One of the world’s best-hidden secrets lies just outside a major city in Canada, but most people don’t even know about it. That’s because it’s buried deep under the ground, put there by a man with a vision of the future unlike anything you’ve ever heard. We’re about to meet this man and find out why he’s spent his life doing something that most of us would deem pointless at best, and crazy at worst.
A Hidden Secret Below The Earth’s Surface
In a rural part of Canada, something completely unexpected lies beneath the snow-covered earth. Hardly anyone knows about it and even fewer have seen it, but local authorities are nevertheless trying to stop its creator from continuing his bizarre obsession.
You see, an 83-year old man named Bruce Beach, motivated by sheer fear, has been burying school buses in order to construct an elaborate underground system of mazes. He just recently decided to share his epic creation and the compelling reason behind it.
The Motivation Behind His Madness
How did a man from the fields of Kansas end up in the middle of Canada, burying school buses in the snow? Now an old man, Bruce is the product of his times. He lived through the bloody scenes of the Vietnam War and the invisible tension of the Cold War.
Bruce became a victim of the fear that those eras created in many minds. Along with his wife and their children, Bruce made the trek to snowy Canada to make a safer life for themselves.
Bruce Believes This Is The Safest Place On Earth
In the 1970s the Beach clan made the move to Bruce’s wife’s hometown, which is a village called Horning’s Mills. The town is near Ontario and is about a 90 minute drive to Toronto.
Bruce had major plans for their new life in Canada. He was going to make sure that he and his family were as safe as possible, and was sure that Horning’s Mills was the best place in the world for his grand ambitions.
His Plan Comes To Life
In the early and mid-1980s, Bruce began working on his ambitious plan, one step at a time. First, he began amassing old school buses, ending up with 42 total.
The average price of these out-of-use school buses was around $300 – this was no cheap or frivolous endeavor. The vehicles were shipped to Bruce at home. No one could have guessed just what he would do with the large collection, or where it would go. But Bruce knew exactly what to do.
Next: the reason Bruce chose school buses.
Why School Buses?
Bruce could have chosen from many different types of vehicles for his vision. But he selected school buses for a very specific reason. For the safety of their child passengers, school buses have roofs that are reinforced with steel.
These reinforcements also ensure that the buses can handle the weight of being buried underground, with heavy dirt above. Additionally, school buses are large and have open floorplans with plenty of room for people and supplies.
The Next Step
The next step of Bruce’s master plan was no small feat, and one that would require a large chunk of his 12.5 acres of land. With a small army of volunteers, Bruce began digging a hole that would eventually encase his collection of 42 buses.
Once the buses were moved into the hole, Bruce connected them all together with a sophisticated system of tunnels that formed a series of rooms and storage spaces. But he didn’t stop there.
The Buses Will Never Again See Daylight
His bus bunker was finally assembled deep in the Canadian land and was ready for the next step toward making it impervious to outside threats. Using the bus labyrinth as a mold, Bruce then poured two feet of concrete over the entire system.
Not content to stop there, Bruce covered the entire construction with an additional 14 feet of dirt on top of the concrete. The bunker was invisible to the outside world. People would be astonished to learn how large Bruce’s dream structure would end up.
An Astonishing 10,000 Square Feet
Although construction on Bruce’s life project will never be fully complete, the initial phase of construction was finally over. In all, he ended up with an astonishing 10,000 square feet of atomic blast-proof space in this amazing underground fortress.
It’s actually one of the largest underground structures in North America. In this much space, 500 people could comfortably fit and stay alive in the event of a nuclear blast or any other disaster. Bruce named the structure “Ark Two.”
How Did One Man Do It On His Own?
One man couldn’t have done this all alone. It might be difficult to believe, given that the entire compound consists of a bunch of school buses thrown together in a hole, but Ark Two is completely structurally sound. That’s because Bruce worked with an engineer on the project.
In fact, Bruce says that the structural engineer who constructed Toronto’s subway system is the same one who oversaw Ark Two’s completion. And as Toronto is the country’s largest city, with tons of commuters safely taking the subway each day, the engineer must really know his stuff.
With A Little Help From His Friends
Bruce then recruited more help with constructing Ark Two. At least 50 volunteers from the nearby town of Horning’s Mills spent their weekends assisting with planning and with the back-breaking labor involved. And many more continue to donate their efforts to maintaining and improving the bus labyrinth.
