Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Picture this: it’s 1960, you’re 19 years old and you’ve just been appointed as Canada’s youngest radar technician and you’re now on your way to spend the next three years in the freezing cold Artic Circle. Sounds like a pretty exciting adventure, right? Well, have we got a story for you!

Join us at the Bunker on Thursday April 12, 2018 at 7:00pm to hear the real-life adventures of Bunker volunteer, Brian Jeffrey, as he shares his experience working on the Distant Early Warning Radar Line (DEWLine) in the Artic. From polar bear hunting, off-the clock hi-jinks, and dealing with bogies, Brian saw it all and he wants to share it with you! 

Hear history come alive for one evening only, right here at the Diefenbunker. Don’t miss “Adventures from the Coldest Part of the Cold War”! Tickets are only $6.00 and can be purchased through the Eventbrite link here (here) 



High-security Zone

Agent ‘H’

January 11, 2018


Agent ‘X’:

Status Report: Mission Success.

Integration into my new assignment at the Diefenbunker was successful. I have established my identity as intern Agent ‘H’. I have been granted full access to the Bunker and archives.

In accordance with mission perimeters I will thoroughly document all classified operations and report details to you directly. All information contained in my mission briefs should be considered ‘Top Secret’ and handled in accordance with proper security protocols.

Orientation provided the opportunity to observe the machine room which remains operational. Hazards were present as the floor surfaces were often uneven, ceilings low and visibility limited in many sectors. Infiltration of the machine room is not advisable under current conditions. The machinery is uniquely structured to withstand direct impact, with generators being mounted to spring boards allowing movement to occur in case of ground impact. Venting also includes accordion style structures allowing the venting to shift and contract. As a result, a direct assault on the Bunker from ground level will likely have little impact on power and internal operations.

Further reports to follow once more information has been acquired.

Agent ‘H’

People running from nuclear blast

Page from the 11 Steps to Survival guide issued by Emergency Planning Canada

Diefenbunker Team is hard at work preparing for the End of the World. December 21, 2012 is the last day of the Mayan calendar. What safer place to be at the End of the World than an underground nuclear bunker?!

December is all about preparing for the End here at the Bunker. On December 20, two hundred lucky listeners of 106.9 The Bear will be nestled safe 50-75 feet underground at midnight, listening to I Mother Earth and waiting for the End.

But what if you don’t believe that this is the End? On December 22 from 10:00am-12:00pm, we will be hosting a Survivor’s Brunch, so that the optimists can plan to attend. Join us for a brunch buffet of delicious food from the Swan at Carp. Be entertained by tales of survival, brought to you by the Ottawa Storytellers and experience our limited time “11 Steps to Survival” tour.

11 Steps to Survival

People taking cover from nuclear blastLooking for some tips on how to survive the End of the World?

This month only, the Diefenbunker brings you a special theme tour, designed around “11 Steps to Survival,” a guide published by Emergency Planning Canada during the Cold War.  This tour will take you through the Bunker, the 11 steps to surviving a nuclear attack and test your preparedness.

The tour is an hour long (give or take a few – depending on your survival skills), and will be offered following the Survivor’s Brunch on December 22 and before Cold War Cinema on December 18th at 6:00pm.

Take the tour before it’s too late!


2012 movie coverJoin us deep underground on Tuesday December 18th for Cold War Cinema. The apocalyptic movie “2012,” starring John Cusack, follows one family through a global cataclysm in the year 2012. Themes of emergency preparedness and continuity of government make this the perfect film for the end of the world at the Diefenbunker. You may even notice some similarities to Cold War planning.

The movie will begin at 7:00pm on December 18th, but be sure to join us for the 11 Steps to Survival Tour at 6pm.

Time: 7:00pm movie starts; optional tour at 6:00pm.

Cost: $8.00 for the movie, or $15.00 for the movie and tour.
As always, it is free for Museum Members & Connexion Card holders.

Complete event details can be found on our website at

Give Me Shelter Book CoverThe blast toppled the Parliament Buildings; downtown was levelled; fires threatened most remaining homes and offices; underground waterpipes were ruptured; bridges to Hull were crippled.

As sunset approached, dazed survivors crowded into Lansdowne Park seeking food and water. Casualties were horrific: 25,000 people were dead, 50,000 were injured and 105,000 were homeless…

“How’s that for the beginning of a book? Not a science fiction novel, but a serious, sobering look at Canada’s ineffective plans during the Cold War to deal with a nuclear holocaust.” By Paul Gessell, The Ottawa Citizen

Join us for the book launch of Give Me Shelter: The Failure of Canada’s Cold War Civil Defence by Andrew Burtch.

Date: Thursday November 15
Time: 7:00pm
Where: Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, 3911 Carp Road, Carp ON, K0A 1L0
Cost: Free

For complete event details please visit our website:

Discussions by author will follow.
Books will be available for purchase on site.
Light fare and refreshments will be served.

Please RSVP to  or call 613-839-0007 x274

We have entered the Aviva Community Fund and we need your support to help make our idea to support at-risk youth with conflict resolution skills.


Survivor: Cold War Conflict Resolution Workshops for At-Risk Youth

Imagine an interactive workshop designed to engage youth while learning key conflict resolutions skills. Imagine an immersive museum experience for at-risk youth in Ottawa. Imagine learning for the future, from the past.

An Immersive Interactive Experience

The Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, would like to use actual scenarios, designed by Emergency Preparedness Canada during the Cold War to train Canada’s top government officials, to teach at-risk youth valuable conflict resolution skills.

The Diefenbunker is a 100,000 square foot nuclear bunker. In the event of an attack on Ottawa, the Diefenbunker was designed to house 535 of the country’s most important political and military personnel. Today it is a Cold War Museum and National Historic Site, a unique and enthralling step back in time to an era of international political tension, paranoia and national emergency preparedness.

The Diefenbunker has been a museum, a private non-profit and a registered charity since 1998. We rely on the support of our community to keep the doors open to Canada’s only Cold War museum.

At the Diefenbunker, we have a new vision brought on by the creation of our new 5-year strategic plan. By showcasing Canada’s preparedness to secure the seat of government during the Cold War, the Diefenbunker creates this country’s most unique enjoyable, learning environment for present and future generations to better understand one of the most critical times in the world’s history. Our care of the Diefenbunker will make sure the best of the past is kept to enrich our lives today and in the future.

For the first time, we are faced with a generation of students who did not live through the Cold War. As Canada’s Cold War Museum, it is our job to teach youth the lessons of the Cold War. They are lessons in civil courage, in diplomacy and in conflict resolution. These lessons, in turn, can give at-risk youth valuable life skills. They can learn for their future, from the past.

Visit our project page for complete details and to vote:

While the heat and sunshine reminds us that we have a little time left to enjoy the summer before heading back to school in September, education is on our minds year-round here at the Diefenbunker. One of our most recent educational projects is really starting to get up off the ground, and we couldn’t be more excited! Our team is busy working on developing educational resources that teachers across the country will be able to use to bring the history and themes of the Cold War into their classrooms in the year 2014 and beyond. 2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event that saw East and West Berlin reunited and the effective end of the Soviet Union and the Cold War. What better time to get students engaged and to raise awareness of this monumental time in modern world history?

