From a media release:
THERE ARE BOMBS WHERE?!
- HISTORY®’s Bomb Hunters share the locations where they have been searching for Unexploded Explosive Ordnance (UXO) in Canada
- Bomb Hunters airs Mondays at 10pm on HISTORY
With World Wars I and II taking place far from home, it is hard to imagine a 20th century legacy of these conflicts appearing on Canadian soil. But with its vast landmass and distance from the fighting in Europe, Canada emerged as an ideal training camp for allied armed forces from all over the world. Millions of munitions were fired and tested in fields and lakes across the country, and the land still holds evidence of these tests today: Unexploded Explosive Ordnance (UXO) can be found at specific sites across the country. These locations are where the Bomb Hunters clock into work every day.
Through the UXO and Legacy Sites Program, the Department of National Defence engages these contractors to carry out the work needed to reduce safety risks posed by UXO across Canada.
Season one of HISTORY’s Bomb Hunters explores missions to find and destroy UXO in the following locations in Canada.
Ostrander Point (Ontario)
From 1952 through 1957, pilots training at the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Station Trenton dropped potentially thousands of bombs on this site. This is one of Canada’s most punishing bomb hunting sites; a location where munitions debris are tangled with thick brush and poison ivy. Below the ground, everything from 60 pound bombs to “Mighty Mouse” rockets may be lying in wait.
Melbourne was a crucial bombing range during World War II, but now its thousands of practice bombs, buried just below the surface, present a potential hazard to the Chippewas First Nations town just meters away, and locals are literally finding bombs in their backyard. The local community is eager to reclaim this land for economic development and anxiously await the UXO work to be completed. As the crew starts digging, they find bomb after bomb and realize how complex the site may be.
McGivney (New Brunswick)
A trapper stumbled across this dump site in the woods of New Brunswick, still littered with bomb casings and anti-tank mines. When the authorities were alerted, the Department of National Defense stepped in. Hidden in the thick woods of New Brunswick, this former munitions depot is strewn with bomb casings, rocket parts and practice anti-tank mines – and that’s just on the surface. Since the public has also dumped their trash here for 40 years, no one knows what may lie under the decades of garbage and vegetation.
Lac St. Pierre (Quebec)
This is one of the most dangerous lakes in Canada. Its southern shore is home to DND’s Munitions Experimental Test Center, where munitions are subjected to compliance testing. Between 1952 and 2000, the center used the lake as one of its main ranges. Nearly 300,000 rounds now rest on the lake bed, as many as 3,000 of which are believed to be explosive. Since 2000, to safeguard the local community and in an effort to sustain the fragile ecosystem, the practice of firing munitions into the lake was stopped. This is a dangerous place to work and for the Canadian UXO industry represents a challenge that must be overcome. Tragically, one local man died along with 9 others injured in the same accident when a round detonated in a campfire. Consequently, survey and clearance activities of the high risk areas are a priority.
Niagara-on-the-Lake is steeped in over 200 years of military history. Because of its age, there is a staggering range of possible UXO here, with over 30 types of UXO having been discovered in past operations.
Thiepval (British Columbia)
This wreck lies at the bottom of a channel off the coast of British Columbia, in an area called “the graveyard of the Pacific” because of its treacherous waters. The HMCS Thiepval has a fascinating history as part of the Canadian Navy and was involved in daring rescues, espionage, international diplomacy, world record attempts and chasing rum runners. Crumbling since the day she sank in 1930, the wreck has become popular with recreational divers – but inside her fragile hull may be a deadly cargo of live bombs. And unlike practice ranges, UXOs found here are guaranteed to be High Explosive and live.
The Department of National Defense’s UXO program has provided a primer on the kinds of UXO’s that the Bomb Hunters’ are searching for across Canada.
For more information on the Bomb Hunters locations, please visit www.bombhunters.ca
For more information on the Department of National Defence’s UXO Legacy Program, please visit: www.uxocanada.forces.gc.ca
Bomb Hunters airs Mondays at 10pm on HISTORY.