Archive for May, 2012

Elle The Bunker Girl

There is only a day until the Bunker presents Bunkers, Boys, & Babies: Ladies of the Cold War, the Diefenbunker’s first ever Mother’s Day event. Thus far, I only baited you with a few glimpses of what we have in store for this event. I must say, to list the rest of the activities, there are a tremendous amount of things to mention in this blog! And I still owe the readers a DIY project.

First things first, let’s talk about aprons and the tradition following them. The apron is still viewed by most as the epitome of domesticity. With women taking to the workforce, perhaps their importance in the house-hold dwindled, although seemingly, there is a specific niche market for them as younger girls embrace the more creative and elaborate designs. At Vintage Wear/Ware, a quaint vintage shop in Almonte, their presence is strewn all across the store serving as a great example of retro flair.

Vicki Racey, owner of Vintage Wear/Ware, explains that “the apron evokes a warm feeling of nostalgia- a kitchen scented with baking,” an image contrary to its utilitarian design to protect clothing from “the drudgery of hard work”. But having to wear these purposeful garments every day was unacceptable for women of the time if these looked drab. This is especially so as women needed to show style while assuring the upkeep of their home, exemplifying perfect housewife etiquette. This created a variety of different styles of aprons for various occasions.

Adorable Apron

Fun Smock Apron

Flirty Apron

Come see our great selection of aprons along with gorgeous vintage baskets for sale in our Cold War Store! Also, you’ll be sure to see some of us Bunker girls strutting proudly with our own aprons.

Example of scrumptious cake pops from Cupcakes at Heart

To sum up this Mother’s Day event, a guided Women’s History tour is offered every hour on the hour starting at 11am and the last offered at 2pm. After your tour, you have the choice to self- guide through the museum and attend Marcia Lea’s Cold War art show in the cafeteria. Of course, we’ll have the MADD “mocktails” along with some delicious cake pops from Carleton Place’s Cupcakes at Heart (while quantities last).

On top of all that, we’d like to toss in some pampering time. This unusual association of the word “pampering” with an underground blast shelter is definitely thinking outside the box, but that is what we’re in the business of doing at the Bunker and exactly what we offer this Mother’s Day! Fulton’s Pancake House is offering mini-hand treatments* to mothers for that much needed pampering, and for that quality time with the kids, “Mommy & Me” treatments as well.

Feel free to send the kids to the art and crafts room while you peruse the exhibits and mingle in our lounge area, set-up expressly for this event.

Finally, that well awaited do-it-yourself project. As you will see, throughout the Bunker, these fun and easy tissue pom-poms are a great way to add splashes of colour throughout your event space. Anyone can make them, and is a great project for mother and children.

Tissue Pom-Poms

Step 1- Take between 8-10 sheets of tissue paper. You can mix your colours here to make wacky pom-poms.

Step 2- Depending on how full or large you want the pom-pom, you can fold along either edge a 1 ½ inch fold. Folding along the long edge will make a big pom-pom, where as folding along the shorter edge will make the pom-pom smaller but seem fuller. Flip and fold the other sid and continue to do so to create an accordion fold.

Step 3- Gather loosely in the centre with a twist-tie, pipe cleaner, string, or ribbon.

Step 4- Once secured, you can cut the ends in different shapes (into points or scallops) depending if you want a certain look to them.

Step 5- Carefully separate and fluff each layer until you get a pom-pom. You can choose to pull them all one directions to create a flower that rests on a surface.

Et voilà!

A good link for this project is Martha Stewart’s website. I hope you enjoyed this DIY. Be sure to stop by the Bunker and see how creative we’ve been with our pom-poms!

See you all on Mother’s Day!

*Mini-hand treatments offered between 12pm and 3pm by Fulton’s Pancake House, using Maple Luscious products. Please reserve your space in advance by calling us at 613-839-0007. Mini hand-treatments are sold separately: $15 per person or $20 for mother and child. Cash only.


We both thrive underground and we prove to be deeply rooted in our community.

Today, a group of students from the Heritage Academy came to explore the Diefenbunker while the Vice Principal (Derek), the Director of Physical Education (Mike), and our Marketing and Community Relations Manager (Kelly) dug up a space to plant a potato garden!