RBC, CMA & Diefenbunker Staff pose for a photo

RBC, CMA & Diefenbunker Staff

Cold War Teacher Resources Across Canada

We’re going to offer educators nation-wide a variety of packages to suit their subject, grade level, and personal teaching style. These will include all the tools necessary to help students gain a critical understanding of the Cold War and its themes.  Using philosophies of museum education, the materials in the packages will appeal to a broad range of students with various learning styles and encourage hands-on and inquiry learning. The packages include a series of lesson plans, PowerPoint Presentations, activity sheets, project proposals, artifacts and both primary and secondary research resources.  Our two largest packages so far, ‘Community and the Cold War’ and ‘Media Literacy and Pop Culture’ include overarching themes and projects that can be completed collaboratively with the Diefenbunker, the community, as well as other schools and classrooms on a national, and even international level! They deal with subject matter from the Berlin Wall and Cold War communities, to propaganda and comic books, to pop art, popular music, and protest art! Needless to say, we are really looking forward to bringing this amazing learning experience to students and teachers across Canada!

RBC Foundation’s Emerging Artists Internship

This project was made possible by the Diefenbunker’s receipt of the RBC Foundation’s Emerging Artists Internship, awarded in conjunction with the Canadian Museums Association to two heritage organizations in the city of the CMA national conference each year. We were fortunate to receive the grant to hire Emily Walsh, our Interpretive Planning Assistant, this spring. She has been hard at work since then, and last week we invited members of the RBC Foundation and the CMA for a presentation from Emily about the project. The visit included a tour of the bunker by Emily and some delicious Suzy Q doughnuts.

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.

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

What is one of the most exciting jobs in the world? A spy, of course!

From Spy Headquarters at the Diefenbunker, we have highly trained Special Agents who are willing to share some of the trade secrets. We won’t under any circumstances divulge all of our secrets (for that you will have to enroll in Spy Camp!) but we will give you a taste of how to achieve Spy status.

Our Special Agents, at our top secret Spy Camp, think it is best to learn by example. Let’s take a look at our March Break Spy Camp where several spies-in-training learned the fine art of espionage.

Trade secret #1: Be stealthy

These Spies-in-Training make stealthy tasks look easy: (click on the image to enlarge)
Spies-in-training crawling on their bellies to avoid being exposed to the enemyBoy climbing through red laser obstacleStealth girl makes navigating through lasers look easyBoy slinking his way through laser obstacleBoy standing proud inside laser yarn obstacle

Trade Secret #2: Be intelligent and curious

These Spies-in-Training learn from each other and crack codes together:
Two spies and training share their knowledge2 Spies-in-training examine the clues needed to find Agent xWorking as part of a team is key.2 boys working together

Trade Secret #3: Be a master of disguise

Spies-in-Training can transform their look at any moment:
Spies in disguiseSpies in disguise

Want to know more and truly be part of the inner circle of spies?

Then sign up for one (or more!) of our Spy Camp Summer Sessions:
July 2nd- 6th – The Art of Espionage- all ages (7-12)
July 9th – 13th – Making and Breaking Codes (ages 7-9)
July 16th – 20th – Making and Breaking Codes (ages 10-12)
July 23rd – 27th – Master of Disguise (ages 7-9)
July 30th – August 3rd – Master of Disguise (ages 10-12)
August 6th – 10th – Investigation: The Hunt for a Mole! (ages 7-9)
August 13th – 17th – Investigation: The Hunt for a Mole! (ages 10-12)
August 20th – 24th – The Science behind Spying (ages 7-9)
August 27th – 31st – The Science behind Spying (ages 10-12)

For more information or to register, you can download the registration form on the Diefenbunker website or e-mail or call (613) 839-0007

Rex Zero and the End of the World Book Cover, written by Tim Wynne-JonesOn Friday, December 30, Perth-based author Tim Wynne-Jones was named to the Order of Canada by Governor General David Johnston.

Tim is the author of many children’s books, including the Rex Zero series. The Rex Zero series, set in 1960s Ottawa, gives us a picture of the life of a young boy in Cold War era Canada. The books are the centre of the Diefenbunker’s elementary school workshops and the inspiration behind our Rex Zero Headquarters, an interactive exhibition and classroom on our 400 level.

We have worked in collaboration with Tim Wynne-Jones on creating this space and many children’s events based around his wonderful books.

The Diefenbunker would like to extend a huge congratulations to Tim!