An elderly man stands, guarding a North American mystery that until now was a decade old secret. After fleeing across the border from his home, he started to search for an collect a large number of old school buses. Working alone, and fed by a deep rooted impulse, he began to dig.
Nestled in a rural part of Ontario, Canada, an 83-year-old man has created one of the most elaborate and unusual structures in North America. You can’t even see its extent from above ground and to be honest, it is most definitely harder than you think to even get a look in. The man in question is Bruce Beach, and his paranoia and beliefs have pushed him into creating something out of the ordinary. So, what exactly is it that he’s up to?
In a massive pit in the ground, he had a master plan, and the result: a mysterious labyrinth that few have ever seen. But this is not just a man storing some buses for fun. So what was this huge project for?
Bruce Beach originally calls Winfield, Kansas home. He spent his youth in one of the most difficult eras of American history.
Behind the scenes of the Vietnam War lay the Cold War, and its menacing atmosphere was all too much for Bruce. What triggered his next big move?
Bruce Beach made a decision, that desperate times called for drastic measures. He had to act fast, and that is just what he did.
He packed up his belongings, took his wife and family, and crossed the border to Canada. There, he would embark on a mission no one could have anticipated.
Bruce Beach didn’t just choose a random spot in Canada to set up base in 1970. There was method behind what many may have viewed as madness.
In fact, he relocated to his wife Jean’s hometown of Horning’s Mills, a small village in a rural corner of Ontario two hours outside of Toronto.
Big Plans In Mind
Bruce was certain that this was the safest place to be in the world. And he hadn’t just gone to Canada in search of safety, oh no there was more in store.
He had huge plans in mind! If something was brewing in the air, he was going to do something about it in the most unexpected yet incredible way.
Between 1980 and 1985, Bruce began to do something particularly unusual. The 83-year-old started to collect old and retired school buses wherever he could find them, purchasing each one for about $300!
He ordered them directly to his home address. The reason you may be wondering, was for their steel roofs. But what did he need all these steel roofs for? From the outside, this was no normal operation.
In the end, Bruce managed to surprisingly collect an impressive 42 school buses! It had been a costly endeavor, but he was convinced it was totally necessary and nothing was holding him back.
The task he had in mind was of the highest possible importance. So now what? Where did Bruce plan on parking all of these vehicles?
Digging For Safety
Bruce wanted the buses for a specific reason: they had been built covered with reinforced steel roofs. For him, they were useful because they were blast-proof. He arranged them systematically, side by side, with precise plans for each one.
Then he dismantled them, connecting each bus to one another. This was not an easy job but he had a goal in mind. The next part would prove to be challenging, but nevertheless, he was not going to give up.
On a wide space of land stretched out over 12.5 acres near his property, Bruce created a massive pit in the earth around his impressive bus collection.
With some help, he dug until the huge hole measured 14 feet underground, and then completely covered the buses. The reason Bruce buried them underground would leave most people truly lost for words.
Now that his collection of buses were completely covered under 14 feet of mud, Bruce finalized his master plan.
The pit containing the buses was then sealed, by two feet of solid concrete, so they would never see the light of day again.
What Was It For?
This collection was not for himself alone. Bruce had big visions. He opened each bus and connected all of them into a sort of labyrinth.
Together, they form an underground shelter that was very impressive. But what was he doing with it?
When he finally completed his project, Bruce Beach had built one of the most massive underground structures in North America. He dubbed it ‘Ark Two’. This enormous underground maze boasted a magnanimous 10,000 square feet – quite the project!
Inside the sturdy walls of Ark Two, Bruce can fit up to 500 people — that is, if you are even lucky enough to be allowed inside!! He designed it for this reason: He believes that many people would be in need of it. The biggest mystery, however, is for what purpose.
Bruce Beach had to think very hard and very carefully about who exactly he was going to let inside Ark Two, and under what circumstances.
He was very wary of sick people getting into his clean underground creation, he could not let any sort of infectious disease enter.
Upon first glance, the concept of a bunch of old buses thrown together in a pit in the middle of nowhere sounds quite clumsy and odd.
He had help of an engineer, but what convinced the engineer that this seemingly strange project was worth the undertaking?
Reinforcing The Labyrinth
According to Bruce, the person who helped supervise construction of Ark Two was none other than the very same one who built the subway system in Toronto! And if it’s good enough for Canada’s biggest city, then certainly it’s good enough for what Bruce and his comrades need.
His plan had come to fruition and he couldn’t have been prouder of what he had created. He would next begin to plan the next phase of his master project.
Fully Equipped And Functional
The underground cave is stocked with diesel generators that can last up to three months with the fuel supplies Bruce has managed to acquire and save. There is also a fully equipped and functional plumbing system. But what about water?
This was not done on a whim, he had carefully thought of each detail, and this step of the process would ensure that this creation would look after itself.
Plan Up His Sleeve
Bruce has of course thought of everything. He engineered his own well for the drinking water supply. How many years in the making was this plan?
Ark Two according to Bruce, will be self-sufficient. As he foresees what the future may have in store, he can’t rely on outside water because it might be contaminated! But Bruce has an even more detailed plan in store.
Ark Two has a massive soup pot, and a working oven. Bruce has also brought in a friend who is a cook to be on the guest list for Ark Two when the time arrives.
The way he has planned it, there will be a constant supply of freshly-baked biscuits for everyone. What would they all need freshly baked biscuits for though?
Separated For Their Own Good
For the living quarters that comprise a decently large part of Ark Two, Bruce has drafted up a strict policy of having men and women sleep separately for a particular reason.
According to Bruce, having families stay together in the sleeping chambers wouldn’t allow enough space for others. He’s trying to maximize the amount of people the bunks can fit. What is he preparing for?
Over the past four decades that Bruce has spent constructing Ark Two, he wants any child coming in there to be able to continue their learning as best as possible.
He has chess sets for them, a play area with toys and tricycles, a nursery and classroom, as well as children’s bunks. And that’s not all.
Besides living, the area comes with some extra bonuses. Bruce has had many long years to think up different objects and accessories that the people under his care might need.
He even has a dentist’s chair, a mortuary — and a brig for anyone who disobeys rules! This part of the bunker looks a bit creepy if you ask us. Why was the need for discipline mandatory?
Discipline Is Key
Discipline is key, and to maintain order, he made and installed three security monitors. Always thinking creatively, Bruce has even converted a rusty old exercise bike into his own wheat-grinding mill, powered by a person pedaling! But you can’t stay down there forever…
The man with a plan, was there anything that he hadn’t thought of down there?
Is There Anybody Out There?
Even if someone has gone voluntarily into Ark Two, Bruce knows it’s still important to understand as best as possible what’s happening in the world around them.
Even if Bruce Beach is preparing for holding 500 people beneath the earth, he still needs to be in touch. So what did he think up this time?
Ok But What’s Up His Sleeve?
To achieve this, Bruce has rigged up an entire radio communications system. It is capable of broadcasting both AM and FM frequencies and has a wide-enough range that it could reach all of Canada and the United States.
Why would Bruce need to reach that many people? What’s he up to? The clues are coming together, yet it is still unclear as to what this master plan was for.
Bruce Beach belongs to a category of people who call themselves “preppers”. These are a band of characters who are convinced that the apocalypse is coming and it’s high time to get prepared. There’s a variety of reasons they feel this way.
The preppers meet yearly to make the necessary precautions as to their beliefs.
There’s strength in numbers, and seeing as the majority of people around the “preppers” don’t believe them, they band together. They hold Annual Preppers Meetings, but these are not for emotional support. These people want to learn from each other how best to prepare for the worst.
Bruce therefore, had the foresight to create this bunker for himself and his fellow preppers.
What Do They Think About Ark Two?
The meetings run like workshops, teaching participants how they can best deal with living in the shadow of the apocalypse.
They have classes such as “Zombie Survival Camp,” “Surviving In The Wilderness.” So what do Bruce’s fellow survivalists think about Ark Two?
Off Limits, For Now
Getting inside Ark Two is a rare gift. Bruce Beach is very protective of his masterpiece. Any tour of the facility is not free.
Even members of the press who have visited trying to report on Ark Two will have to be deemed worthy to do so.
Perform Beneficial Acts
Some journalists were not allowed inside Ark Two until they had performed something that could benefit Bruce, or his future refugees.
They got on his good side by doing a chore: chopping firewood. Once in, they discovered that not everything underground is fine and dandy.
The Costs Of Ark Two
Being the owner and protector of Ark Two has come at a cost for Bruce Beach and his family, and not just financially.
Maintaining such an enormous structure for such a long time, and doing it more or less by himself, is a never-ending challenge.
Rats found the bags of wheat that Bruce had been storing, and once they had gorged themselves, destroying his supplies, they ran into his home.
He’s also had to deal with fires, floods, and theft. And there’s problems from outside too.
The Opposition To Ark Two
The local government in Ontario is not happy about this structure. In their eyes, it’s one huge dangerous hazard.
Never mind what Bruce views as his service to the greater public — they’re not having it. As far as they’re concerned, they want it destroyed.
Built Without Permits
Every part of Ark Two was built without permits, though not for Bruce’s lack of trying to get them! He’s been taken in court more than 30 times, and the local government has spent over $250,000 to try and shut him down. And he’s made enemies on the ground, all in the name of his vision, which is driven by one particular reason.
Imagine going to all that trouble, effort, getting into deep water and for what? Bruce didn’t let any of this deter him, he was strong willed and saw the end goal as worth all of it.
Closing Ark Two
Bruce’s local fire department in his corner of Ontario is more direct than the government. Rather than waging legal battles, they’ve taken action.
Fire brigades have come and physically sealed off the structure off twice, leaving Bruce the job of figuring out how to reopen it.
Ark Two is also known by the name SAFE, which stands for “Safe America For Everyone”.
In Bruce’s far-reaching vision, Ark Two is meant to be a true melting pot to shelter those in need, open to people regardless of politics, religion, culture, race.
A Temporary Solution
By his estimates, Bruce thinks that Ark Two should be able to hold people for up to three weeks.
But that’s strictly under the worst-case scenario; ideally, he hopes people would be able to refuel, rest, and continue on to the next safe place.
A New Hope
In Bruce’s mind, despite the terrifying visions of a nuclear winter that he describes, this is not the end, but the beginning.
He describes the entire process of rehabilitation that he wants to take part in as giving birth to a new type of humanity.