Archive for August, 2014

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 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.