Just outside a major city in Canada lies a secret that’s been kept well-hidden over the years. Most people don’t even know about it but the ones who do are blown away by what’s down there, and more importantly – why it’s down there. It was all done by one man with a vision for a future that’s unlike anything you’ve ever heard of. Read on to learn about this man and the reason why he buried so many school buses under the ground.
A Secret Lies Under The Ground In Canada
Many people who live near a certain rural area in Canada have no idea about a secret that lies under the ground there. A few do know about it, but not many of those have actually seen it. This secret is something that the local authorities are trying to put an end to – but what is it?
An elderly man named Bruce Beach is responsible for this underground wonder. Motivated by fear and paranoia, he buried dozens of buses and created a mazelike world below the earth. Recently, he’s decided to discuss his bizarre creation and the reason for burying all those buses.
What Drove Bruce To Do This?
Bruce Beach is an elderly man who’s lived through a lot during his lifetime. He witnessed the atrocities of Vietnam and experienced the fear and paranoia of the Cold War. Bruce’s current mindset is a direct result of living through these events.
Bruce, his wife, and their children were living in Kansas when they decided to seek out a safer life for themselves. They packed up and made the long trip north to the snowy lands of Canada.
Is This The Safest Place On Earth? Bruce Believes So
This trip north from Kansas to Horning’s Mills, Canada, took place in the 1970s. Bruce’s wife calls the village her hometown. It’s situated near Ontario and takes about 90 minutes to reach by car from Toronto.
Bruce had major aspirations for this trip and for the safe new life he planned to build for his family in Canada. He just knew that Horning’s Mills was the best possible location to make his vision a reality.
Implementing The Plan
Bruce’s master plan, which he began working on in the early 1980s, was implemented in several steps. The first stage involved gathering a vast collection of old school buses. He ended up with a total of 42 buses!
Each bus cost Bruce around $300, meaning that this was a pretty costly venture. This was not just some flight of fancy or passing thought. The buses were all shipped to Bruce at home, and no one had any idea what he was going to do with the massive collection.
School Buses Were Ideal
There were plenty of different vehicle types that Bruce could have opted for in order to complete his quest. But it turned out that school buses were ideal for his purpose.
You see, school buses are built to protect precious cargo: all those children inside. This means that their roofs are securely reinforced with strong steel, which could also withstand the weight of being under lots of heavy dirt overhead. And school buses are roomy, with plenty of space for supplies and for people.
One Step Follows The Next
Of course, Bruce had purchased a large piece of land when he settled in Canada with his family. Now, those 12.5 acres of land were about to come in handy for the next step of his plan. He had a small team of volunteers gathered and they set to work.
The army of workers began to dig. And they continued to dig until the hole was large enough to encase all 42 buses. Once that was done, Bruce connected each of them together much like a giant underground maze. There were a variety of different rooms and storage areas.
In The Dark For Eternity
These buses were never again going to see daylight. Buried deep in the land, they now formed the structure that Bruce hoped would protect him and his loved ones from any outside threats.
To make the underground bunker even safer, Bruce then poured two feet of concrete over the top of the labyrinth of buses and followed that up with 14 feet of dirt for additional protection. All of this was completely invisible from the surface.
The Structure Was Immense
After all the buses were connected, Bruce’s dream bunker ended up measuring in at an amazing 10,000 square feet of atomic blast-proof space. This was quite a feat!
Construction will never be complete as long as Bruce lives, but the result of this initial construction phase was pretty amazing. This bunker is actually one of the largest underground structures in all of North America. It’s big enough to house 500 people in the case of a huge disaster like a nuclear blast. Fittingly, Bruce named his bunker “Ark Two.”
He Didn’t Do It All On His Own
We already knew that Bruce had some help when he dug the giant hole to place his buses in. But it turns out that he had sought out the assistance of a professional engineer when he embarked on this project. Just because it looks like he just threw a bunch of buses in a big pit doesn’t mean there wasn’t some legit engineering behind the scenes.
The structural engineer who helped out with Bruce’s plan is the same one that built Toronto’s subway system. As this is one of the busiest subway systems in the world, it’s safe to say that the engineer knew what they were doing.
Even More Help Is Called In
People from the nearby town of Horning’s Mills were willing to help Bruce with his project once he put the word out for assistance. Around 50 locals volunteered their weekends to help with both planning and labor tasks.
