Nova Scotia

Sorry, mystery lovers, that hatch on Citadel Hill isn't a secret link to Georges Island

Parks Canada says a little-known tunnel winding beneath the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site doesn't end anywhere near Georges Island.

Rumours of an underground tunnel between the two national historic sites remain unfounded

One entrance to the tunnel begins on the grassy slopes and leads into the historic fort. (Brett Ruskin / CBC News)

Rumours of a secret tunnel buried beneath the Halifax Citadel National Historic Site have long been fodder for folklore fiends and history buffs.

But if there really is an underground passageway linking the 160-year-old star-shaped fortress to Georges Island in Halifax harbour, it has yet to be found, says Parks Canada.

The agency recently issued a tender to replace a water pipe that runs within a little-known tunnel under Citadel Hill.

It winds 83 metres between a rusty hatch visible on the hill's grassy slopes and a manhole cover within its walls that's obscured by a thick layer of dirt and gravel.

A Parks Canada employee shows the approximate location of the manhole cover, hidden under a thick layer of dirt and gravel, that leads to the entrance of the tunnel. (Brett Ruskin / CBC News)

Unfortunately for those who love a good mystery, Parks Canada says it's just a simple maintenance tunnel with pipes for fresh water, sewage, natural gas and electricity.

The tunnel is accessible from either side of Citadel Hill's ramparts, with only a padlock securing the exterior access point. (Google Earth)

The utility pipes split into different directions at the grassy end of the tunnel — nowhere near Georges Island National Historic Site, which helped defend Halifax harbour from the mid-18th century to the Second World War. 

Jonathan Nash, a project manager with Parks Canada, says the agency is also keen to discover the elusive tunnel, but this isn't it.

"We've done quite a bit of research into it," he says. "We haven't been able to locate any tunnels that connect to Georges [Island] or any other parts of the city."

The hatch leading to the tunnel that provides access to the water, sewage, natural gas and electrical pipes that enter Citadel Hill. (Brett Ruskin / CBC News)