Published Nov 01, 2005Writing a how-to guide on exploring forbidden places has got to be second nature when you have a handle like Ninjalicious. With Talmudic-like intensity, the godfather of the urban exploration movement and founder of Infiltration a zine devoted to the movement offers us Access All Areas, a book that gives us the lowdown on approaching Toronto's hidden infrastructure. Part guide, part manifesto (We are staunch defenders of these sites!), it provides readers with all the requisite tools to skulk their way through the functioning and vanishing underpinnings of their respective cities. Always wondered about that abandoned factory near your house? Ninjalicious shows you how by providing maps, suggestions for appropriate dress and detailed descriptions of security systems and service entrances. The book details examples of what drives him, and his followers (and they are legion), to explore the places few of us would ever consider going. And so what if these places are considered, well, off limits? The astonishing, delicious twist is that these operatives are careful to preserve the dignity of the spaces they explore. See Chapter 3 under Sneaking: "Leave it the way you found it."
While the book is rife with historical tidbits and social commentary, it is at its best when showcasing the beauties, dangers, and desolation of the unseen Toronto. Whether it's a jaunt through the OCAD building, the King Edward Hotel or any of the dozens of passageways he has investigated, Ninjalicious's awed enthusiasm is downright infectious. It is a fact made particularly bittersweet when you consider his death from cancer just prior to the book's publication. A devoted explorer most of his life and enthusiastic booster of the hobby, Ninjalicious left no manhole cover unturned and his smart, quirky book will delight spelunkers, couch potatoes and those in between for a long time to come.