Diefenbunker

Today I visited Diefenbunker. Creepy cool and very interesting. All the clichés from Nuclear Disaster movies of the 80s become real.

As part of the exhibit, there were a couple of big maps of Ottawa depicting the radius of nuclear explosions and listing calculations of casualties and damages.  One was (obviously) centered on Parliament Hill, and in such scenario, my house around the airport in the south, would have survived the initial blast from a 1 KT bomb. There was other one centering the explosion at CFB Leitrim, a crypto-radar installation, and it’s less than a couple of kilometers from my house, which would have been instantly turned to ashes.

It was fun to see how a mini government would have been protected here. Diefenbunker was the site assigned to protect the Prime Minister, Secretariat Office (PMO?), since it was a military base until decommissioned in 1994 top brass from National Defense would also be there, and there are offices for the major ministries, Foreign Affairs, and Public Works, but it was surprising to see an office for the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, what for? Also, there were no provisions for the Members of Parliament, at least not in Diefenbunker. I guess there were also alternate arrangements for the Governor General. There was a network of around 60 of these sites in Canada, Diefenbunker being the last one of them preserved as a National Monument and a museum.

“One nuclear bomb could ruin your day.” (Quote from  a t-shirt on the store)

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7 Replies to “Diefenbunker”

  1. Thanks for the reminder for me to go and visit this place, I’ll be going in the coming weeks.

    As for why a unit of Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation… to rebuild.

  2. Thank you for the great review and for sharing your experience on your blog. Let us know the next time you visit!
    Ricky – enjoy your visit. I think the best way to experience the museum is to take a guided tour. We offer guided tours Mon-Fri at 11am and 2pm. Sat & Sun at 11am, 1pm and 2pm. Then you can get lost underground afterwards! Please let us know what you think too.

    1. Thank you for your comment, and I totally agree. I think that’s the most important facet of Diefenbunker to be conscious about a nuclear reality, can be used for good or for bad. The same energy can take us to the stars or show the marvels of the atom, can also annihilate us. We can remember the words by Oppenhemier, after seeing Trinity detonate in Los Alamos, “I have become death, the destroyer of worlds”.

      1. I agree. It’s important to remember the reality that the employees of CFS Carp (the Diefenbunker) would have faced every day – the idea that, in the event of a nuclear attack, they would re-emerge after thirty days into a world they no longer recognized. This is why they chose to feature Cerberus (the mythological guardian of the gates to the underworld) on the base’s coat of arms.

        It is this reality – and the subsequent lessons learned from the Cold War and how close the world came to destruction – that the Diefenbunker preserves.

        And to answer your question above, the Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation was included because they had the most detailed maps and records of dwellings and other buildings across the country. This would help with the relocation of Canadians and access of emergency crews and civil defense operations, all of which would have been tracked and assisted from inside the Bunker.

        So happy to hear that you enjoyed your visit!

  3. Building awareness and learning lessons from the Cold War is part of our educational outreach, and one that we definitely take seriously. We are working on new programming to get resources out to teachers across the country and to develop conflict resolution workshops for schools and other groups. We hope that people are attracted to the cool, retro vibe of the Bunker and then leave with thoughts on how to achieve a peaceful future.

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