April 22, 2014

CFS Carp Almonte Detachment - Close Up

My family has a history in the Ottawa-Carleton area, and I can remember at a very young age driving by the CFS Carp Almonte Detachment many times.  I remember the antenna farm, I remember the red lights on top of the antennas, and I remember the sign on the side of the road instructing passing vehicles to turn off transmitters.  I don't remember when they tore down the antennas, but I presume it was after CFS Carp was decommissioned in the early 1990s.

I finally stopped in yesterday, for the first time, at what is left of the Almonte Detachment of CFS Carp; it is now an Ontario Parks Nature Preserve.  Going from a military facility that no doubt was treated with all sorts of carcinogenic herbicides, to a "nature preserve" provincial park makes me laugh a little - but I'm glad it's a protected space and won't be developed.

The moorings for the antenna guy wires and other concrete stumps are still around the property.  The access road is easily walkable, with only one bent gate to duck under.  There are no "no trespassing" signs, since it is a designated park!  A park with a nuclear blast resistant concrete bunker-building in the middle of it.

Access road, blocked to traffic,
easily walkable
There is a sufficient shoulder to park on the side of March Road / HWY49 if you stop by, or there is enough space for at least one vehicle to park on the access road.  The road has been closed and large stones placed to discourage driving through the property.  From the tire tracks, I'd say the stones aren't working, and you can probably access the property with a vehicle (illegally) elsewhere on the property.  I wouldn't recommend it, as the walk is an easy one.  Visiting in April, after the thaw, it is quite obvious there's a lot of stagnant water that hasn't been able to dissipate yet.  I didn't wear boots, but hiking shoes or something with a thick sole, and a keen eye for mushy ground is recommended.  
Gate has seen better days
Walking straight along the access road you will come to a barbed wire fence and gate.  The gate has clearly been bent back by something large, and you can easily duck through the gate without getting dirty. I would recommend bringing some Mechanix gloves or something similar if you plan on poking around.

CFS Carp Almonte Detachment Receiver Building
The building in the middle of the facility was where I presume remotely-operated HF radio receiver gear was installed, which would then relay the signal on to either the CFS Carp Richardson Detachment TX Site or to CFS Carp by land-line.  I have no blueprints (yet) of the building and no actual understanding of what it's complete purpose was, other than survive the apocalypse and function as an HF receiver.  There are two concrete rooms, like "wings", to either side of the main door.  They seem to be mirror images of themselves, and I cannot tell what they were designed to do. Both have blast shuters on their large vents, but the small space inside doesn't look like it would have held any heating/cooling gear.  The "wings" make rooms which are accessible by access panels, but no residual pipes or electrical were immediately obvious in the wing I was able to get into.  I'm going to need to do more research regarding CFS Carp / The Diefenbunker's receiver site at Almonte to understand what the big-picture was.

By climbing through the square access panel, which someone before me so conveniently removed, I was able to enter the right side "wing" and get a picture into the anteroom behind the outside blast door through a vent.  It's quite to my surprise that there is a second blast door!  The vent I was taking the picture through is ~18"x18", and at set about 7' off the floor.  Unfortunately, without a shrink-ray, I'm not getting through that vent to get any deeper into the building.


Nokia / Here Maps: http://her.is/3SJ8e
RX Building Visible in the middle of the property
Access road gate at the south
Perimeter road with barbed wire around the edge

1994 Topographic Map

View Larger Map


  1. if you want additional information on tjhis site and the main site (bunker) at Carp, contact the Bunker's Voluntary Radio Group or visit VE3CWM.com. We'd be happy to chat with you

    Brian Jeffrey VE3UU & VE3CWM

    1. Thank you Brian! I will certainly be in touch. I noticed a write-up on ve3cwm.com about what the original equipment would have been; I'd like to nail down what the equipment would have been at both RX sites, the TX site, and CFS Carp proper. I'm unclear what equipment would have been at the RX sites at all - the Shilo diagram called their RX site a remote antenna site, suggesting to me very little in the way of gear... I could be way off. If there is any information (yet) about how the TX/RX sites tie in with the rest of the REGHQs across Canada, and the SGTs (Carp and Folley Lake) I'd love to put together that piece of the puzzle too.