You might be wondering why so many people would be eager to donate their weekends to work on a project that sounds a little bit crazy. You’ll find out the answer soon enough.
The Price Of Admission To The Ark Is Volunteer Work
In the awful case that a huge tragedy or disaster ever hit, Bruce has promised that all the people who volunteered to help on his Ark will be guaranteed a spot in the safe space.
In exchange for admission, volunteers must spend a few weekends per year working on the shelter. Tasks include things like maintenance, renovations… anything to help out, really. Bruce’s volunteers consider that a pretty small price to pay if the worst ever happens!
How Do You Get Down Into The Ark?
By now, you might be pretty curious about what the Ark looks like underground. But first we’ll take a look at how to get down there. Any visitor who’s given permission to visit first enters through an above-ground portal. This rusted out metal portal holds a power generator and is one of the only parts of the bunker that can be seen from above.
There’s then a 14-foot descent through the dirt before visitors reach the concrete surrounding the bus labyrinth. From there, one starts to learn more about all of the amazing features hidden in this incredible structure.
There Are Some People Who Will Not Be Granted Access To The Ark
Bruce knows full well that there will be a ton of people knocking on the Ark’s door if a disaster ever strikes. But he also knows that he’ll have to be pretty choosy about who can actually come in.
People who are sick pose a threat to the entire population in such closed quarters. It could even prove fatal in some cases. Bruce had a plan in place for times that people who looked healthy on the outside were allowed into the bunker.
A Decontamination Chamber
Anyone wishing to access Ark Two during a crisis will be screened first, and everyone must shower before entering. Bruce’s bunker even has a chamber for decontaminating people.
The decontamination chamber is one of the first areas that people pass through upon entering. It holds a double stainless steel sink, a bathtub, and a shower. There’s even a separate area to decontaminate food and items that come into the shelter.
Bruce Has Covered The Basics
As we’ve already seen, Bruce is a pretty thorough planner. So of course he has all of the basics that you’d need in a crisis already in place. Plumbing, electricity, and access to water are all key inclusions in an emergency shelter. The Ark has all of those, plus around three months of fuel.
The shelter’s septic tank is big enough for a motel and there’s also a well with potable water. Outside water could well be contaminated in a nuclear crisis.
“Preppers” Are Impressed With Bruce’s Design
Folks who go through life with the assumption that catastrophes and disasters are likely to happen are sometimes called “preppers” (short for “preparers”). These people dedicate much of their time and resources to getting ready for their feared disasters.
One person who volunteers with the Ontario Prepper Survival Network gave an interview about Bruce’s bunker. “When you go inside the bunker for the first time, it is a different planet, it’s like you’re on Mars,” they said. “When you hear about this concept of 42 school buses underground, to fathom it is nothing compared to going in and actually seeing it… It’s crazy in there.”
How Does Bruce Manage The Issue Of Food Storage?
The Ark contains two industrial kitchens. Neither are fancy by any standards but you can bet that they’re stocked with the basics that would be required in the event of a disaster. Bruce even has a friend who’s a chef that volunteered to come to the Ark and cook for everyone if the worst is ever to happen.
Near the kitchens are two different food storage rooms. Although there’s plenty of space to store food, keeping fresh food on hand is a huge problem for Bruce.
Bruce admits that one of the toughest parts of his work on the shelter is the issue of food storage. In the event of an emergency, food is vital for survival. But when you don’t know when disaster will strike, keeping non-expired food on hand can prove quite difficult.
In an interview with the National Post, Bruce had this to say. “I don’t know how many tons of food we have had to throw out over the years.” Even though much of the food is canned, the Ark was completed thirty years ago and most items are simply not going to last that long.
Forty Years Of Planning
Over the four decades that Bruce Beach has been planning, building, and tweaking Ark Two, he’s had some pretty grand ideas. The shelter has a ton of rooms with different functions. There are bunk rooms for sleeping (more about that later), living spaces, bathrooms, a doctor’s office, dentist’s chair, library, day room, and more. There’s even a mortuary for the inevitable.
The list doesn’t stop there. Also included in the design are a radio communications room, laundry area, conference room, gyms, a chapel, and a nursery with a “cry room.”
Families Will Be Separated
In Ark Two, Bruce plans to separate men and women in the bunk rooms. This is in order to save space for others.
