel, and after years of restoration efforts, it now has a new lease on life.

The Brockville Railway Tunnel is one of the few remaining pieces of evidence of Canada's pre-Confederation industrial heritage. Over its 157 years of existence, the tunnel has been afflicted with vandalism and deterioration, leading to its gradual decline and the loss of public interest.

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But thanks to six years of revitalization projects backed by a healthy budget of $3.5 million, the tunnel has now returned to (or even exceeded) its former glory. This past Saturday (Aug. 12), the city of Brockville held an opening ceremony to celebrate the completion of Phase 1 of the project. Over 10,000 people came out to the event within the first six hours, and the tunnel is sure to bring in more tourism to the town for years to come.

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The next phase of the project involves the enhancement of the northern area of the tunnel. The final product will be a full Tunnel Park complete with its very own tour train.

The tunnel is half a kilometre long and is fitted with state-of-the-art, energy-efficient lighting that changes colours. It is open daily from 9 am to 9 pm up to September 30, 2017, and is completely free to enter. However, donations are still accepted and greatly appreciated.

Below are some safety rules to follow when going through the tunnel:

  • For your safety, the tunnel is under video surveillance.
  • Please use "WALKING SPEED" to ensure everyone's safety - this includes bicycles, rollerblades, skateboards, etc.
  • To avoid injury to yourself and damage to the tunnel, please stay within the concrete curbs and away from the tunnel walls.
  • Groundwater will always be dripping down the walls and from above in some places. Consider wearing a hat, jacket, or rain poncho.
  • Help keep your tunnel smoke-free and litter-free.
  • Be safe and proceed at your own risk. 

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