This site has been migrated. Moved to Ontario

Know the Earth Beneath Your Feet with an App


Flyover Country is a National Science Foundation funded offline mobile app for geoscience outreach and data discovery. “The app analyzes a given flight path and caches relevant map data and points of interest (POI), and displays these data during the flight, without in flight Wi-Fi,” describes its website. It “exposes interactive geologic maps from, fossil localities from and, core sample localities from, Wikipedia articles, offline base maps, and the user’s current GPS determined location, altitude, speed, and heading.”

Source: A New App that Tells You Everything About the Earth Below You  | GOOD

Really nice for urban explorers. You could get at least some history of the area you are photographing. In time the software/ app could include information from local history (from libraries and historical societies) and even urban exploration photos taken from ruins, tunnels and rooftops.

Culvert Installations from Saskatchewan

Source: Culvert Installations

About Culvert Installations

Welcome to this collection of culverts. It’s a work in progress. Saskatchewan’s total road surface is 160,000 km, enough road, according to The Government of Saskatchewan Highways and Infrastructure, to circle the equator four times. Under all these roads you’ll find culverts. All of these culverts have stories. These are my photos of Saskatchewan culverts, the basis of a book in progress. The writing is underway.

Brenda Schmidt is a writer and visual artist based in Creighton, a mining town on the Canadian Shield in northern Saskatchewan.

Toronto’s Ninjalicious Explorer

I’ve made a screen capture of the original post because I’d like more people to understand what exploring is about. Comments are already closed on The Star website but this will link to my own post and my comments are there. Mostly, I like to keep something like this from disappearing into deep, dark archives no one knows to look for.

Toronto’s Jeff Chapman shared his urban ‘infiltrations’ of off-limit buildings, sewers and tunnels through zine and website.

Source: Toronto’s Ninjalicious explorer left a global legacy | Toronto Star

ninja1 ninja2 ninja3 ninja4 ninja5

A Tribute to Jeff Chapman: #RIPNinjalicious

Jeff Chapman (1973 – 2005) #RIPNinjalicious

Jeff Chapman was a Canadian urban explorer, known as Ninjalicious. Jeff published Access All Areas and the founder of Infiltration, zines and website.


“It’s the thrill of discovery that fascinates me. Yes, I know I’m not the first person there, but I can honestly say I found it and I earned the experience for myself. After exploring for a while, you get a wonderful feeling that you’re “in on” the secret workings of cities. You know what’s under your feet and what’s behind the closed doors and what the city looks like from the highest office towers, while almost everyone around you only ever looks at the public areas and never truly pays attention to urban structures unless they’ve paid admission to take a look.” – Jeff Chapman/ Ninjalicious

Source: Interview at Philadelphia City Paper with Neil Gladstone (1998?)

ninjaliciousThis month, August 2015, marks ten years since Jeff Chapman passed away. I thought someone should post in his honour. I never met him personally. I did email with him, twice. I met his wife, Liz, at a Broken Pencil Zine Festival in Toronto.

I attended the Festival to buy Access All Areas: A User’s Guide to the Art of Urban Exploration, see some of Jeff’s (and other publishers) zines and take a look at the Gladstone Hotel in Toronto. I was just beginning to explore with a digital camera then. Before that I just didn’t know what I was doing had a name (and film was expensive!).


A tribute can still be found at the Toronto Architectural Conservancy 

Jeff Chapman (September 19, 1973 – August 23, 2005), better known by the pseudonym Ninjalicious, was a Toronto-based urban explorer, fountaineer, writer and founder of the urban exploration zine Infiltration: the zine about going places you’re not supposed to go. He was also a prominent author and editor for YIP magazine,as well as its website,
Chapman attended York University in the early 1990s and later studied book and magazine publishing at Centennial College. He went on to serve as Editor at History Magazine and as Director of the Toronto Architectural Conservancy board.

Chapman died of cholangiocarcinoma on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 — three years after a successful liver transplant at Toronto General Hospital (a location he loved to explore). He was 31 years old.

Source: Wikipedia: Ninjalicious

Toronto’s own late Jeff Chapman (a.k.a. “Ninjalicious”) published his first printed issue of Infiltration, “The zine about going places you’re not supposed to go,” in 1996. Though Toronto may not live in the imagination of people around the world, Chapman made this city’s sewers famous for his global readers. His work lives on in Access all Areas, his book published just before his death to cancer in 2005, and at

Source: Shawn Micallef: Getting to know Toronto’s sewers

Under the alias Ninjalicious is where Jeff made his biggest mark. In his early twenties he spent long periods of time in the hospital battling various diseases. Often bored, he and his IV pole would go exploring the hospital, investigating the basement, peaking behind doors, looking for interesting rooms and equipment. It was here his love for the under explored side of buildings developed, and upon returning to health he created Infiltration – the zine about going places you’re not supposed to go.