A website about nuclear survivor resources called Rad4U explains this rationale. “In order to get the number of people into the shelter that the government standard says that a shelter this size is supposed to [house],” this is the way things have to be done. “Each of the seven bunk rooms has 24 bunks. These are shared on three shifts by adults, and 2 shifts by children.”
Special Consideration For Children
Bruce has planned ahead for any children who might end up sheltering at Ark Two. It’s important to him that children be given the resources they’ll need to have successful lives on the outside once danger has passed. Beside the daycare and nursery, there are also classrooms in the bunker.
A playground on site is already stocked with toys and games, as well as several chess boards. Bruce thinks chess is a vital learning tool.
Contacting Those Outside
During a humanitarian crisis like one that would cause Ark Two to be needed, survivors inside will need to be able to reach those outside. Bruce has outfitted his bunker with a radio system that can broadcast FM and AM frequencies.
The radio’s signals are strong enough to reach Canada and the United States. Reaching the outside world could be the difference between life and death for Ark Two’s inhabitants.
He Seems To Fit The Definition
From what we’ve learned about preppers so far, Bruce seems to fit the definition. Preppers are people who are so sure that devastating events, such as nuclear wars, will occur that they spend a good bit of their lives preparing for them.
Even though Bruce was included on an episode of National Geographic’s television series called Doomsday Preppers, he might have a different opinion of them than you’d expect. Read on to find out what he thinks of preppers.
How Bruce Views Preppers
Bruce Beach believes that he differs from the standard definition of what constitutes a prepper. Even though he’s spent much of his life getting ready for an unspecified disaster, he thinks that he’s less selfish than others who prepare for crises.
Most preppers are motivated by self-survival, according to Bruce, than they are by a feeling of concern for others. Bruce views his efforts as selfless and says his goal is to save as many people as possible in the event of a catastrophe. Others only care about their own families.
Bruce’s Wife Is Supportive But His Kids Aren’t As Sympathetic
Bruce’s wife Jean is now in her 90s. As she’s been with Bruce for so long, she’s obviously supportive of is mission. She even assists him with certain planning tasks such as keeping suppy inventories.
However, both of Bruce and Jean’s adult have admitted that they’re not really interested in participating in efforts to maintain Ark Two. They’re not even sure they believe that disaster is imminent. Jean has also admitted that she tires of all the fuss about the shelter at times.
Bruce Faces Opposition
There’s also opposition from outside the Beach family. According to Ontario’s government officials, Ark Two is a public hazard and they have attempted to shut it down. Its intended function to help the public in the face of disaster isn’t enough to dissuade them.
Additionally, Bruce didn’t obtain any permits when he built the underground labyrinth. As a result, he has had to make more than 30 court appearances over the years.
The Fire Department Has Sealed Ark Two
As you can imagine, the folks at the Ontario Fire Department also view Ark Two as a hazard. The department wants it closed forever and have sent teams to seal the entrance shut on two separate occasions.
Once, when Bruce was hosting some preppers and survivalists at the bunker, the fire department arrived. They said they were going to seal the shelter for a third time, which obviously upset Bruce. He says that their attempts to shut him down minimize the important and life-saving work he’s done for others.
What Does Bruce Think Will Happen?
Bruce is a veteran of the Air Force, where he worked as a radio control tower operator and computer science teacher. Because of the things he saw and learned in these capacities, he believes that there will be an international nuclear war during his lifetime. He specifically thinks Pakistan will bomb India, leading to worldwide warfare.
To the National Post, Bruce said, “I used to always say the end of the world was going to be two years from now. But now I say it is going to be two weeks from now — and if I am wrong, I will revise my date.”
Bruce’s “SAFE” Community
Bruce Beach operates a community that he calls “Safe America For Everyone,” or “SAFE.” The group operates a website with information about Ark Two and just who will be welcome to it.
The site says that “anyone is welcome to join the Ark Two Refuge Facility – so long as they do so before the catastrophe occurs.” Everyone who can arrive before the disaster will be welcomed in, regardless of race, religion, politics, language, or culture.
He’s Optimistic For The Future, Long-Term
It might not sound like it, but Bruce Beach is optimistic for the long-term future of humanity. Although he believes that people all need to be aware that there’s a disaster or international war coming sometime in the future, he thinks that long-term, humanity will be okay.
In the meantime, he warns that people need to be prepared for disaster and should work toward securing their future instead of wasting their time on fruitless things like playing on smartphones. As he summarizes on his website, “I am an optimist about the long term future of mankind but a pessimist about the immediate future.”