Why would any sane person willingly give up their free time to work on the project of someone who has been called things like “nutty,” “a kook,” and worse? Read on to find out.
Hard-Working Volunteers Are Guaranteed Admission
Bruce has said that those who donated their help to construct the Ark are guaranteed admission, should disaster ever strike. And those who live nearby can still work to earn themselves a safe spot in Bruce Beach’s safety masterpiece.
Volunteers can spend a few weekends each year doing work around the shelter, which includes making renovations and performing routine maintenance tasks. That is a small price to pay for the promise of safety when disaster strikes. And as we’ll learn, Bruce is certain that it will strike.
Getting Inside Ark Two
How does one get inside the enormous complex called Ark Two? Visitors who are granted access to the compound first enter a small rusted portal, the only part of the construction visible from above ground. The portal contains a bunker and a power generator.
Visitors then descend through the 14 feet of dirt before reaching the concrete structure and learning about all the wonders that lie beneath. We’ll soon learn about all the unexpected features housed within the amazing labyrinth of buses.
In the meantime, just who will be allowed to use Ark Two in the event of an emergency?
A Sterile Environment Is Key To Everyone’s Well-Being
You can bet that in the case of a disaster like the ones that the shelter was built for, there will be plenty of people knocking at the door to be let into Ark Two. But Bruce must be very careful when he decides who can come in.
If someone who was sick with an infectious illness or disease were to get in, it could prove fatal for the remaining evacuees. And some people appear physically healthy despite being quite ill. Ever the planner, Bruce came up with a solution to this problem.
People Must Be Screened And Decontaminated Before Entry
In an emergency or disaster, those who show up at Bruce’s door will face a rigorous screening procedure, as well as a shower. There’s even a special decontamination chamber for this exact reason.
This chamber is the first one people pass through upon entry. It contains a stainless steel double sink, a shower and separate bathtub (for children and disabled individuals), and a special area for decontaminating food items and other objects.
Now, find out about everything the Ark has to offer!
The Life-Saving Basics Are All Covered
Electricity, plumbing, and access to water are some of the most basic needs anyone stuck in a fallout shelter would need to stay alive. Bruce has all those covered in his elaborate design. There are a number of diesel generators on hand, as up to three months of fuel.
There’s a plumbing system, of course, including a septic tank large enough for a motel and a private well for drinkable water. You simply can’t rely on an outside water source during times of emergency, as it could be contaminated.
Ark Two Impresses Other Preppers
“Preppers” are people who think that catastrophic disasters or emergencies are not just possible, but likely. Preppers spend great deals of time and money preparing for what they consider the inevitable. One volunteer with the Ontario Prepper Survival Network had this to say 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. 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.”
Now, let’s go inside and find out what all the fuss is about.
What About Food?
Although the offerings in Ark Two are pretty basic, you can be sure that Bruce has you covered with ample provisions. The bunker contains two industrial kitchens, and Bruce even lined up a cook friend to stay on site in the event of a disaster.
One of the kitchens is for cooking and one is primarily used for washing dishes. There are also two adjacent storage rooms for food and other supplies. It turns out that keeping food in stock is one of Bruce’s biggest hurdles.
Food Storage Is A Problem
One of the most important elements of owning an emergency shelter is keeping food well-stocked, when you don’t even know when you might need it. Bruce says this has been one of the most difficult parts of his life work with Ark Two.
He told the National Post, “I don’t know how many tons of food we have had to throw out over the years.” Even when loading up on nonperishable goods like canned food, thirty years have passed since the shelter was finished. Most foods are going to expire within that time.
All The Extras Bruce Planned For
Bruce Beach didn’t forget anything when he built Ark Two. After all, he’s had 40 years to plan. The compound contains living and sleeping spaces (bunk rooms), restrooms, classrooms, a radio communications center, a doctor’s office, a library, day rooms, a mortuary, and even a dentist’s chair!
Other amenities include a surgery, laundry room, conference room, chapel, exercise areas, and a nursery with a separate “cry room.” There’s also plenty of storage space within the shelter’s 10,000 square feet.
Families Shouldn’t Plan To Stay Together
Men and women are separated in the living quarters at Ark Two. Bruce says that if families stayed together in the bunk rooms that there wouldn’t be enough room for others. Why does Bruce have these strict rules in place?
According to Rad4U, a website dedicated to nuclear survivor resources, “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],” things have to be done this way. “Each of the seven bunk rooms has 24 bunks. These are shared on three shifts by adults, and 2 shifts by children.”
Bruce says that Ark Two has “all the comforts of home” and then some.
Bruce Planned Ahead For Children To Thrive
There are special provisions in place to ensure that the children who are forced to shelter at Ark Two can thrive in the outside world once the disaster has passed. In addition to a nursery and daycare, there are classrooms where kids can continue to learn.
And there is also a play area to serve as a playground. The room is outfitted with lots of toys including multiple chess sets, which Bruce thinks are important learning tools.
Reaching The Outside World
Of course, in the event that Ark Two is ever needed, its occupants will have to be in touch with the outside world somehow. The facility is rigged with a radio system that broadcasts both AM and FM frequencies.
The communication system is strong enough to reach both Canada and the United States, and could well be the key to everyone in Ark Two getting the information they need to survive through the disaster.
More about “preppers” and Bruce’s opinion of them next.
What Are Preppers?
“Preppers” are people who believe that a catastrophic incident is likely to happen in the future. They spend lots of their time and resources to prepare for doomsday scenarios such as major social disruptions or nuclear war.
Bruce seems to be the very definition of a prepper, and was even featured on an episode of for National Geographic’s series called “Doomsday Preppers.” But how does he feel about being lumped in with others who spend their lives preparing for disaster?
Bruce’s Opinion Of Preppers
It turns out that Bruce Beach has some pretty strong opinions about most preppers. Although he, like them, has spent the better part of his life preparing for a yet-unknown disaster, he feels that his motivation comes from a different place.
Bruce thinks that most other preppers are inspired by personal safety, rather than out of a concern for others. He considers himself selfless in his efforts to save so many people, should a catastrophe arise. Many other preppers plan only for their own safety, and that of their families.
Speaking of family…
What Does Bruce’s Family Think?
So what does Bruce’s family think about his life’s work? He has a wife, Jean, who’s now 90 years old. Clearly, she’s been supportive of his mission to have stuck around so long! In fact, she helps him with administrative tasks like planning and taking inventory of supplies.
His children, both adults, are not quite as interested in participating. In fact, they don’t even buy his vision of an imminent apocalypse. And Bruce says that even Jean gets tired of the constant talk about Ark Two.
Opposition From The Outside
Not everyone is a fan of the incredible work that Bruce has undertaken. In fact, local authorities have tried to shut down his underground bunkers. To Ontario’s government, Ark Two is a giant public hazard, despite it being built as a resource to HELP the public. They want it gone and have spent a considerable amount of money to ensure that happens.
It doesn’t help Bruce’s case that the bunker was built without any permits. As a result, he’s had to appear in court more than 30 times.
Enemies At The Fire Department, Too
The Ontario Fire Department also wants Ark Two closed for good. They have actually sent teams to the site and sealed the structure shut twice.
And when Bruce hosted a gathering of fellow preppers/survivalists at Ark Two, the fire department showed up again and threatened to close the shelter for a third time. Bruce thinks these attempts are detracting from the important work of saving lives that he’s trying to accomplish.
Bruce’s Theory Of How The Catastrophe Could Begin
In the Air Force, Bruce spent time as a radio control tower operator and he later taught computer science. Based on these experiences, he thinks an international nuclear war will be the result of India being bombed by Pakistan.
But he admits that he doesn’t know just when this would happen. “I used to always say the end of the world was going to be two years from now,” he recounted to the National Post. “But now I say it is going to be two weeks from now — and if I am wrong, I will revise my date.”
But not all will be lost, according to Bruce. Read on for a positive message.
Everyone Is Welcome To Stay SAFE In Ark Two
Just who will be eligible to seek shelter at Ark Two? It seems that everyone will be. Bruce operates a network called the “SAFE” community.
The acronym stands for “Safe America For Everyone.” This means that all who need a place to stay during a disaster will be welcomed into Ark Two, regardless of their race, culture, language, politics, or religion. Their website says “Anyone is welcome to join the Ark Two Refuge Facility – so long as they do so before the catastrophe occurs.”
Hope For The Future
Bruce says that people need to be aware of the threat of a major war or catastrophe, but has an optimistic view of the future. He believes “now more than ever,” people need to be thinking about their options in the event of a war instead of frittering time away on their smartphones.
In fact, he sees a disaster as a rebirth; opportunity to rebuild and improve human life. As he explains on his website, “I am an optimist about the long term future of mankind but a pessimist about the immediate future.”