People thought it was definitely a terrorist plot: who would dig a 10-metre long tunnel, tall enough for an adult to walk through, without nefarious intent? When earlier this month Elton McDonald revealed he’d spent two years digging the Toronto tunnel to create his dream hangout spot, where he’d barbecue and listen to music, the nation was captivated. A twist ending but a relatable one to some: who hasn’t dreamed of a haven, one capable of sheltering them from the crushing maw of everyday life?
Canadian hip-hop star Buck 65 could relate. “When I was young, I wanted to dig a hole to China. Didn’t we all?,” he says. When the rapper first heard about McDonald ‘s tunnel, he felt compelled to write a song. Then, when he read the Maclean’s take -“full of so many great details” – he knew how he wanted to say it.
“This guy just never lost his drive to complete his dream, excuse the pun, come hell or high water,” he says. “To me, he’s something of a folk hero. And so, I wrote him a folk song, the way I know how.”
Though the police have since filled in the tunnel, McDonald is resolute he will one day build another.
Cornering the tunnel rap market, here’s The Hole (Ode to Elton McDonald):