The Diefenbunker


A few weekends ago, Sarah, Justin and I visited the Diefenbunker, a huge four-storey underground bunker that was designed to house crucial elements of the Canadian government during the Cold War in the event of a nuclear strike. The bunker is named after former Canadian Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and is now open to the public as a museum.  It was really interesting to learn about the Cold War and Canada’s history in it, from possible Canadian targets to how many nuclear test were conducted on North American soil, and to snap a few photos as well.  My favourite shot of the day, pictured above, is looking up the blast tunnel on the way down to the bunker.  The entire set of photos is available under a Creative Commons Attribution non-Commerical license for those who may be interested in using these photos for a project.

4 Responses to “The Diefenbunker”

  1. 1 Matthew K. Kelly

    Well folks you struck it rich with me finding you.
    I am one of the originals that went into the bunker
    Jan 2 1962 we came down from Petawawa. I have quite
    a few funny things to tell about the bunker back in
    those days, if your interested I will be more than happy
    to share some stories by email. Most of us original guys
    now (there was no women in those days) will be leaving
    soon :( I am 67. I went through that building on a tour
    in 1997 and before we entered I told my wife there was
    a crack down the tunnel floor, and it was still there in
    1997. Funny how you can remember something that minor.
    I was single and slept, ate, and worked in the bunker.
    I worked in the torn tape relay center. I left the bunker
    for Borden in April 63. Finished my army life at Ortona
    Barracks (downtown Oakville, it was Central Command) where
    I worked in the cipher office, that ended in 1969.
    Drop me an email if you wish at’

  2. 2 Matthew K. Kelly

    I want to add one more thing. On the tour
    in 1997 I saw for the first time the secret
    escape route out of the building, hard to believe
    I know, they never told us even though we lived there.
    So much for fire escape routes. Guys would whisper
    playing cards “there is a secret escape route out
    of here” and I would say “comon deal the cards,
    who cares” ha ha True story.

  3. 3 Roger Hache

    I worked in the Bunken 71 to 73 as a Jr STRAD Maintainer.
    Was sindle then but lived in Rockcliffe. Only slept there a few nights during exercises.

  4. 4 Bruce Vallance

    I was one of the original inhabitants of the bunker. I was posted to Carp on return from a tour in the Then; Belgian Congo. I was a member of the Corps of Signals, a radio operator. Our job was to operate the facility control center. We had no control over the building or it’s facilities. We saw to it that the communications into and out of the building were operational 24/7. The bunker was our home. Our housed nine men in three, three tiered bunks. We had a dining hall and there was even a rec. room where we could work out if we so desired. It wasn’t the place for anyone with claustrophobia, believe me. I have many good memories of friendships formed and good times had. I met and married my wife of thirty five years while serving there. It’s good to see that it’s become a museum. As far as a secret escape route is concerned, it was on a need to know basis, and people at our “level” didn’t need to know.

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