Most people have never heard about it, but right outside of a major Canadian city one of the world’s strangest and best-kept secrets lies buried, hidden deep underground.

Placed there by a single man with a unique vision, his epic project has inspired countless people – and angered many others, including local authorities. Who is this man, and what is this project that he’s dedicated his life to? Read on to find out.

Canada’s Best Kept Secret

Since the early ’80s, Bruce Beach has been secretly buying school buses and burying them underground in an undisclosed location, somewhere in rural Canada. His strange project has drawn criticism, praise—and the intervention of law enforcement.

And while it is not very well known, those who have heard of it can’t help but have a strong opinion about it, one way or another. Recently, Beach has decided to share his work with the world—as well as his reasons for working on it for so long. So what is Bruce Beach’s secret, and why is it so polarizing?

A Safe Refuge

Bruce Beach was born in Kansas in 1934. Having lived through the horrors of the Vietnam War and the tensions of the Cold War, Bruce and his wife decided to move to Canada, in order to live in a safer environment. They felt that Canada’s seclusion would allow them a higher degree of safety, but moving to the Great White North wasn’t enough.

In the late ’70s, Beach was bothered by the rising threat of nuclear war between Russia and the States—and rather than sit around and wait for the bombs to fall, decided to do something about it. His decision would end up turning into a project he named “Ark Two,” and which would capture the imaginations of countless like-minded individuals when he finally revealed it to the world.

Horning’s Mills

In the early 1970s, Beach moved to his wife’s hometown—the Canadian village of Horning’s Mills. Approximately a 90-minute drive from Toronto, Horning’s Mills is isolated, scenic, and most importantly, safe. Standing smack dab in the middle of the Great Leaks, it wasn’t just a beautiful location.

It was also perfect for Bruce’s plans, and by 1980, he had already sketched out an elaborate blueprint for what would prove to be one of the most interesting and outlandish projects the Canadian province of Ontario had ever seen.

Building the Ark

Intriguingly, Bruce Beach’s plan had a unique purpose. He was not preparing for an impending school bus fleet but was diligently constructing an underground survival shelter. The sturdy bus structures were the key components of his vision.

By 1985, he had excavated a massive underground complex beneath his property and positioned the buses as the foundation and walls of his subterranean shelter. His goal was to create a secure haven capable of withstanding various disasters, from nuclear threats to environmental catastrophes, and he had invested years in turning this vision into a reality.

Specifically School Buses

Bruce Beach had some very specific plans for his Horning’s Mills project—and he chose to use school buses because they boasted several features which make them perfect for his plans—and infinitely preferable to any other similar vehicle.

First, school busses had roomy, open floorplans. But more importantly, school buses are required, by law, to have their roofs reinforced with steel beams. This makes them safer for their child passengers in case they end up in an accident—but also allows them to carry much larger weights on their roofs.