Archive for February, 2013

Valentine’s Day was extra sweet at the Diefenbunker this year!

Staff, volunteers and Board members were thrilled to receive a visit from the Honourable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. Volunteer extraordinaire, Captain (N) (Ret’d) Michael Braham gave Minister Moore and his team of Parliamentary Secretaries (Paul Calandra and Jacques Gourde) a special tour of the Bunker. As the former head of Operations for Emergency Preparedness Canada, Mike was one of the 535 people who would have been stationed in the Bunker in the event of a nuclear attack on Ottawa, and his personal experience and his passion for Cold War history made the tour particularly relevant.

This special visit was also the occasion of an announcement of a new investment from the Government of Canada in the Diefenbunker. The investment supports the conversion of the unique underground gold vault into a multifunctional programming and community space, and will help the museum increase its audience and reach to the community.
Diefenbunker Staff and Volunteers with Minister James Moore and Staff.

Minister Moore and his team enjoyed their tour of what could have been their accommodations in the unlikely event of a nuclear attack, and appreciated the fact that indeed, major Cold War conflict had been avoided! We also had the opportunity to discuss our new Strategic Plan and upcoming projects that will use the Diefenbunker’s unique learning environment to teach current and future generations to understand better one of the most critical times of the Cold War.

Written by Tanja Sofrenovic

Vector-Echo-3-Charlie-Whiskey-Mike (VE3CWM)! This is the call signal of the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum’s HAM radio station. Every Tuesday evening the Amateur Radio Club meets in the former Emergency Radio room of the museum, right next to one of the bunker escape hatches! Using high frequency radios, they talk to people from all over the world.

Amateur Radio Club - Photo by C. Scharf

Amateur Radio Club – Photo by C. Scharf

What makes this HAM radio station unique is the fact that it is one of the few places in Canada that operates from a museum. The group was started almost ten years ago by several members who were passionate about radio communication. Since then, they have rebuilt and acquired much of the radio equipment that was originally used during the Cold War.

While most of us are used to the cellular phones and the internet, which provide us with instant messages anywhere we go, there is something magical about radio communication. You never know who will respond to your call (called CQ in radio talk) or if they will even speak English! If you are interested in learning more on this topic or if you would like to become an expert in using Morse code, join us at the Museum or register for our March Break and/or Summer Spy Camp.

Tanja Sofrenovic is a volunteer writer for the Diefenbunker, and has been capturing the interesting history of our amateur radio station.

As a non-profit charity, the Diefenbunker truly recognizes the value of volunteers, donors and supporters. We also do what we can to help out other charities. Last year, we planted potatoes on our roof top for Heritage Academy’s Potato Project, we donated free admission passes for Cancer Survivors at the Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay For Life in Ottawa, we took part in the Steering Towards Hope Poker Run to support the Kidney Foundation of Canada and more!

Diana (MPI Member) & Kelly Volunteer with Event Set-up

Diana (MPI Member) & Kelly volunteer with event set-up

Starting off 2013 in the right direction

Our Marketing & Community Relations Manager, Kelly Eyamie, joined the Ottawa Chapter of Meeting Professionals International (MPI)’s Community Outreach Committee. One of the roles of this committee includes volunteering for the Ottawa Network for Education (ONFE) School Breakfast Program. Kelly explains, “We have the opportunity to volunteer at elementary schools to prepare and feed breakfast to students who otherwise would go hungry. It is an incredible feeling knowing that you are making such a difference in the life of a child. ”

ONFE Breakfast Program

Making a difference, one breakfast at a time.

It is proven through research that students who are given nutritious breakfasts daily make significant improvements in learning, school attendance, behaviour and self-esteem. The Ottawa Network for Education’s School Breakfast Program strives to ensure that every child in our community has access to a healthy breakfast and that all children are given an equal opportunity to succeed at school.

Last Thursday, Kelly also had the opportunity to help set up and attend MPI’s Annual Charity Auction and Dinner in Support of the School Breakfast Program. The event raised a grand total of $31,025.00! This will help feed nutritious meals to over 11,300 hungry children and youth in 148 schools across Ottawa.

What’s in store for 2013?

The Diefenbunker Staff and Volunteers look forward to our continuing our community outreach efforts (and of course our own fundraising efforts) for this year. We have plans for new partnerships that are in the works with local charities and we also plan to expand on the charities that we supported in 2012. We will be sure to share other success stories with you throughout the year!