Archive for July, 2012

Two Spies watch intensely as Ralph teaches them Morse Code

Two Spies watch intensely as Ralph teaches them Morse Code

It’s that time of year again: the Diefenbunker is now headquarters for groups of spies in training.

Spy Camp runs for 9 weeks this summer, and we’ve already graduated three great groups of new DiefenSpies!

The theme for week two of Spy Camp was Making and Breaking Codes. They say that to be the best, you have to learn from the best. When it comes to coding – what better place than the former most top secret military communications base?

We brought in an expert to teach our DiefenSpies the art of Morse Code.

Ralph Cameron has been a volunteer with us for three years. He’s an amateur radio operator at the Bunker’s station, VE3CWM, and an expert in Morse Code. He’s so fluent in Morse Code that he even listens to books on tape in code!

Spy learns how to communicate by Morse Code

A DiefenSpy learns how to communicate by Morse Code

Ralph came in to teach our campers how to spell their names in Morse Code by using the telegraph. Through this he is teaching them about a form of communication that has had a huge influence on the development of communications in Canada and the world. In its 33 years of operations, CFS Carp was a communication centre for the military, and the Diefenbunker preserves and important part of the history of communications.

As we start to see a generation of children with no firsthand knowledge of the Cold War, it is ever important to bridge the generational gap and share knowledge like Ralph’s.

Guess What???

There is still time to sign up for Spy Camp! Please visit our Spy Camp page on our website or give us a call: 613-839-0007.


Come and enjoy our 4th Cold War Cinema film this evening at 7pm. Filmed in Thailand this 1963 political thriller is filled with bombings and murders – There is nothing cold about this film!

Experience Marlon Brando, pre-Godfather, as he attempts to negotiate the construction of Freedom Road, a lifeline for the people of the fictional South East Asian country of Sarkhan

Brando plays know-it-all ambassador Harrison Carter MacWhite, who is sent to Sarkhan to oversee the construction of a key road and smooth over political turbulence. From the moment he arrives into the country, he is met with violence and suspicion. Unable to trust even his wartime ally Deong, MacWhite is faced with Deong’s shift from former friend to rebel farmer who dislikes Americans and their exploitation of the Sarkhanese people and who is responsible for several riots against the Americans.

The film is based on the novel The Ugly American by Burdick and Lederer and draws from actual experiences that took place in American-occupied Vietnam during the Cold War. The film criticizes American behaviour by depicting the ugly attitude of American workers in Vietnam and by mirroring the sentiment of the local people toward Americans. Based on real people, the characters illustrate the range of human strengths and weaknesses during political conflict.

Optional guided tour of the Bunker is offered at 6pm.

Cost: $8 for movie only.
FREE for members.
$15 for guided tour and movie.

Details: 613-839-0007 or

Making & Breaking Codes

Making & Breaking Codes

The Diefenbunker has launched its first library outreach program. Our Guides are heading out to a new Ottawa Public Library every week to deliver a free one-hour bilingual workshop called:

Making and Breaking Codes/
Les Codes Secret

Our first stop was the Centennial Branch in Bells Corners, where our Guide Lindsey taught 14 future spies to use a cipher wheel and make their very own codes.
Each child wrote their name out in the unique codes they had designed.

Each child wrote their name out in the unique codes they had designed.

The second week took us to the Emerald Plaza Branch on Merivale. We had a big group of 17 kids for that! Our Guide Elizabeth was impressed by their focus as they wrote out their codes for her.

Kids concentrating at the Diefenbunker Library Program

Kids concentrating on breaking codes at the Diefenbunker Library Program

Outreach programs like this are a great way for the Diefenbunker to reach out to families who haven’t had the chance to visit us yet, and to teach kids all around Ottawa about the Cold War.

Spies-in-training learn how to use a cipher wheel.

Join us at a library near you!

You can register in advance on the Ottawa Public Library’s Website.

Wednesday July 18 @ 2pm
Rideau branch, 377 Rideau Street

Wednesday July 25 @ 2pm
Rosemount branch, 18 Rosemount

Wednesday August 1 @ 2pm
Greenboro branch, 363 Lorry Greenberg Drive

Wednesday August 8  @ 2pm
Stittsville branch, 1637 Stittsville Main

Wednesday August 15 @ 2pm
Carp branch, 3911 Carp Road

Tuesday August 21 2pm
Ruth E. Dickinson branch, 100 Malvern Drive

It’s the eve of our summer highlight event, and excitement is building at the Diefenbunker. Tomorrow, as part of the Music & Beyond festival, we are hosting Beyond the Bomb: Music of the Cold War.

Guests are invited to explore all levels of the former CFS Carp to hear dozens of performances. Visitors will be greeted by a rousing performance by the Maple Leaf Brass Band in our very own parking lot (really, I’ll never be able to park again without thinking of 30+ musicians playing music on our helipad.) From Victor Herbiet bringing “paranoia” back on solo saxophone in the Blast Tunnel, to Julian Armour on cello in the Morgue (which also would have doubled as meat storage!), there will be many exceptional performances in extraordinary spaces. The critically acclaimed Moscow String Quartet will be playing Soviet-era music in the Cafeteria. Prepare to be haunted by traditional Japanese flute music in Requiem, a memorial space dedicated to the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And for those of us who have never heard the unique and marvelous theramin, now’s your chance to hear Thorwald Jørgensen in the Allard Gallery play an instrument closely related to a former KGB spying instrument.

Guests will also have the opportunity to watch Cold War films. Stanley Kubrick’s cult classic, Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb will be playing in the War Cabinet Room (remember, gentlemen, no fighting in the War Room!) The Iron Curtain will be playing in the Rex Zero Workshop, and The Nuclear Roof, a documentary about the construction of CFS Carp, will be playing in the Model Room. Visitors can also participate in some fun activities like putting on disguises and getting “Spy Photos” of themselves, and collecting stamps at various stations within the Museum in order to enter a draw for some door prizes.

Naturally, with all this exciting music and film, we will have a bounty of Cold War and retro food and drink throughout the Bunker to refresh our guests. Thanks to our wonderful food and drink sponsors, guests can sample local beers, wine, “Cold War” food, retro candy, and locally-produced fudge. We are so grateful to all of our partners for supporting this event and our Museum. We are sure that this multi-sensory, multi-level smorgasbord of music, film and food will be an unforgettable evening.

Special thanks to all of our sponsors: