SAULT STE. MARIE -- A Sault Ste. Marie teenager wanted to find a way to beat the boredom of the COVID-19 lockdowns. So, he built a multi-level fort, complete with an underground bunker.

Jake May, who is 18, is normally very active, often participating in a number of sports. However, with those sports being cancelled due to the pandemic, he says he needed something to do.

“I decided I was going to build a project and I always had a hobby in building things and designing things,” he says. “So this was kind of a way to demonstrate all of that while being physically active.”

The fort contains two levels. The main building is off the ground and accessible by ladder. Once inside, another ladder transports you below ground to “the bunker.” A short hallway brings you to the bunker, where you will find seating and even a bed.

May used only dead trees on his property for building materials. He says he used no power tools to build his fort.

“I used an axe, saw, hammer, chisel, shovel, and a pick axe,” says May. “So, all tools that didn’t cost me anything to run.”

May says the project was a lot of hard work, taking him around 1200 hours to finish.

“Just to dig the hole for the bunker took me over 100 hours, and then the construction for everything else took me the remaining, around 1100 hours, so it was definitely a grind of a project,” he says.

Jake’s mother, Lori May, says she was impressed watching her son work on his project.

“We’re very proud that he was able to put something together with such hard work and dedication and perseverance because when he started the project the bunker part where he was digging, it was March and the ground was frozen - and he dug through frozen ground,” says Lori. “It was just incredible to see the progress.”

Meanwhile, Jake is finishing high school this year. He says he’s been accepted into McMaster University where he will begin studying engineering in the Fall.