Infiltration has had a profound influence on urban exploration in Toronto and around the world, as evidenced by the hundreds of tributes left for him in the Urban Exploration Resource forum. Ninjalicious had a strong code of ethics which he promoted, including no stealing or vandalizing while exploring. Issue 1, all about Ninj’s beloved Royal York Hotel, was published in 1996, and the zine was continually published throughout the years ending most recently with Issue 25: Military Leftovers.

Source: Sean Lerner: Torontoist: Death of a Ninja

About ten years ago I was in a Toronto bookshop and found a copy of Infiltration. Subtitled “the zine about going places you’re not supposed to go”, it was devoted to the escapades of the author, Jeff Chapman — or “Ninjalicious”, to use his nom de plume — as he explored the many off-limits areas in famous Toronto buildings such as the Royal York hotel, CN Tower, or St. Mike’s Hospital. In each issue, Chapman would pick a new target and infiltrate it — roaming curiously around, finding hilarious secrets, then describing it with effervescently witty delight. Chapman had the best prose of any zine author I’ve read anywhere. Many zinesters are clever, of course, but Chapman wrote with a 19th-century literary journalist’s attention to detail; nothing escaped his notice, from the relative fluffiness of the towels in executive lounges to the color of the rust pools in a mysterious, hangar-sized room buried below Toronto’s subway system.

Source: Clive Thompson: Collision Detection: R.I.P. “Ninjalicious” — the founder of urban exploration

infiltrationThe zine about going places you’re not supposed to go, like tunnels, abandoned buildings, rooftops, hotel pools and more.

Source: Infiltration

See also:

what is it that attracts you to going where you’re not suppposed to go?

Healthy human curiousity about the workings of the world I live in, of course. I mean, it’s free, it’s fun and it hurts no one. A harder-to-answer question would be: why doesn’t everyone?

what are the tools of your trade?

Usually I travel very lightly, with a pen, paper, a Swiss army knife, a camera and a flashlight. That’s about all the equipment I need to have a good time in 90% of the places I visit. I take along more specialized equipment — such as rubber boots or various props — for specific targets.

Source: Cancon Interview with James Hörner

A History of Toronto’s Underground Explorers

I don’t think of the drains and tunnels of the sewers often. Usually just when I notice a manhole cover on the street. I look for names and dates on those but I’m not jumping in to see what lies under them.

Following is a clipping from The Toronto Star newspaper. I’m happy I do know about most of the people mentioned in the article. I’ve reposted it here to preserve the information as an archive of Toronto’s underground explorers.


Toronto has nothing to compare to Paris’s Sewer Museum (yes, there really is one), but the past decade has seen a growing appreciation of our sewers by the “urban exploration” community. While you may have stood on a manhole cover, these folks opened it and jumped in.
Toronto’s own late Jeff Chapman (a.k.a. “Ninjalicious”) published his first printed issue of Infiltration, “The zine about going places you’re not supposed to go,” in 1996. Though Toronto may not live in the imagination of people around the world, Chapman made this city’s sewers famous for his global readers. His work lives on in Access all Areas, his book published just before his death to cancer in 2005, and at
Similarly, Michael Cook, then a student in human geography at York University, started in 2003, a lush and wistful website that continues to explore drains and more in Toronto and beyond, exchanging bureaucratic sewer designations for romantically named journeys (the Wilson Heights Storm Trunk Sewer becomes “The Depths of Salvation”). These writers make Toronto’s sewers seem as magical as Paris’s, whether it’s a late-Victorian brick tunnel in Trinty Bellwoods, or a mid-century concrete tunnel in North York.
Less clandestine is the recently released anthology by Coach House Books called HTO: Toronto’s Water from Lake Iroquois to Lost Rivers to Low-flow Toilets. The essays within parse through the layers of water under Toronto looking at wastewater sewers, storm sewers and, of course, the buried creeks – some notorious, others forgotten.


Shawn Micallef is senior editor at Spacing magazine and contributed “Subterranean Toronto: Where the masquerading lakes lay” to the HTO anthology.

Source: Getting to know Toronto’s sewers | Toronto Star

The old rivers, creeks and such do interest me. Those forgotten and lost waterways. Not so long ago in our history we just took all our fresh water for granted. As if it would always be there, mysteriously replenished without any effort on our part. Now water is an issue. Getting water, cleaning water and keeping water are all important. Those long lost streams of water are being looked at again. But, some are too polluted, too misdirected to be useful now. The greening of our water supply is something I like to read about. Not greening with algae but greening as in making it work again.

Then there are all the old drains. Some are antique, over 100 years old. People may wonder about what is down there: lost treasure, old pipes, stagnant water, etc. I admit I would like to see the old pipes, the old drains and mechanics. Did some long ago worker leave a name in a little corner niche? Did they add some extra trimmings, fancy workmanship and decorations to anything they did? What little unknown secrets are there under every city?