Welcome to Spy Camp!

Posted: June 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


Is your child spy material? Do they ever notice things others have overlooked? Find riddles and codes to be no challenge at all? The Diefenbunker is offering a chance to perfect those spy skills by training young spies all summer long.
Spy Camp gives campers the opportunity to complete week-long missions while training to obtain the mysterious status of a Bunker Agent. Every week there will be a different theme to perfect a specific spy skill set, so don’t be afraid to sign up for more than one!

The Art of Espionage
The Art of Espionage is a how-to guide to becoming a spy. From creating new identities, to learning about famous spies to embarking on your own mission, our spy instructors will tell all. At the end of training, our spy trainees will be ready to take on spy missions of their own and will go down in history as masters of all spy trades.


Making And Breaking Codes
Does your child know how to break a top secret code using nothing but their own knowledge? Can they send secret messages in Morse Code? This week of Spy Camp will focus on training young spies to use their top-notch spy intelligence to create, break and design their own codes. After completing daily missions, spies will be master coders.

Master of Disguise
Does your child ever pretend to be someone else? To take on a different identity? Spy Camp’s Master of Disguise training will perfect those skills by using several different methods of disguise to complete daily missions. Spies who graduate from this week of spy training will be completely undetectable to enemy spies with the skills they acquire, and will truly become masters of disguise!

Investigation: Hunt for the Mole
There is a mole among the bunker staff; a spy gone bad is leaking inside information to the evil Agent X! This week in spy camp, young spies will attempt to sniff out the mole by solving mysteries and looking for clues. Learning sneaky spy techniques will help them on their mission.

The Science Behind Spying
This week in spy camp will focus on experiments to aid in solving Agent X’s riddles. Using the power of science, spies will learn various skill including fingerprinting to improve their spy techniques.Training will allow the spies to use their smarts as well as their stealth to put an end to Agent X’s reign of evil!

The Case of the Missing Spy
Help! One of the Bunker Spies has gone missing and it’s up to the young spy trainees to help us locate them. Using masterful problem solving and wonderful stealthy moves, the spies will be put to the test to try to save the missing spy before they’re taken by the evil Agent X!

Whichever week your child attends, they will be gaining valuable spy experience, learning about the Cold War and the bunker, as well as creating fun memories they’ll never forget! We look forward to having your child join the ranks of the Diefenbunker Spy Academy!

For more information, see our website!

by Noelle Wielowieyski (Bunker Guide and Spy Master)


Can you believe it’s nearly April?  This past month flew by so quickly for us here at the Museum.  With two weeks of steady family visits during the Quebec and Ontario March breaks, and a sold out week of Spy Camp, we have happily had our hands quite full.  Now, we’re looking forward to the many great programs and events we have planned over the coming months:

Artist-in-residence Jesse Stewart will begin installing his first sound installations throughout the Museum in April. Come see how an award-winning musician interprets our spaces. We are sure he’ll encourage you to hear things in a whole new way!

The Easter Bunny will be hopping from floor to floor at the Bunker on April 4th, leaving behind nut free chocolate eggs for the kids. Join us for the hunt!


Afghanistan, Unordinary Lives, an exhibition of photographs by Slovenian photographer Manca Juvan will launch on April 23rd. The exhibition has traveled to venues in the United States, France, Brussels, Luxembourg and more, and we are proud to partner with the Embassy of Slovenia in sharing Juvan’s photographs with Ottawa audiences.

   children playing

We are pleased to be hosting two very special private events in April:

Our amazing volunteers will be honoured with a with an evening of appreciation on April 14th.  From tour guides and facility maintenance, to zombies and members of the Diefenbunker Volunteer Radio Group, we are fortunate to work with such dedicated and generous community members.

The Diefenbunker Alumni Association is meeting for their annual reunion on April 25th.  What stories they must have!  Visit our website to learn more about the Association.

“And the winner of Ottawa Tourism’s 2015 Partnership of the Year is …”  Fingers crossed our names will be called at the awards ceremony on April 30th!  We are finalists with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany for our 25|Berlin exhibitions and graffiti workshop.  We’ve extended the dates for German Canadian Graffiti Jam: The Bunker Reunion and The Wall, Niederkirchner Strasse by Leslie Hossack to May 3rd so come out to see what has us in the running for this award.

