Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category









We here at the Diefenbunker could not be more excited to welcome Ottawa artist Marc Adornato underground for his newest exhibition, Ruined Landscapes which opens with a special event on April 5, 2018. Come check out Marc’s exploration of modern Canadian landscapes as he ‘hijacks’ vintage, mass-produced works of art with disasters taken from Canadian headlines. One of the pieces featured in the exhibition even originated from our very own Bunker!

There are still a few tickets available for the April 5, 2018 opening Vernissage available (Click here for tickets)! This is a free event so to avoid disappointment book your tickets and shuttle today! Can’t make the Vernissage-You’re in luck because the exhibit runs to July 15, 2018 but will be subject to museum admission fees.

Events like this wouldn’t be possible without a little help from our friends. The Diefenbunker would like to thank the Ruined Landscapes Vernissage sponsors: The Hintonburg Public House, Matt Love-Royal Lepage Team Reality, Nick Bachusky- Mortgage Agent, Mint Hair Studio, Maker House Co., Brew Donkey, Shitty Shades and ASAP pm.


March 14 is Pi Day!

Posted: March 14, 2018 in Uncategorized

It’s March 14 which can only mean one thing- it’s Pi Day! In honour of this most nerdy of holidays we here at the Bunker got to thinking about what you can buy for $3.14. All though some of the things we found are pretty cool, what is cooler than an underground bunker? Did you know that donating $3.14 to the Diefenbunker as a non-profit museum we can actually turn your donation into about $19.72 worth of value? As a non-profit charitable museum we rely on support from our visitors and friends to keep our museum up and running and even a small donation of $3.14 can do some pretty wonderful things! So please consider helping us celebrate March 14 (3/14) aka PiDay by making a donation in support of the Diefenbunker-Canada’s Cold War Museum! (To Donate: Please click this link to be directed to our Canada Helps Page)

$3.00 Rubber Duckie

Something Sweet

Mini Candle

























Want to know more about how the Diefenbunker can maximize donations- check out the link!

Welcome to Spy Camp!

Posted: June 17, 2015 in Uncategorized


Is your child spy material? Do they ever notice things others have overlooked? Find riddles and codes to be no challenge at all? The Diefenbunker is offering a chance to perfect those spy skills by training young spies all summer long.
Spy Camp gives campers the opportunity to complete week-long missions while training to obtain the mysterious status of a Bunker Agent. Every week there will be a different theme to perfect a specific spy skill set, so don’t be afraid to sign up for more than one!

The Art of Espionage
The Art of Espionage is a how-to guide to becoming a spy. From creating new identities, to learning about famous spies to embarking on your own mission, our spy instructors will tell all. At the end of training, our spy trainees will be ready to take on spy missions of their own and will go down in history as masters of all spy trades.


Making And Breaking Codes
Does your child know how to break a top secret code using nothing but their own knowledge? Can they send secret messages in Morse Code? This week of Spy Camp will focus on training young spies to use their top-notch spy intelligence to create, break and design their own codes. After completing daily missions, spies will be master coders.

Master of Disguise
Does your child ever pretend to be someone else? To take on a different identity? Spy Camp’s Master of Disguise training will perfect those skills by using several different methods of disguise to complete daily missions. Spies who graduate from this week of spy training will be completely undetectable to enemy spies with the skills they acquire, and will truly become masters of disguise!

Investigation: Hunt for the Mole
There is a mole among the bunker staff; a spy gone bad is leaking inside information to the evil Agent X! This week in spy camp, young spies will attempt to sniff out the mole by solving mysteries and looking for clues. Learning sneaky spy techniques will help them on their mission.

The Science Behind Spying
This week in spy camp will focus on experiments to aid in solving Agent X’s riddles. Using the power of science, spies will learn various skill including fingerprinting to improve their spy techniques.Training will allow the spies to use their smarts as well as their stealth to put an end to Agent X’s reign of evil!

The Case of the Missing Spy
Help! One of the Bunker Spies has gone missing and it’s up to the young spy trainees to help us locate them. Using masterful problem solving and wonderful stealthy moves, the spies will be put to the test to try to save the missing spy before they’re taken by the evil Agent X!

Whichever week your child attends, they will be gaining valuable spy experience, learning about the Cold War and the bunker, as well as creating fun memories they’ll never forget! We look forward to having your child join the ranks of the Diefenbunker Spy Academy!

For more information, see our website!

by Noelle Wielowieyski (Bunker Guide and Spy Master)

Can you believe it’s nearly April?  This past month flew by so quickly for us here at the Museum.  With two weeks of steady family visits during the Quebec and Ontario March breaks, and a sold out week of Spy Camp, we have happily had our hands quite full.  Now, we’re looking forward to the many great programs and events we have planned over the coming months:

Artist-in-residence Jesse Stewart will begin installing his first sound installations throughout the Museum in April. Come see how an award-winning musician interprets our spaces. We are sure he’ll encourage you to hear things in a whole new way!

The Easter Bunny will be hopping from floor to floor at the Bunker on April 4th, leaving behind nut free chocolate eggs for the kids. Join us for the hunt!


Afghanistan, Unordinary Lives, an exhibition of photographs by Slovenian photographer Manca Juvan will launch on April 23rd. The exhibition has traveled to venues in the United States, France, Brussels, Luxembourg and more, and we are proud to partner with the Embassy of Slovenia in sharing Juvan’s photographs with Ottawa audiences.

   children playing

We are pleased to be hosting two very special private events in April:

Our amazing volunteers will be honoured with a with an evening of appreciation on April 14th.  From tour guides and facility maintenance, to zombies and members of the Diefenbunker Volunteer Radio Group, we are fortunate to work with such dedicated and generous community members.

The Diefenbunker Alumni Association is meeting for their annual reunion on April 25th.  What stories they must have!  Visit our website to learn more about the Association.

“And the winner of Ottawa Tourism’s 2015 Partnership of the Year is …”  Fingers crossed our names will be called at the awards ceremony on April 30th!  We are finalists with the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany for our 25|Berlin exhibitions and graffiti workshop.  We’ve extended the dates for German Canadian Graffiti Jam: The Bunker Reunion and The Wall, Niederkirchner Strasse by Leslie Hossack to May 3rd so come out to see what has us in the running for this award.

Deutsche Kuenstler (640x82)

Already a dramatic space, our blast tunnel will boom with the sound of an extended piece for solo bass drum and percussion by Jesse Stewart on May 3rd. There are still a few tickets left for the second performance that evening so don’t miss out!  It’s sure to be a memorable event.


May is also the month in which we welcome our new summer staff.  We look forward to getting to know them all and invite you to come out for a tour with the new recruits!

Roses and brunch are great, but how about adding a visit to the Diefenbunker with mom on Mother’s Day?  We’ll be offering a special Women’s History Tour and discounted admission for that special lady.  Dare to be different!

Happy Spring!

The Diefenbunker has something to offer everyone this fall so plan to join us in Carp in the coming weeks.

For the art lover, Breaking Barriers continues to January 31, 2015.  Organized in partnership with One World Dialogue, the exhibition explores the lessons of breaking barriers and the symbolism of the Berlin Wall in its efforts for peace.  Come and see how the Bank of Canada Vault has been transformed into a dramatic exhibition space for works by local artists, youth, and community members.

For those who enjoy scary tales and even a little gore, we offer Incident at the Bunker: A Zombie Adventure. Organized in partnership with The Haunted Walks Ottawa, Incident at the Bunker is an interactive adventure with the undead, deep inside the labyrinth that is the Museum.  With over 140 volunteer zombies this year, it may be our scariest Halloween season ever.  There are still three tour dates left, including a special after hours tour on Sunday, October 26th.  Tickets can be purchased online through The Haunted Walks Ottawa.  It would be ‘ghoulish’ for you to miss out!

For the history buff, we are recognizing the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall through a trio of exhibitions organized in partnership with the German Embassy to Canada.  25 | Berlin brings together the photography of artist Leslie Hossack, bold works by graffiti artists from both Berlin and Montreal, and a dramatic overview of the story of 20th century Europe as told through rare photographs, newspaper clippings and political cartoons from different European archives.

For those who are into the ‘underground’ party scene, we are proud to be hosting a Free Europe Party in partnership with Nature Nocturne Productions.  With a German DJ, food and drink from across continental Europe, and a range of fun, interactive activities, it’s sure to be a party like no other.  Tickets are available online through the Canadian Museum of Nature.  Let’s show them how we do it in Ottawa’s West End!

For all proud Canadians, we are honoured to host our annual Remembrance Day Ceremony in recognition of the sacrifice of those fallen during the Cold War.  Join us for this moving ceremony followed by a tour of the Museum.

And for those with a taste for fine spirits, we are happy to serve up our 3rd Annual Whisky Tasting Fundraiser. Guests will taste the wide range of flavours, aromas, and colours available in single malts and learn how various influences determine the distinct characteristics in particular whiskies, the importance of ageing, and the process of maturation.  Part travelogue, part history lesson, and certainly a multi-sensory experience, guests will taste five different whiskies with five different food pairings.  Whisky Business is a delectable event that is sure to sell out so reserve your tickets today!

Still looking for more?  The Diefenbunker offers daily public tours, spy themed birthday parties, a Cold War store and more all within the thick concrete walls of our National Heritage Site.  There really is no place else like the Diefenbunker.  We hope to see you soon!

On September 20, 2014, One World Dialogue, in collaboration with the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum, present the exhibition Breaking Barriers. This exhibition is the second the two organizations have collaborated on to mark International Peace Day (September 21). While this is the fourth year One World Dialogue continues to build this exhibition around Peace Day and working with the arts community in Ottawa for peace dialogue, it is an exciting year with the Diefenbunker to explore an aspect of history and intriguing theme!

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. This exhibition explores through visual art, interpretations, expressions and lessons learned of breaking barriers and the symbolism of the Berlin Wall in its efforts for peace. For One World Dialogue, working with the Diefenbunker and connecting peace to the Cold War context has provided the opportunity to delve deeper into areas of peace dialogue that can connect generations and diverse sets of contexts. One World Dialogue aims to build a culture of peace. The organization is dedicated to re-thinking how social challenges are solved through art, design and the process of integrative thinking to build strong, integrated and vibrant communities.

Breaking Barriers is displayed within the Bank of Canada Vault in the Diefenbunker. For One World Dialogue, a major part of the organization’s work is to design and transform spaces to build dialogue and peace in communities. It is wonderful to see how the Vault can once again be transformed from what normally may feel like a cold, damp, empty place once built to store the gold reserves of Canada, into a colourful space for creativity and cultural innovation.

In early 2014, six artists were brought together  to commission pieces for the exhibition: Sarah Barbary, Carol Howard Donati, Jaime Koebel (curating works by Howard Adler, Heather Campbell, Rebekah Elkerton, Peter Purdy, and Tim Yearington), Randolf McMillan, Marie-Paule Thorn, and Sandy Woods.

Each artist explored the theme of the exhibition from a different perspective. The purpose was to explore how, through visual art and the storytelling, various artists representing different ‘voices’ in our community can connect with the idea of breaking barriers for peace. Randolf McMillan has direct connections to the Berlin Wall as an artist who painted on the Wall before and after it was taken down. Sarah Barbary explores through animation how the next generation may explore this theme in today’s context and through a modern lens. Sandy Woods walks us through personal connections to peace and how to build peace through a series called Positive Peace. Carol Howard Donati takes a unique exploration of breaking barriers through historical research and personal stories from the Cold War to messages on food security as present day challenges to global peace – all presented via textile art using recycled plastics, fabrics and dying techniques. Marie-Paule Thorn takes visitors on a vibrant journey of interpreting images form the Berlin Wall and the playfulness of youth open to your own interpretations. Finally, local Aboriginal artists, curated by Jaime Koebel, share Canadian stories of connecting peace to our natural surroundings, the voice and protection of women in our communities, the challenges around identity and hope for Aboriginal peoples in Canada.

In addition to the amazing art and stories created by our artists, One World Dialogue and the Diefenbunker worked with youth in the Ottawa area over the summer of 2014 to engage in dialogue on breaking barriers to peace. The groups included: CHEO School, Manotik Public School, H’Art of Ottawa, Taggart Family YMCA, Odawa Native Friendship Centre and Miwaashin Lodge.

Breaking Barriers WRECKING BALL

This journey brought us into a number of schools and community groups to lead a visual thinking workshop centered on dialogue. Using photos of graffiti art from the Berlin Wall, before and after the fall, we asked the question: If there was a wall between you and peace, what would you write or draw on it?

Visual thinking is a way to open up dialogue and create a safe space for learning and sharing, a space without barriers! Each group discussed the ideas of walls and barriers, from tangible barriers like the Berlin Wall that divided a country, to intangible barriers of ideology, perception, ability and culture. The workshops inspired a greater dialogue, demonstrating the power of alternative, creative learning as the mechanism to empower youth in the community.

These programs were inspiring and demonstrated how, when given an opportunity, young minds are ready and willing to delve deep and creatively into all subjects. Some moments that stand out in particular are, when a kid in grade 5 walked up and bluntly shared ‘peace is relative’, seeing how kids who normally do not speak up in class feel they have a voice worth sharing, the pride youth have in creating messages about peace through art to be displayed in the exhibition or hearing the messages that come out from groups with developmental disabilities expressing the need to more understanding, less bullying, respect and more – not only demonstrate that peace is relevant, but that there is more work to be done in providing power to more people to express their ideas and build a culture of peace.


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.