The Diefenbunker – Canada’s Cold War Bomb Shelter

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Cathy and I tour Canada’s Diefenbunker.  It was built in 1959 to 1961 in the village of Carp near our capital city Ottawa, and under the watch of our then Prime Minister Diefenbaker.  This is where we would maintain the Government of Canada during and after a nuclear war.  It was spec’d to house 500 politicans, senior bureacrats and support staff, and a whole lot of gold to maintain our financial system.  Today it is a museum open to the public and we would recommend spending a few hours.

A side note:  There was real concern that Canadians were not taking the Soviets and the nuclear threat seriously – rather then going to  a shelter, most were planning to go to a bar.





The Bunker

The bunker is 100,000 square feet over 4 floors. These are some pictures on the 1st, 3rd and 4th floor.  The 2nd floor was closed off for a horror movie shoot, which gives you an idea of the decor and layout.

We have fun looking at the 60’s technology, the ‘state of the art’ telco and computer systems of the day.  Cyber security meant shutting down the teletypes for a short time here and around the world to reset and synchronize the encription codes.

It is cold comfort to see that the banks were taking care of their gold.  That said, it is a very impressive vault.

We learn a few hypotheticals along the way.

-Since the bunker was not designed to house spouses and families, some hypothesize that most of the designees to shelter in the bunker would not have shown up.

-80% of the designees were men, so it is hard to envision how civilization would continue once it was safe to emerge from the bunker.

-And the bunker was equipped and provisioned to last for 30 days, which seems a rather short time after a nuclear war to have to emerge.  Go figure.

-Lucky it was never used as a bomb shelter during the many years it was on operational standby.

Nearby Restaurants

While in the area, here are some restaurant suggestions.  The Cheshire Cat in Stittsville serves good lunch food.  The Krave Bistro in Arnprior has excellent seafood pastas, topped off with some home made ice cream at Mallard’s Milk Bar.


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