Deutsche Kuenstler (640x82)

Already a dramatic space, our blast tunnel will boom with the sound of an extended piece for solo bass drum and percussion by Jesse Stewart on May 3rd. There are still a few tickets left for the second performance that evening so don’t miss out!  It’s sure to be a memorable event.


May is also the month in which we welcome our new summer staff.  We look forward to getting to know them all and invite you to come out for a tour with the new recruits!

Roses and brunch are great, but how about adding a visit to the Diefenbunker with mom on Mother’s Day?  We’ll be offering a special Women’s History Tour and discounted admission for that special lady.  Dare to be different!

Happy Spring!

The Diefenbunker has something to offer everyone this fall so plan to join us in Carp in the coming weeks.

For the art lover, Breaking Barriers continues to January 31, 2015.  Organized in partnership with One World Dialogue, the exhibition explores the lessons of breaking barriers and the symbolism of the Berlin Wall in its efforts for peace.  Come and see how the Bank of Canada Vault has been transformed into a dramatic exhibition space for works by local artists, youth, and community members.

For those who enjoy scary tales and even a little gore, we offer Incident at the Bunker: A Zombie Adventure. Organized in partnership with The Haunted Walks Ottawa, Incident at the Bunker is an interactive adventure with the undead, deep inside the labyrinth that is the Museum.  With over 140 volunteer zombies this year, it may be our scariest Halloween season ever.  There are still three tour dates left, including a special after hours tour on Sunday, October 26th.  Tickets can be purchased online through The Haunted Walks Ottawa.  It would be ‘ghoulish’ for you to miss out!

For the history buff, we are recognizing the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall through a trio of exhibitions organized in partnership with the German Embassy to Canada.  25 | Berlin brings together the photography of artist Leslie Hossack, bold works by graffiti artists from both Berlin and Montreal, and a dramatic overview of the story of 20th century Europe as told through rare photographs, newspaper clippings and political cartoons from different European archives.

For those who are into the ‘underground’ party scene, we are proud to be hosting a Free Europe Party in partnership with Nature Nocturne Productions.  With a German DJ, food and drink from across continental Europe, and a range of fun, interactive activities, it’s sure to be a party like no other.  Tickets are available online through the Canadian Museum of Nature.  Let’s show them how we do it in Ottawa’s West End!

For all proud Canadians, we are honoured to host our annual Remembrance Day Ceremony in recognition of the sacrifice of those fallen during the Cold War.  Join us for this moving ceremony followed by a tour of the Museum.

And for those with a taste for fine spirits, we are happy to serve up our 3rd Annual Whisky Tasting Fundraiser. Guests will taste the wide range of flavours, aromas, and colours available in single malts and learn how various influences determine the distinct characteristics in particular whiskies, the importance of ageing, and the process of maturation.  Part travelogue, part history lesson, and certainly a multi-sensory experience, guests will taste five different whiskies with five different food pairings.  Whisky Business is a delectable event that is sure to sell out so reserve your tickets today!

Still looking for more?  The Diefenbunker offers daily public tours, spy themed birthday parties, a Cold War store and more all within the thick concrete walls of our National Heritage Site.  There really is no place else like the Diefenbunker.  We hope to see you soon!

On September 20, 2014, One World Dialogue, in collaboration with the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, present the exhibition Breaking Barriers. This exhibition is the second the two organizations have collaborated on to mark International Peace Day (September 21). While this is the fourth year One World Dialogue continues to build this exhibition around Peace Day and working with the arts community in Ottawa for peace dialogue, it is an exciting year with the Diefenbunker to explore an aspect of history and intriguing theme!

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This exhibition explores through visual art, interpretations, expressions and lessons learned of breaking barriers and the symbolism of the Berlin Wall in its efforts for peace. For One World Dialogue, working with the Diefenbunker and connecting peace to the Cold War context has provided the opportunity to delve deeper into areas of peace dialogue that can connect generations and diverse sets of contexts. One World Dialogue aims to build a culture of peace. The organization is dedicated to re-thinking how social challenges are solved through art, design and the process of integrative thinking to build strong, integrated and vibrant communities.

Breaking Barriers is displayed within the Bank of Canada Vault in the Diefenbunker. For One World Dialogue, a major part of the organization’s work is to design and transform spaces to build dialogue and peace in communities. It is wonderful to see how the Vault can once again be transformed from what normally may feel like a cold, damp, empty place once built to store the gold reserves of Canada, into a colourful space for creativity and cultural innovation.

In early 2014, six artists were brought together  to commission pieces for the exhibition: Sarah Barbary, Carol Howard Donati, Jaime Koebel (curating works by Howard Adler, Heather Campbell, Rebekah Elkerton, Peter Purdy, and Tim Yearington), Randolf McMillan, Marie-Paule Thorn, and Sandy Woods.

Each artist explored the theme of the exhibition from a different perspective. The purpose was to explore how, through visual art and the storytelling, various artists representing different ‘voices’ in our community can connect with the idea of breaking barriers for peace. Randolf McMillan has direct connections to the Berlin Wall as an artist who painted on the Wall before and after it was taken down. Sarah Barbary explores through animation how the next generation may explore this theme in today’s context and through a modern lens. Sandy Woods walks us through personal connections to peace and how to build peace through a series called Positive Peace. Carol Howard Donati takes a unique exploration of breaking barriers through historical research and personal stories from the Cold War to messages on food security as present day challenges to global peace – all presented via textile art using recycled plastics, fabrics and dying techniques. Marie-Paule Thorn takes visitors on a vibrant journey of interpreting images form the Berlin Wall and the playfulness of youth open to your own interpretations. Finally, local Aboriginal artists, curated by Jaime Koebel, share Canadian stories of connecting peace to our natural surroundings, the voice and protection of women in our communities, the challenges around identity and hope for Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

In addition to the amazing art and stories created by our artists, One World Dialogue and the Diefenbunker worked with youth in the Ottawa area over the summer of 2014 to engage in dialogue on breaking barriers to peace. The groups included: CHEO School, Manotik Public School, H’Art of Ottawa, Taggart Family YMCA, Odawa Native Friendship Centre and Miwaashin Lodge.

Breaking Barriers WRECKING BALL

This journey brought us into a number of schools and community groups to lead a visual thinking workshop centered on dialogue. Using photos of graffiti art from the Berlin Wall, before and after the fall, we asked the question: If there was a wall between you and peace, what would you write or draw on it?

Visual thinking is a way to open up dialogue and create a safe space for learning and sharing, a space without barriers! Each group discussed the ideas of walls and barriers, from tangible barriers like the Berlin Wall that divided a country, to intangible barriers of ideology, perception, ability and culture. The workshops inspired a greater dialogue, demonstrating the power of alternative, creative learning as the mechanism to empower youth in the community.

These programs were inspiring and demonstrated how, when given an opportunity, young minds are ready and willing to delve deep and creatively into all subjects. Some moments that stand out in particular are, when a kid in grade 5 walked up and bluntly shared ‘peace is relative’, seeing how kids who normally do not speak up in class feel they have a voice worth sharing, the pride youth have in creating messages about peace through art to be displayed in the exhibition or hearing the messages that come out from groups with developmental disabilities expressing the need to more understanding, less bullying, respect and more – not only demonstrate that peace is relevant, but that there is more work to be done in providing power to more people to express their ideas and build a culture of peace.


With Labour Day weekend just days away, we at the Diefenbunker are preparing to bid farewell to an impressive group of young people who kept the Bunker running smoothly throughout the busy summer months.  They tackled specially assigned projects; led secret missions over nine action-packed weeks of Spy Camp; greeted and toured the masses every day of the summer; and hosted innumerable Bunker birthday parties on weekends.  Not to mention the unexpected challenges that arise in a busy, underground bunker museum!

Some were familiar faces from summers past or from part-time work throughout the year, others were new recruits from back in the spring.  We thank them all for their amazing work and wish them our very best in their future endeavours.  

We are very fortunate to be holding on to a few from the team and look forward to working with them throughout our busy fall season.

Thanks again and best wishes to one and all!

Cassie Claire Emma Katie Baird Madeliene Marcelina Nick Nico Elisabeth

Kaitlin Sean Krista Steph Torie

Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a public consultation organized by the Department of Canadian Heritage to view the design concepts of the six finalists for the creation of the National Memorial to Victims of Communism: Canada, a Land of Refuge. Each finalist presented a concept board, a maquette, and a sample of materials, as well as other visual aids like digital walk-throughs. We had the opportunity to discuss the entries with each design team, as well as with each other. We were encouraged to share our thoughts and comments in writing with the jury. With a room full of architects, heritage professionals and enthusiasts, landscape architects, and members of the public, a very lively discussions broke out.

I’m grateful for the opportunity to have viewed these exciting designs, and am looking forward to the announcement of the winner in the Fall. The memorial will pay tribute to the over 100 million victims of Communist regimes, and will surely provide visitors and citizens of Ottawa with increased awareness of the crimes of communism, and a reflection of what our country has done to provide refuge to many who came here to escape these regimes.

I invite you to view the images and concepts of these remarkable designs, and to discuss them in our comments section!

Information Sheet Public Viewing_ENG

PFS Proposal

PFS Proposal

Bartosik Proposal

Bartosik Proposal

PowerPoint Presentation

Moskaliuk Proposal

North Proposal

North Proposal

Kupusta Proposal

Kapusta Proposal

Rapoport Proposal

Rapopart Proposal

Written Proposals:











Dr. Strangelove Movie Night!

Posted: August 13, 2014 in Uncategorized

Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Stangelove or: How I learned to Stop worrying and Love the bomb” turns half a century old this year! What better way to celebrate this iconic film then by watching it in a Cold War Bunker? Bring your family and friends on Thursday August 21st for an exclusive viewing of this masterpiece…75 feet underground!

6:00pm – Optional guided tour; 7:00pm – Film
Tour and film: $15; Film only: $8.

Free popcorn!  Candy and beverages will also be available for sale.

For more information or reservations please call 613-839-0007 or e-mail info@diefenbunker.ca. Spaces are limited!


As promised in last week’s Diefenchunk post, I’m happy to share my findings on a special can of dehydrated milk from the Bunker’s collection.


The milk can is a cylindrical can of dried or dehydrated milk in powder form. The contents of the can are still intact, as the can was never opened.  The label includes the “11 Steps to Survival” instructions with suggestions for food for a fallout shelter on the back of the can.  There are also mixing instructions and  the 14 day milk requirements according to number of people.  The can is 15.2 cm tall, 12.7 cm in diameter and weighs 1 lb.

This can of Mil-ko was given to Prime Minister John Diefenbaker November 9, 1961 as a gift from Ray H. Bissell. It was the first special Fall-out Safety Pack to be produced. The Emergency Measure Organization (EMO) helped fund the production for the manufacturing labels.  Ray Hartley Bissell was the inventor of this process and method of dehydrating milk for the use of survival packs.

milko 1milko 2

History of Object/ Use

Ray Hartley Bissell filed for a patent for the process of increasing the solubility of powdered milk November 21, 1955. Bissell is the assignor to Mil-ko Products Limited in Hamilton, Ontario.  The invention is a specific processing of powdered milk that allows for lactose particles, leading to a better taste when mixed in water. The idea was to provide a milk that can instantly dissolve and taste fresh. Mil-ko Products Limited became a registered company October 3, 1958 – a month before the can was given to Prime Minister Diefenbaker. The company’s current owner is Agropur Cooperative in Longueuil, Quebec. 

In the event of a nuclear blast, nuclear fallout was a great concern for water and food supplies. If fallout particles do not mix directly with the food, then the food is not harmful. Food and water needs to be in dust-tight containers in order to preserve the content against nuclear radiation fallout. Peeling fruits and vegetables removes essentially all fallout as well as removing the top several inches of grain or similar food supplies that may have been touched by fallout. Water from various sources – such as deep wells, covered reservoirs, tanks, and containers – would not be contaminated by the fallout. Water contaminated by radioactive elements that have been dissolved can still be drinkable if it filtered through earth properly.

Food rationing was a reality of bunker-life. The cafeteria in the bunker was fully equipped and provided 4 meals a day, every day: breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as an overnight dinner for those working the night shift. Once a week fresh ingredients were delivered to the bunker. There were three walk-in coolers in the bunker kitchen – one for meat, one for dairy products and a third for vegetables.  The kitchen was used every day for 33 years. Should there be a 30-day lockdown situation, fresh ingredients could last about one week before military personnel had to switch to eating ration packs. Garbage would have been compacted and stored in room 251 until it was safe to move outside. 

The EMO, Emergency Measures Organization was the association of preparedness for civilians. Emergency preparedness was a prevalent matter in the 1950s. The idea of planning for civilian defence and preparedness began at the Federal – Provincial Conference in August, 1950.  The federal and provincial governments agreed on a plan to set up training schools for leaders, and to publish information brochures for the public.  They also established the “11 Steps to Survival” pamphlet which was distributed across Canada. It was rare for a household to not have at least one copy. 6 It was in part by the EMO that CFS Carp (or the Diefenbunker) was commissioned and constructed – as well as help from the Foundation Company of Canada under the direction of the Department of National Defence. 

This Mil-Ko can, and the support of the EMO for the production of the product, is indicative of the government’s efforts to prepare the civilian population for the aftermath of a nuclear attack during the Cold War.

Fleming College’s Museum Management and Curatorship post-graduate program is an Ontario College Graduate Certificate.  The unique an intensive structure of this program provides 75% of class time at the Peterborough Museum and Archives in Peterborough, Ontario.  In addition to the fast-paced 8-months of course work, there is a 14 week internship where each student chooses a location to spend their summer interning and producing a major research project.  As an upcoming graduate of this program, I chose to intern at the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War and have enjoyed working as the Museum’s Programs and Exhibitions Intern since earlier this summer.

I undertook this research project as a requirement of the College’s internship program, but also as a way to help the Museum prepare for the upcoming launch of an online database for the Ottawa Museum Network.  The project intends to define the importance of community museums and the need to share local history and culture. The outcome of this project is a manual on how to catalogue and enrich artifacts from a museum collection. A well-researched artifact will provide researchers as well as the public with accessible information and perhaps a desire to visit the Museum and National Historic Site.

The core of the project includes ten artifacts that were chosen from the Diefenbunker’s collection to enrich, photograph, and provide a condition report. This will allow the Diefenbunker to upload well-researched records with photographs for researchers or individuals wishing to look through the different artifacts the museums have online.

Each artifact chosen has a copy of the original cataloguing sheet, a digital copy of the newly completed cataloguing worksheet, a condition report, and photographs. Some artifacts have additional content. If original photographs were found during research, they were included as part of the file for research purposes. Upon researching all the chosen artifacts, there were 2 I found particularly fascinating and integral to the Bunker’s history as a military base as well as a Museum; the Diefenchunk and a can of dehydrated milk.  I will share my findings on these artifacts in a two-part blog post, starting today with the Diefenchunk.


The Diefenchunk was donated to the museum in May 2002 as a gift.  On the front of the packaging it reads, “Genuine DIEFENCHUNK From the site of the Diefenbunker Carp, Ontario October 1995.” On the back of the paper packaging, “Thank you for supporting the WEST CARLETON TOWNSHIP PUBLIC LIBRARY”.  The chunk in its packaging is 13.3 cm in length, and 12.1 cm wide.

Diefenchunk front

Diefenchunk back

History of Object/Use

John Diefenbaker was the Prime Minister of Canada from 1957 – 1963, a time in which North America faced the greatest period of nuclear threat and warfare. Canada itself faced the height of nuclear threat during the 1950s and 1960s, reaching a climaxed period during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962; a time when a very possible nuclear war almost erupted between the United States and the Soviet Union. Diefenbaker ran Canada in its heightened time of fear and near conflict (Jeffrey, Brian, The Guide’s Guide to the Diefenbunker, Carp, ON: Diefenbunker, 2011).

CFS Carp, or the Diefenbunker, was commissioned in 1959 under the rule of Prime Minister Diefenbaker – hence the nickname. The construction of the 100,000 square-foot nuclear fallout shelter was designed for continuity of government. It was used as a communications facility during its 33 years of operation – between 1962 and 1994. Approximately 535 of the most important individuals were chosen to come to the bunker should there be a nuclear attack on Canada. Individuals including the Prime Mister, Governor General, a CBC radio representative, RCMP, medical staff, various ministers, and military and government were chosen to escape to the bunker in the event of a nuclear attack. The Canadian government was forced to consider civil defense upon entering the 1960s when nuclear war seemed imminent. The plan was to provide a continuation of a functioning government should the worst-case scenario occur – a Soviet attack on Canadian soil. As a result, Emergency Government Facilities/emergency fallout shelters were built across Canada to accommodate federal, provincial, and municipal governments for up to thirty days at a time. The largest bunker built, the central federal government bunker, was built in Carp, Ontario, just west of downtown Ottawa. The reason for not constructing the bunker downtown in Ottawa was due to the fact that should a bomb fall on Ottawa, the government would be safe from the fallout since the wind blows towards the east in Canada – essentially blowing fallout towards Quebec rather than west towards the bunker site (Jeffrey, Brian, The Guide’s Guide to the Diefenbunker, Carp, ON: Diefenbunker, 2011).

The Bunker has a very unique construction. There are 32,000 cubic yards of poured concrete and 5,000 tons of steel used to construct it. The entire bunker is shock mounted and is designed to sway and move with any vibrations or movements caused by an earthquake from a nuclear blast. It is designed to withstand a 5-megaton nuclear bomb from approximately 1.8 kilometres away.  There are 5 inches of gravel surrounding it to help with movement – a floating foundation. All 90 miles of cables used for communications are buried underground and shock resistant as well.   All concrete was poured using wheelbarrows working at a constant rate. Approximately 900 concrete samples were taken to ensure accurate mixture, texture, consistency etc. Out of the 900 samples only 5 were rejected (The Nuclear Roof, DVD, 1963, Carp, ON : Canadian Forces Joint Imagery Centre).

In 1994, the Bunker was decommissioned and completely stripped bare of all its contents before the doors were to be sealed. In 1995, tours of the empty bunker began as a way of fundraising for the West Carleton Public Library. The tours given over a very short period of time amounted to $79,000 in funds. Other fundraising events were created to help with the library fundraiser. The “Diefenbooker” was created and hosted in Carp, ON. It is a chance to join a walk, run or cycling of varying distances as a way to raise money. Winners of the Diefenbooker received Diefenchunk awards.

Jewelry and other souvenirs were created and sold as a way to raise money for the library before the Bunker was a museum.  Earrings were a popular item made and sold on site.  This Diefenchunk is a perfect example of one of the various souvenirs sold for this National historic Site before it was a museum. Have you seen any other kinds of bunker jewelry?

chunk earrings

The Diefenbooker still occurs every year. As part of the award, winners receive medals with Diefenchunks mounted inside. Due to the success and popularity the Bunker earned from the tours and fundraising events, it was made into a museum in 1998 and now operates 363 days a year (Brown, Dave, “Diefenbenders,” The Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa, ON, Apr. 17, 1996).

Stay tuned next week for my findings on a very special can of dehydrated milk!

Bunker Birthday Parties

Posted: July 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

The Diefenbunker if offering Birthday Parties every weekend in the summer! If you have a child between the ages of 7-12 then they will love our Spy Themed Birthday Parties. The children will dress up, go on top secret missions and crack codes! Birthday Parties include

  • Scavenger hunt
  • Tour of the Bunker
  • Spy themed games
  • Agent X chase and MORE!

Birthdays are scheduled Saturday and Sunday at 10pm, 1pm, 3pm. Loot bags can be provided upon request as well spy themed invitations! For Further information please visit our website http://diefenbunker.ca/birthday-parties/    or e-mail birthday@diefenbunker.ca!