This post first appeared on October 10/18, but now includes a lot more photos and explanation. With this post, all my trip back posts are now complete. Tomorrow’s post will be back to the end of this trip. I can hear my audience shouting “Hooray” from here. Thanks for following our journey.
We had been told not to miss this relic from the past, as we traveled to Ottawa and indeed, it did not disappoint. Having previously visited Churchill’s War Rooms in London, we did not know exactly what to expect.
Arriving around 12:30 on a Friday, we were there in time for the wrap up of the 11:00 AM tour, but too early for the start of the 2:00 PM tour, so picked up an iPod style hand-held guide, which turned out to be pretty much perfect for the tour info we needed.
The Diefenbunker construction was ordered by Prime Minister John G. Diefenbaker (hence the nickname). In his memoirs, he always lamented that he could not convince the Canadian people of how real the cold war threat was. (Source:Wikipedia)
CFS Carp (the Diefenbunker) was a 100,000 square foot, 4 story bunker built between 1958 and 1961. It required 5,000 tonnes of steel and 24,000 tonnes of concrete and was supposed to be able to survive a 5 Megaton blast. It was decommissioned n 1994 and slated for demolition, but the municipality persuaded the government to keep it as a museum and it remains to this day, offering a glimpse into the Cold War era. (Source:Wikipedia)
On arrival, we noted a shiny, black Cadillac parked outside and inside, a neatly dressed man in a dark suit stood waiting. We never put 2 and 2 together at the time. We had a very important question for him. “Excuse me sir, can you tell us where the washrooms are?” \Appropriately directed, we promptly proceeded, bypassing the admissions desk.
Mission accomplished, we returned to admissions and bought our tickets. At the desk, it dawned on us the guy at the entrance must be a security guy waiting for his “important” passenger to return. We queried the clerk, but no info was forthcoming from her.
We went back to the entrance to start the tour properly. The security man and car were now gone.
Below you will see clockwise from top left, an air raid siren, JEEP transport, a replica of an Atomic bomb and the long corrugated entrance corridor leading into the earth sheltered Diefenbunker.
Bombs that can be attached to fighter jets.
Decontamination shower, paper slippers and radiation detector.
Once past the Decon station, we arrived at the medical facilities.
There were signs, models and exhibits throughout the facility, explaining the various areas.
Communications room with technology of the day (Teletype, etc.)
Emergency escape hatch.
It is hard to take this door seriously, but in those days, apparently, you did.
Clockwise from top left…lounge…cafeteria and kitchen…The Window (a photo of the Alberta Rockies to give the place a view into the world)…supply pantry
Typical interior corridor.
Bank of Canada vault area.
Secure communication and briefing rooms.
Computer room. I recall building one of these in 1978 during my job as a construction project manager for a major bank.
Prime Minister and senior government ministers offices and Prime Minister’s quarters.
Artist in Residence display.
A definite glimpse into the past that we, as children did not totally get other than the “Duck and Cover” drills in our school classrooms.