Historic Sites of Manitoba: Fallout Reporting Post GH3 (Northern Manitoba)
In the spring of 1962, at the height of the Cold War, the Canadian government began building a nation-wide Nuclear Detonation and Fallout Reporting System (NDFRS) to measure the pattern and intensity of radioactive fallout in the event of a nuclear explosion. A network of 2,000 small Fallout Reporting Posts, 200 of them distributed throughout Manitoba, would be constructed to take local fallout measurements. In Manitoba, results from each Fallout Reporting Post would be transmitted to Filter Centres located at the Pine Falls Armoury and Brandon Armoury where teams of women in the Canadian Women’s Army Corps would summarize and pass on the data to one of three Nuclear Detonation Reporting Posts (NUDET), located at RCAF Portage la Prairie and RCAF Gimli, and in the Great Falls Generating System. NUDETs would use the data to determine the location of the explosion and its fallout yield, and transmit this information to the Regional Emergency Government Headquarters (REGHQ) at Camp Shilo.
At least 100 of the 200 Fallout Reporting Posts in the Manitoba complement were constructed by mid-1962. Some were situated in railway stations, buildings belonging to federal and provincial agencies, and RCMP detachment offices. Others in more remote locations were built underground to protect the operators from radiation. This post, designated as GH3, consisted of a 12-foot vertical metal tunnel that led down to a second metal cylinder, about 15 feet long and seven feet in diameter, that housed the radiation monitoring equipment, storage shelves for food, water, and other supplies, and beds for two people. The post, located beside Devil’s Lake along Highway 6 south of Grand Rapids, remained in relatively good condition at the time of a late-2015 site visit. The vertical access tunnel is normally locked and inaccessible.
Photos & Coordinates
“Exercise planned to confirm fallout patterns,” Brandon Sun, 11 April 1962, page 3.
“100 fallout stations set in province,” Winnipeg Tribune, 23 July 1962, page 25.
“Fallout post still ‘voiceless’,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 August 1962, page 3.
“Simple shelters? Monitoring radioactive fallout across Canada, 1959-63” by Andrew Burtch, Canadian Military History, Volume 20, Number 4, Autumn 2011, pages 49-62.
Page revised: 18 December 2020