The big news this week was that several downtown merchants had had enough of the hippie-dippy "It'll be worth it," be-cool speak of Guelph Remastered and went all invasion of Panama on City Hall. You don't get something for nothing in this world, and although I'm sure the merchants on upper Carden would appreciate the construction crew stepping on the gas a little (especially after nearly half a decade of construction), the old adage is true: you can't fight City Hall. Or you can, but but you can't really match the time and resources they have at their disposal.
But I'm here to lament another signature piece of Downtown Guelphicana: the Graffiti Tunnel, the underground passageway that connects Neeve St to the lot behind the Greyhound terminal. It's walled up now on both ends, and I believe it will never be unwalled again, which is a shame because it's one of those minor aesthetic touches that I think makes the downtown rather interesting. Even though, ultimately, it was rather useless on a practical level.
While sometimes waiting for the Toronto bus early in the morning on a weekday, I noticed that people arriving to work downtown, but parking on the other side of the tracks, would simply walk across the tracks rather than use the tunnel. No I can understand the fear or dark tunnels... at night, but drug dealers and criminals usually aren't working at 8 in the morning. Still, the obvious functionality of the tunnel, through a combination of fear and laziness, meant it only sat there and left to crumble.
Instead, the Graffiti Tunnel stood more as a conversation piece, a location of interest, and an ever-changing, organic art gallery. I know some people don't see the art in graffiti, or at least the graffiti that is actually artful (spray-painting your name in a funky font doesn't count). It was a little touch of seedy underbelley that was also mostly safe. A fascinating little detail of downtown that doesn't make much sense and might even be a little out of place. I don't know if the blocks will come off, or if the tunnel will be reopened, but I'll always have a fondness for it. Call me crazy.