Many people don’t know this, but in a major Canadian city, one of the world’s best-kept secrets lie beneath the ground. They were placed there by a man who has a unique vision. His project, the school buses, has inspired many and angered many, including the local authorities. When you hear his story and see what he has done, you might be inspired as well.
Bruce Beach was born in 1934 in Kansas. He lived through the Vietnam War, the tensions of the Cold War, and finally, he and his wife decided to move to Canada. He wanted a safer environment for him and his wife. They believed that they could find the seclusion and the safety that they were looking for in Canada, but unfortunately, the move wasn’t enough to calm his fears.
The Ark Two
In the late ’70s, Bruce was worried about the rising threat between Russia and the United States. He was so concerned about it that felt that he needed to do something. If the bombs came down, he wanted to make sure that he would be safe. Rather than sitting around waiting for the bombs to fall, he came up with the idea for Ark Two. He knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but he was determined to make it happen.
Bruce and his wife decided to move to her hometown in Canada, a small village called Horning’s Mills. Their home is about 90 minutes from Toronto, and its scenic views and isolation made it the perfect place for them to live. The property was right in the middle of the Great Leaks, which was gorgeous, and the ideal location for Bruce’s plans. By 1980, he had already sketched out an elaborate blueprint of what he wanted the Ark Two to look like. Nobody knew it then, but it would turn out to be one of the craziest and most interesting projects Ontario had ever seen.
Beginning the Project
Bruce started his project by buying old-school buses. He was buying them for just $300 each. He didn’t care about how well the engines were working or if they could move or not. As long as the structure was stable and sturdy, he wanted to buy them. He only wanted old-school buses, because they were roomy, and had open floor plans. Also, Slowly, by law, school buses had to have steel beams installed to reinforce the roof. This kept children safe while on the bus, and Bruce needed something strong enough to be covered with dirt. He managed to accumulate 42 buses. He stored them a tightly packed formation in an old lot near his house. By 1985, just five years after he began the project, he was ready for phase two of the project.
Connecting the Buses
When the buses were all in a tight formation on a large portion of his 12.5-acre property, he started the grueling process of cutting off the chassis to make them one massive, interconnected structure with winding corridors, rooms, storage spaces, and bulkheads. It was a tremendous job, and Bruce couldn’t handle it alone, so he found a group of volunteers who were willing to help. It wasn’t a small job that took a few weeks. And it took Bruce and his team a few years to complete the construction.
When the chassis were removed, and each bus was in its place, it was time to move onto the next step. Bruce needed to make sure that the buses were airtight, and he began pouring concrete over the enormous structure. He needed to be sure that it would remain encased forever, and that it was both thick and resilient. When the concrete was dry and set, he covered it with 14-feet of dirt. When he was done, the vast complex was utterly invisible to people outside.
When the structure was complete, it was time to get the inside ready just in case disaster struck. The people who helped build the structure were guaranteed a spot in the Ark Two. If a bomb did hit, Bruce knew that he would need a decontamination chamber for the radiation. He installed a double sink, a shower, and a food contamination area. This was placed right at the entrance to make sure that anyone who entered would be free of contaminants. He also included an industrial septic tank and access to a private well with portable drinking water.
The diesel generators were capable of running for three months before they needed to be refilled. Bruce also made sure that everyone who ends up in the Ark Two would be well fed. He installed two industrial kitchens. One would be for cooking; the other would be for washing dishes. He also added a large storage room for food. Stocking it isn’t easy. Even food with a long shelf life had to be replaced many times over the years. He planned to allow 500 people into the Ark, and some of them would be children. He built classrooms for them, a library, a day room, a radio communication center, a mortuary, and even a dentist office. The people in the Ark Two would be very well taken care of for years if necessary.
Trouble With the Law
Although Bruce made it clear that the locals would be welcome if disaster struck, the local authorities weren’t too happy about it. They have tried many times to shut it down. Since he didn’t build with permits, the authorities took him to court over 30 times. The fire department also had a problem with Bruce and Ark Two. They deemed it a fire hazard. Somehow, Bruce has managed to keep the doors open.
In the end, Bruce is proud of what he accomplished. He knows that if disaster strikes, or if we go to war, that he will be safe, along with his wife, and the volunteers. He believes that being able to save 500 people during a catastrophe is reason enough to fight for the Ark Two. This man who buried 42 school buses underground finally let cameras inside, and it’s incredible.