Sunday, July 5, 2009

in the diefenbunker


road warrior 3 is in the herald today - this was great fun to write. i was originally going to write about not since moses for this column, but the herald sent a news crew instead so i returned to the diefenbunker. finding the owner of the decommissioned cold war bunker proved the most difficult part - it had recently been sold and no one seemed to know who had bought it. i got in touch with a journalist friend in the area and that produced a name and email, which led me to anton ebersberg self, bastionhost and dataville. anton is fabulously bondian, with his personal nuclear bunker and his global headquarters on macnab's island. i don't usually notice what shoes a man is wearing, but i did notice anton's very fine footwear because i stepped on them with my dirty sandals.

happily for me, anton is just now looking for a little press coverage, so he invited me into his lair. it's a fabulous place - even though it was used by norad right up until the late 90s, no one seems to have updated the dr strangelove interior since the early 60s.

then, it would have housed 350 of nova scotia's top officials after a nuclear strike on halifax. the only carpeted room was for the premier and he could bring his deputy and secretary, but not his wife. one can only imagine the post-apocalyptic chaos as all of those officials either abandoned their families or tried to force them inside.

a funny coincidence was running into tony publicover, the resident artist retouching the bunker. when he's not at the bunker, he's living and working on macnab's - he and anton are neighbours. i had tried to reach tony around christmas to do an article on him, but it fell through. i had no idea he was connected to dataville, so it was a pleasant surprise to finally reach him - that's him in the photo, painting the entrance to the bunker.

anton plans to turn one of the many rooms into an apartment for himself. i asked him what he thought of the prospect of spending six months in the bunker, which is what it was designed to do.

“I’ve talked to people who stayed here on drills and they always seemed to have had a good time," he told me. "They played cards, they drank and the madness was never discussed.”
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