Planting PotatoesThe Diefenbunker is taking part in the Potato Project; an initiative developed by the school as a means to grow fresh food for people in need. In September, the potatoes will be harvested by the students and donated to the Ottawa Food Bank. Their goal is to donate 2 tonnes of potatoes to the Ottawa Food Bank and we are excited to contribute.

Heritage Academy was an amazing support. They brought 150 year old reclaimed timber to use as the walls of our garden, mushroom compost mixed with top soil and two different types of potatoes: Kanabec and Red Chiefton (donated by Homestead Organics).

Derek, standing beside our new potato patch!As a local community museum, the Diefenbunker embraces the fact that we are also part of a vibrant community that supports our programs and activities. To us, being part of the Potato Project is our way to give back to our community. In a small way we are helping to make Ottawa a better place to live.

To learn more and/or become a part of the Potato Project you can visit their Spud Blog here.

To see more pictures, please visit our album on Facebook.

We will keep you updated on our potato progress and if you have any tips or tricks for growing spuds please leave us a reply below!

Students standing by the fresh potato patch!

The Butter Battle BookHere is an exceptionally creative video created by Benjamin Reyes, a grade 12 student at Canterbury High School. This short trailer was created for the Ottawa Public Library Teen Tech Video Contest and won 1st place!

It’s a live action rendition of Dr Seuss’ allegory to the Cold War: The Butter Battle Book. It also pays homage to Dr Strangelove, a movie we showed recently on our Cold War Cinema Night.

Congratulations Benjamin!

What do you think of  Dr. Seuss’ The Butter Battle Book?

Emergency Preparedness Week is a national awareness initiative that has taken place annually since 1996, two years after the closing of the Diefenbunker as the Central Emergency Government Headquarters Carp. In honour of this week, the Diefenbunker has tasked itself with sharing a step from 11 Steps to Survival. This guide was issued to Canadians by Emergency Planning Canada and it included information about what to do before, during and after a nuclear attack.

Read it with care as it could greatly increase your chances of survival.”
Emergency Planning Canada

Step 9: Know how to get rid of radioactive dust.


Decontamination Showers at the Diefenbunker

To remove the danger you must remove the fallout dust, but do not shake or disturb the dust in any way! To learn how to do this effectively, we invite you to take a walk through our decontamination showers and find out how people rid themselves of these worrisome “fallout” particles.

To view all 11 tips offered by 11 Steps to Survival, please visit our Cold War Store after your tour!

Walks through our showers can be guided or self-guided. English guided walks offered every day at 11am and 2pm, an additional tour on Saturday and Sunday at 1pm. French guided walks offered at 11am on Saturdays and Sundays only. Open every day from 11am to 4pm for self-guiding. For information on our hours and how to get to the Diefenbunker please visit:

To learn more about recent Emergency Preparedness measures, please visit Get Prepared at

Source: Emergency Preparedness Canada. 11 Steps to Survival. Minister of Supply and Service Canada. 1980.

La semaine de la sécurité civile

La semaine de la sécurité civile est une initiative nationale qui a lieu à chaque année depuis 1996, deux ans après la fermeture du Diefenbunker comme la base centrale d’urgence du gouvernement. En honneur de cette semaine, le Diefenbunker s’est chargé à partager des conseils du livre 11 Steps to Survival. Ce guide a été distribué aux Canadiens par Planification d’urgence Canada et inclu des mesures à prendre avant, durant, et après une attaque nucléaire.

Lisez-le avec soin lorsqu’il peut grandement augmenter vos chances de survie.”
Planification d’urgence Canada

Étape 9: Sachez à se débarrasser de la poussière radioactive.

Pour éliminer les dangers, vous devez déplacer la poussière du retombée. Il ne faut pas secouer ou déranger la poussière! Pour apprendre comment se débarrasser effectivement, nous vous invitons à prendre une marche dans nos douches de décontamination et apprendre comment les gens se purgeaient des particules menaçantes.

Pour savoir les 11 étapes de préparation offertes par 11 Steps to Survival, venez passer par notre boutique de la Guerre froide après votre tournée!

Visites des douches de décontamination peuvent être guidées ou auto-guidées. Voir notre site web pour tous les détails >>

Pour savoir davantage des récentes mesures suggérées par la Planification d’urgence Canada, s’il-vous-plaît, visitez Préparez-vous au .

Emergency Preparedness Canada. 11 Steps to Survival. Minister of Supply and Service Canada. 1980.

Written by Henriette Riegel

Excitement is building for our second Cold War Cinema night, featuring the funny and moving German film, Good Bye, Lenin! Released in 2003, this film pokes fun at German reunification and is part of the trend of critically-acclaimed films portraying the former East Germany, such as Sonnenallee and Das Leben der Anderen (The Lives of Others). Goodbye Lenin is a family drama that unfolds in a most unusual situation, the collapse of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the reunification of an ideologically-divided Germany. Told through the eyes of a young man, Alex (played by Daniel Brühl), we get a rare glimpse into a generation born and raised in a socialist system. Unlike their elders, East German youths were typically uninterested in politics but found themselves caught up in the momentous happenings going on around them.

The Berlin Wall

The Berlin Wall

Alex is from a single-parent family; his father abandoned the family early on to escape to the West. His mother (played by Katrin Saß) is a faithful socialist who spends her time writing to the government to improve the state of socialist women’s underwear. Alex is caught up in a dissident demonstration and his mother witnesses his arrest. She suffers a heart attack and falls into an eight-month long coma that coincides with the fall of the Berlin Wall and German reunification.

Flash forward to the day when Alex’s mother miraculously awakes! Her health is very tenuous and Alex is warned that she cannot have any excitement or upset.

Alex, his sister Ariane, and Alex’s new girlfriend Lara hatch a plan to recreate the old East German lifestyle that is familiar to their mother. They go to extreme (and hilarious) lengths to make time stand still in order to protect their mother from learning that she is now living in a capitalist society.

Ampelmännchen in action!

Ampelmännchen in action!

Gummi Bears

Gummi Bears

The film plays into the current trend of glorifying the former East German cultural identity, and in particular its social system and sense of community. ‘Ostalgia’, as this trend is called, can be seen in specific products that became hard to find after reunification, such as pickles from the Spreewald. A particular symbol of Ostalgia is the former Easter German pedestrian traffic symbol, the Ampelmännchen (little traffic light man), which can still be seen in many former East German cities. Ostalgia fictionalizes a regime now gone. In a similar fashion, Alex creates a fictional East Germany (and adds many improvements of his own to this fiction) in order to protect his mother’s health.

Having personally lived in the neighbourhood where Goodbye Lenin is set, watching the film brought back a flood of memories of the complex political and cultural subtleties of a Berlin which is in many ways still struggling with reunification.

By experiencing this poignant film in Canada’s Cold War Museum, I hope that viewers can begin to understand what everyday life during and after the Cold War must have been like at a time when both sides were so close physically and yet so distant politically.

Please join us for our Cold War Cinema night at the Diefenbunker, Tuesday May 15th at 7:00pm. Please visit our website for complete details.

The roots of volunteerism run deep at the Diefenbunker. In 1998, our museum was created by a dedicated group of volunteers – many of whom still volunteer with us regularly. Our volunteers do an amazingly diverse range of tasks, from leading tours and working in the archives, to doing maintenance work and running our very own amateur radio station, VE3CWM.

The Diefenbunker hosted a Volunteer Appreciation Night on Tuesday April 17, to celebrate National Volunteer Week. The event included a trivia contest, with prizes for 1st and 2nd place. And, of course, there was lots of tasty food to go around – made for the volunteers by staff.

The game had three sections: pub quiz-style team trivia, a lightning round and a round entitled “Master of Disguise.”

For the pub quiz, volunteers and staff worked in teams to answer multiple choice questions such as: Which US President signed the SALT II treaty?
A) Carter B) Nixon C) Reagan or D) Ford.

Volunteers thinking about answers to trivia

This answer is A) Carter

For the Lightning Round, two people from each team had to guess as many Cold War-themed words as possible in a minute and a half.

The last round was a competition to see who could disguise themselves the fastest. One person from each team had to put on a hat and coat from our Spy Camp wardrobe. The first person to finish won the most points for their team.

Volunteers dressed as spies

In the end, the winning team was the Starboard Side Midships with 37 out of 45 possible points!

The winning team with their mini trophies

Best of all, everyone – volunteers and staff – had a great time and a few good laughs.

Get Involved! Be a Diefenbunker Volunteer

At the Diefenbunker, we really cherish our volunteers. If you want to get involved as a volunteer please visit our volunteer page on our website here.

“Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the War Room,”

exclaims President Merkin Muffley as General ‘Buck’ Turgidson scuffles with Russian Ambassador, Alexi de Sadesky. Of course, the irony of this statement makes the Cold War Cinema audience laugh as it is one of the most recognized and quoted lines from the movie.

The 1964 cult classic, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb reintroduced our Cold War Cinema last Tuesday and proved what a great following this film has. We had over 55 people visit us for the first showing! The museum had delicious retro-style candy from The Candy Store and Dad’s Root Beer on sale, and to fit the vintage vibe of the evening …and let’s face it, of the museum! Unfortunately, the treats were not sold at “war” prices, as one visitor hoped for, recognizing some of the candy from his childhood.

The night was a success and incorporated a guided tour and a question and answer period lead by resident Dr. Strangelove-fan-extraordinaire and volunteer, Les Ott.

We hope to attract the same number for our showing of the German film “Good Bye, Lenin!” next movie night on May 15th.

Quiz time!

Welcome to Cold War Cinema!

No fighting in the War Room!

Dad's Root beer on ice. So retro.

Are these sold at "war" prices?

Thank you Candy Store!

For those who participated in the Dr. Strangelove quiz, here are the answers:

  1. The movie did start out as a serious suspense drama. As the movie script evolved the more bizarre elements of the madness that could result in a nuclear war became the defining tone for the dark satirical comedy we enjoy today.
  2. The book titled “World Targets in Megadeaths” is seen in the War Room, with the US President and with one of his generals.
  3. Even though the movie was in black and white, Kubrick wanted the actors to get the feeling of a poker game that was being played with the lives of the citizens of the world. The table in the War Room was green.
  4. When the B-52 is depicted over the USSR the backdrop is from footage shot over Greenland and Iceland. Indeed, when the film crews were flying over Greenland and Iceland they, by accident, came near a secret US airbase and were forced to land until the incident was cleared up.
  5. The movie suggests a 10:1 ratio of females to males in a bunker.
  6. Peter Sellers plays three roles. He plays an RAF officer (Group Captain Lionel Mandrake), the US President (Merkin Muffley), and the President’s advisor (Dr. Strangelove).
  7. Sellers was also slated to play the bomber commander (Major T.J. ‘King’ Kong) role, but he was injured during the filming of one of these scenes and could not complete the shoots. Indeed, some believe that the wheel chair was used in the Dr. Strangelove scenes due to Sellers’s injury.
  8. Peter Sellers was famous for improvising during a movie shoot. He added the black glove to Dr. Strangelove’s wardrobe from watching Kubrick who periodically wore black gloves when handling hot lights used on the set.
  9. Both bombs said: “Nuclear Warhead Handle With Care”. One also said: “Dear John”. The other said: “Hi There”.
  10. There is only one woman in the entire movie. In one scene she has an acting role, in another scene she is depicted in a Playboy type photograph.
  11. Prophylactics, lipstick, and nylon stockings are unusual items found in the air crew survival kit.
  12. The original script called for “A good time in Dallas”, but with Kennedy having just been shot in Dallas the other words were dubbed in.
  13. Major Kong keeps his cowboy in the safe of the B-52.
  14. The Civil Defence poster is in the scene where Peter Sellers tries to get some change to make a phone call. Note the spelling is Civil Defense since the poster is at a USAF bomber base.
Wait! There’s more Cold War Cinema for your entertainment!

Our next Cold War Cinema Film is Tuesday May 15th, 2012. We are showing Good Bye Lenin! in honour of Mother’s Day. For complete details, please visit our website here.

Have your say!

What Cold War movie would you like us to play? Please leave a reply below to let us know or email: