Archive for the ‘Exhibitions’ Category

ofdFather’s Day

By: Julie Beun

It’s not top secret and won’t involve any real commandos, but Operation Father’s Day will see the Diefenbunker overrun with the Royal Canadian Dragoons and some of the rarest Cold War vehicles ever seen.

Aimed at both raising money for the Cold War museum and the Guild of the Royal Canadian Dragoons, the event will also feature an unprecedented display of Cold War vehicles, including the ultra-rare Volvo Sugga, an unusual Swedish military based on that country’s iconic taxi cabs.

Families will also have a chance to ride on a few of the vehicles, grab a tour of the museum, buy food and enjoy beer brewed by the Big Rig Brew Pub, owned by Ottawa Senators’ Chris Phillips. Children can get involved too: the Dragoons will be running a special Kiddy Commando course, to put kids through their paces in a mock-military training camp. There will also be live Cold War era music by Adrian Butts through TETRA Speakers.

“It was a natural fit to have a partnership between the Dragoons and the Cold War Collection,” says Diefenbunker marketing manager, Megan Lafrenière.

“It’s a great chance for families to come and spend Father’s Day, and to recognize the contribution of the men and women who have served our country.”

The Diefenbunker, located at 3929 Carp Road, is a four-storey, 300 room, 100,000 square foot underground bunker built in secrecy at the height of Cold War tensions with the former USSR, between 1959 and 1961. It was named for then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, after a journalist exposed the existence of the complex. It was decommissioned in 1994.

These days, more than 48,000 visitors come through the famous blast tunnel for tours, says Lafrenière. “At Doors Open Ottawa, we’re the most popular site…thousands of people come out to Carp. We’re hoping that Father’s Day will be a similar event.”

The event is co-hosted by the Cold War Collection, Guild of the Royal Canadian Dragoons and Star Motors.

Event: Operation Father’s Day

Cost: $15 per person or $40 for a family of five. Children under six are free.

Includes: A military-themed tour of the bunker, rides on vehicles, exclusive and rare Cold War vehicle display, Kiddy Commando Course with prizes, music and access for food and beverages.

For more information, contact Megan Lafrenière, 613 839 0007. Tickets are available through or at the Diefenbunker.


20140423_114319smWith over 100 artworks to hang, we have been very busy at the Diefenbunker installing our inaugural artist-in-residence exhibition in preparation for its launch on Saturday, April 26th.

To warn other Canadians is the outcome of Gatineau-based artist Gail Bourgeois’ six month artist residency at the Diefenbunker. During this time, Gail was given exclusive access to the100 000 sq. ft. bunker, the museum collection and its archives. Invited to respond to this engineering marvel, its historical significance and its present function as a community museum, Gail developed a series of unique works that explore an overarching theme of communication.

Rather than use the bunker’s more traditional gallery spaces, Gail preferred an exhibition that allowed her to engage with the architecture, dispersing works throughout the four levels of the building as interventions into the already existing museum displays. “The works will foster alternative interpretations of the bunker and give visitors a chance to think about the issues raised by the displays in another way”.

As if to share with visitors her experience of getting to know the bunker, Gail also created a map that informs and guides visitors from floor to floor and room to room to discover her installations, alerted as well by the addition of a “logo” at the door to each exhibition room to announce an artistic intervention.­­

To warn other Canadians presents a very thoughtful perspective on this remarkable institution and the history it holds, and the Diefenbunker is proud to present this first exhibition of its inaugural artist-in-residence program.


Note: In addition to an artist-led tour of the exhibition on opening day, Gail will offer monthly public tours. For updates, please visit our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

The Diefenbunker started off strong in 2014 with a new website, new initiatives and a new vision for the year. Winter escaped us underground, and now – Spring has sprung and we’re sprouting new events like the grass above. April will close with a clever Easter Egg Hunt in our 100,000 sq/ft venue (talk about rewarding when you find the golden [chocolate] eggs!) on Saturday April 19th. This is for the young and young at heart. This event is included in the price of admission so come armed with your favourite colourful basket and pretend you’re a bunny super sleuth!

The following weekend on April 26th, we welcome for the next 6 months our resident artist, Gail Bourgeois and 125 of her cold war storytelling pieces that will be on display throughout our entire complex until the Fall. She tells a unique visual story, layering newspaper clippings, advertising and other imagery from the cold war era. “To warn other Canadians” is a title borrowed from something said by tour guide and museum Collections Manager, Doug Beaton: The bunker was put here to warn other Canadians. This refers to the role the bunker played in housing elements of the federal government in the event of a nuclear attack. Join Gail for a special tour of the facility described through the eyes of an artist.  Monthly tours are also planned so look to our website for updates.

May starts off with our first installment for this year’s Cold War Lecture Series: Canadian Cold War Submarine Patrols on May 8th. Join Commander (Ret’d) Robert Bush as he discusses the planning and execution of Canadian Cold War patrols, including some personal observations and other declassified examples of the interesting and exciting aspects of these operations. The presentation will concentrate on the Cold War period of Canadian submarine operations, during which time he served in the submarines of Canada, the UK and Australia.

On May 11th, to celebrate the mom’s of our community, we’re hosting a Mother’s Day Brunch & Tour. We’re inviting moms and their families of all ages to celebrate Mother’s Day like never before. Enjoy a buffet brunch in the Bank of Canada Vault, let the kids have an explosion of fun in Spy HQ and have a blast exploring our beautiful facility on our special women’s history themed tour. It’s sure to be a day to remember.

And finally in May we’re welcoming the long weekend by bringing back our Cold War Cinema event with a  Bond themed movie night underground. Join us for popcorn and a handsome man of mystery on our big-screen. Will it be a classic with Moore or Connery? Or something just as charming but with more gadgets like with Brosnan or Craig? We’re currently putting our feelers out to our social media community to see which movie is a fan favourite to play that night. Place your vote on our Facebook page or tweet us your suggestion!

The summer months are just as exciting with our annual “Doors Open” event, a huge and soon to be released Father’s Day event and Summer Spy Camp! With new details being populated every day, please visit our website often for complete details of all these events and information about the Diefenbunker.

Lest We Forget

On November 11th, staff, volunteers, and visitors will gather in our Building Peace exhibit to honour our veterans for Remembrance Day. As Canada’s Cold War Museum, we have a unique responsibility to those who fought in Cold War conflicts, in Canada and beyond.

In many ways, the Diefenbunker stands as a monument to the peaceful resolution of the Cold War – the fact that it was decommissioned in 1994 symbolizes the de-escalation of Cold War tension. The Diefenbunker is, in many ways, a symbol of all that we can learn from the Cold War in diplomacy, civil courage, and international relations.

We must not forget that there were hot spots in the otherwise Cold War that saw members of the Canadian Forces in active service, at home and abroad. The employees of Canadian Forces Station Carp, for example, were prepared to spend 30 days in lockdown here, in the Diefenbunker, to help preserve our government and work to aid the rest of the country in the event of a nuclear attack. Their dedication, selflessness, and bravery are what we honour today, on Remembrance Day, at the Diefenbunker.

The act of remembrance is not only focused on the past. In remembering, we are committed to learning from the past for our future. This is the aim of the peace theme we have adopted this year. We have looked at the past, with the making of 1,000 paper cranes in August, the present, with the Building Peace exhibit launch and International Peace Day in September, and now we will focus on how remembrance leads us to create peace for the future.

Please join us on November 11th, at 10:40am, in our Bank of Canada Vault.

We love when we do business with companies who really care. One of the companies we are currently working with, Crowe Productions, knew about our 1000 Cranes for Peace Challenge for our upcoming exhibition, Building Peace and sent us this powerful message from one of their friends.

Post written by Rob Kellough on August 6th, the Anniversary of the devastating bombing on Hiroshima.

It’s odd to have a personal connection to one of the worst things to have ever happened in history, but I do and on this day, August 6th, I would like to share it with you.

My late father was stationed in Japan during the Korean conflict and at one point traveled with a group of fellow officers to Hiroshima. What he saw there moved him so deeply that he organized a fundraiser to help rebuild the Buddhist temple that was at ground zero. Some weeks later, he received a package in the mail…a piece of a roof tile from the temple.

