Use For a Good Bunker
The first Deadmonton story–Sometimes You Die–begins at Edmonton’s Civil Defence bunker. The bunker was meant to make an appearance in what will be the ongoing storyline of Deadmonton.com. However, as is often the case in writing, the characters turned out to be too damn stubborn to go where I wanted them to, so I reluctantly chopped the location out. But the facility never left my thoughts.
Later, a couple of characters also fell to editing; they just held the story back too much. And, well, I liked those two. Could they be used elsewhere? Could they survive with their limitations and without the aid of others? That’s when the bunker popped back in. Voila! A new short-story that stands on its own (hopefully, you’ll agree), and I got to bring back the characters and the bunker.
And there was much rejoicing.
Edmonton Civil Defence Bunker History
Below, is a little history of Civil Defence bunker where my couple has made their home. A big thank you to Fred Armbruster, Executive Director of the Canadian Civil Defence Museum Association, for answering my questions and allowing the use of his images. Visit the museum’s website for facts on the Cold War era and how it affected Edmonton.
In 1954, at the height of the Cold War era, Edmonton found itself in a precarious position due to its military operations and oil production. It was believed it would be a target of the Soviet Union, with its Atomic bombs, should conflict boil over.
While the city prepared by making emergency recordings, placing air raid sirens and creating plans to evacuate the city within three hours, there was still a need for a base of operations to work from should the city become irradiated after an attack.
This is where the Civil Defence Bunker came in. Built between 1952 – 1953, and nestled in the River Valley neighborhood of Crestwood, the bunker could pass as a utility shed, except for the ominous lettering beside the door: Civil Defence Edmonton.
Three feet under this entrance is the start of the facility itself. 2600 square feet with eleven-foot ceilings, and designed to house 36 people. It never did see use except for the control center staff that practiced emergency protocols.
- simple-to-use, multi-burning boiler
- on-demand hot water
- fresh-air intake with ionizer
- a generator that runs on natural or regular gas
- 1000 gallon water tank that fills from the city line with a reserve tank in case of disaster
Edmonton’s Civil Defence Bunker seemed the perfect spot to venture during Deadmonton’s main storyline, which is why it saddened me to have to chop it. Especially since the main reason for Deadmonton is to delve into Edmonton’s great history and local spots–both well-known and little-known, like the tour of Fort Edmonton Park–and look at them from a unique angle. Thankfully the bunker still gets a visit in the upcoming story, Sometimes You Die.
I hope you’ll enjoy it.
Some information for this post came from the following articles:
Visit the Civil Defence Museum website: