The National Trust for Canada has put the underground NORAD Complex on its Endangered Places List.
The National Trust is a national charitable not-for-profit organization dedicated towards the preservation and renewal of heritage buildings and historic places across Canada.
Listing the NORAD Complex as an endangered place will help to bring national attention to this sprawling modern-day fortress built under 600 feet of solid granite directly below Canadian Forces Base North Bay.
The National Trust notes that this unique site is in good condition and holds potential for creative and innovative reuse. In particular, the site has drawn the attention of the Canadian Broadcasting Museum Foundation, which requires a physical archive space for its collection of national digital materials.
Redeveloping the NORAD Complex into an archival centre provides a perfect opportunity to reuse a heritage site for a modern technical purpose. The Museum Foundation sees potential in using the Complex as a state-of-the-art repository and digitization centre for archival audio and visual material, to be accessed easily online across Canada. The archives would benefit from the insulation of the Canadian Shield, protecting digital resources from harmful electromagnetic fields, a necessity that creates high building costs in new archival structures.
The National Trust is calling on the federal government to provide bold leadership in the reuse of existing buildings and structures and retention of cultural assets. The reuse of the NORAD Complex by the Museum Foundation would provide an innovative second life for the Complex, prevent the need to construct a new facility, and create jobs in northern Ontario.