Piece of Buddhist Temple roof

Piece of Buddhist Temple Roof

You can clearly see the smooth section that was covered by an overlapping tile and the pitted, bubbled section that was exposed to the thermal blast. It melted stone into glass. Now, imagine what it did to people.

I won’t discuss whether dropping the bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki was right or wrong. It was simply the ultimate act of violence in a horrible war.
Please just take a moment to remember all those who have died and are dying in senseless conflicts round the world and if you get a chance, do some good.

Thank you for sharing your story with us Rob and for your great message to “do some good”. 

You are also invited to share your stories and emotions with us as part of our Building Peace exhibition and our permanent photo exhibition, Requiem. Please visit the Diefenbunker website for additional information.

Papercraneposter_1Yesterday marked a somber anniversary. Sixty-eight years ago today, on August 6, 1945, the world’s first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, on August 9, the second detonated on Nagasaki, Japan. This event often marks the end of the Second World War, and in many minds it is also the beginning of the Cold War.

Today we begin our season of peace. For the next four months, the Diefenbunker will host three events on the theme of peace.

From August 6-10, we will be making Paper Cranes for Peace, honoring the story of the 1,000 paper cranes. The purpose of this event is to discuss what we can learn about peace by looking to the past.

The 1,000 paper cranes will join contributed pieces from local artists in an exhibition entitled Building Peace, which will launch on September 14, 2013, just ahead of International Peace Day. The exhibition, in partnership with One World Dialogue will ask the question: How do we build and create a ‘culture of peace’ as we move into the future? It will focus on the steps we take in the present to discuss, reflect and create peace.

The final event is our Remembrance Day ceremony in November, which will focus on the act of remembrance as a means to let the events of the past inform our future.

With these three events, and corresponding programs for youth and families, we will look at peace from three perspectives: past, present, and future. We invite our community – local, national and international – to join us in reflecting on the concept of peace: what it means, how we can create it, and the role it plays in our lives.

paper craneAn ancient Japanese legend states that folding 1000 paper cranes will grant you a wish. It was this ancient legend that inspired the story of Sadako Sasaki, a young Japanese girl who lived during the time of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima, Japan. Because of radiation exposure, Sadako developed leukemia at a young age. Her only wish was to live, and so decided to fold 1000 paper cranes to make that wish come true.

She was only able to finish 644 cranes, after which she became too weak to continue. Sadly, she passed away at the age of 12. Read her full story here. Sasaki’s paper crane story is the basis of our new exhibit entitled “Building Peace.”

The Diefenbunker has partnered with One World Dialogue (OWD) to create the exhibition “Building Peace” (September 14th – December 31st, 2013), located in the Bank of Canada Vault (level 100). The exhibit will explore how we build and create peace looking at the past, present and future.

We want you! There are three ways you can be involved with our new exhibition:

1) Submit your artwork – We are currently seeking visual art submissions for this exhibition.
For more information, click here »  The deadline for submissions is August 12th, 2013 at 4:00pm

2) Help us make 1000 paper cranes – Join us at the Bunker (or even from the comfort of your own home) and donate your paper cranes between August 6th, 2013 and August 10th, 2013. The 1,000 paper cranes will be on display in the Bank of Canada Vault as part of the Building Peace Exhibition, then donated to the Children’s Peace Monument in remembrance of the bombings.

Here is a tutorial on how to make your own paper crane.

Papercraneposter_13) Participate in our paper crane workshop– come join us on Saturday August 10th from 1-3pm in the Butler Hut at the Diefenbunker.
Learn how to fold cranes and other origami! At the end you will put your newly acquired skills to the test – we will all work together to fold two life sized cranes! The workshop is free and all origami will be donated to the Children’s Peace Memorial in Japan.

Exhibition Details

How do we build and create a ‘culture of peace’ as we move into the future?

Art is a powerful tool to express the human desire for peace. This exhibition explores different perspectives on building peace representing our past, present and a look to our future.

Date: September 14 – December 31, 2013
Launches Saturday, September 14, 2013

Location: Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, 3911 Carp Road, Carp, ON, K0A 1L0 |

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.

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!