Up to date information on the comings and goings in The Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum. Also a behind the scenes look at how the museum operates and how the museum team is working after our capacity expansion project to which grew our capacity from 60 to 420 in July 2010!

2009 Diefenbunker Holiday Party

Posted by Eric Espig On 13:35

This years party was fantastic, probably because we had a lot to celebrate! The near completion of our Capital Campaign project, the beginning of the expansion, a new team in the Bunker, the great turnout by Board members and weekend staff, and a lot of hidden Karaoke Talent!

We partied in the former cafeteria...

We were entertained by unlikely duets and even less likely song choices!
here we can see Rob and Brian belting out some Madonna.

Mike and Christine performed an interesting variation of a Fine Young Cannibals song.

Matt's inner Elvis surfaced as he rebelled against his brown patent leather shoes to declare his obsession with blue suede.

The Turner Sisters turning heads.

 The Incomporable Dr. Barry Bruce, Professional Crooner.

Thank you all very much for being such caluable and essential parts of the Diefenbunker team and joining us in our celebration!

Carp Christmas Parade!

Posted by Eric Espig On 13:00

We were thrilled to be a part of the First Carp Christmas Parade this year. This was a fantastic way to bring the bunker from the underground to the city streets to help celebrate with the Carp, Ontario community. Our theme this year was Peace on Earth and under the supervision of Amy Turner, Diefenbunker staff and management decorated our replica MKIV atomic bomb into an unlikely Christmas tree. The weather and the turnout for the parade were great and our parade representatives handed out "Peace Symbol" buttons as well as explanatory cards describing the iconic symbols semaphorical beginnings in the British Nuclear Disarmament Movement in 1958.

Photography Tours in The Bunker

Posted by Eric Espig On 11:37

Photo: Paul Galipeau 11/2009

Over the past month and some of the upcoming ones, photographers are documenting the popular areas of the Bunker as well as some of the hidden ones. The photographers are donating their valuable skills and artistic visions to help us build an anthology of striking and visually stunning photographs.  The goal is to curate from these photos an exhibition of Bunker Photography and publish them in a coffee table book of bunker history juxtaposed with artistic imagery.

So far the Bunker has hosted: RĂ©mi Theriault, Paul Galipeau, David Forcier, and Pierre Richardson

You may view some of the sample/recon photos on their Flickr pages, and here is a link to the slideshow that David put together, Amazing!

Of course we feel that this is the perfect gift, especially for that James Bond fan you know or that certain someone you just cannot buy for. We have attractively packaged our membership cards with some other items from our Cold War Store to create a truly unique and exclusive holiday package.

For a donation of $100 CAD you will receive along with this year long membership & classy package, the priceless  feeling that comes with knowing you have helped to preserve one of Canada's National Historic Sites.

Happy Holiday Shopping!

The Diefenbunker is very pleased to be able to offer FREE admission to a guided tour of the museum to Canadian Armed Forces personnel and Veterans. This program will run until February 1, 2010. Please follow this LINK to the downloadable coupon.

Rex Zero Headquarters! Now Open!

Posted by Eric Espig On 13:36

On Novemeber 9 we officially opened the cool new Exhibit/Interactive space in the Bunker devoted to Elementary-aged students. The space's design is taken from the pages of award wining author Tim Wynne-Jones' Rex Zero series of books. Rex Zero stories are set in Ottawa, Canada during the early 1960s and Tim's attention to detail in describing Rex's world made it easy for us to re-imagine his bedroom, his classroom, and key Ottawa landmarks from that time period.

We were happy to have Tim with us at the opening which (not so coincidentally) coincided with the launch of his brand new Rex Zero novel, Rex Zero, The Great Pretender. he read from both his first and new book to the inaugural class to workshop with us in the space - The grade 5ers from St Michael Corkery Catholic School.

Listen to Tim and host Alan Neal talk about the space and Tim read from his new book on CBC`s All In A Day: Best of All In A Day, Nov 9, 2009

CBC Podcast about the Diefenbunker Expansion

Posted by Eric Espig On 10:18

Listen to CBC's Kate Porter as she tours the Bunker with Executive Director Alexandra Badzak and learns about the museum's capacity project.

Canada: from coast to coast to coast

Posted by Eric Espig On 13:43

A videographer named Craig Urquhart has been traveling across Canada and gathering footage for 2 separate projects - one for CBC and the other for Korean TV. Craig and his crew are came to Ottawa last week and they’re hoping to feature the Diefenbunker on their program. The purpose of the new online/television show is to rediscover Canada from a foreign and insider perspective, from the Atlantic to the Arctic to the Pacific. Canada is seen as a continent-sized country. The focus will be on very unusual destinations, remote areas, urban life and the people and culture. There will be lots of interviews and events. Outdoor and urban life will both be emphasized. The program will air online on the CBC website as well as on Korean television.

We were very happy to accommodate the road weary yet enthusiastic crew and Les gave them an exclusive late night tour of the Bunker.

Cold War Songs from the 1950s playlist

Posted by Eric Espig On 18:17

The Diefenbunker Channel

Posted by Eric Espig On 14:41

The new Diefenbunker YouTube channel made its debut today with its "Cold War Music & Music Videos" playlist. Over time we will be compilling playlists of videos uploaded to YouTube relating to: pop music, protest, propaganda, news footage, film trailers, original educational films and more.

Stumbling into The Postal Service's "We Will Become Slhouettes" video was the inspiration for the creation of the: "Cold War Music & Music Videos" compilation which at the moment features a lopsided amount of electronic music produced in the 1980s. This is possibly due to the seemingly good fit of the era between new technologies in music and the technological advances in warfare which were threatening society. Those advances were too sophisticated to be fully understood by the general public (or at times, the musicians). However, there are also plenty of 1960s era protest songs yet to be mined from the youtube servers. When I get to that point I will divide the music into era specific groupings. Until then enjoy the danci-ness of the 80s outlook on Cold War!

"Cold War Music & Music Videos" Playlist

Diefenbunker Channel:

From October 5 - 7 the Diefenbunker hosted the 2009 National Historic Site Alliance of Ontario Conference. There were some very interesting, stimulating and memorable moments brought forward from the 16 guest speakers and panelists. We recorded the audio of almost all of the presentations and hope to have some available for download in the near future. In the meantime, enjoy some snapshots from the event! piuctured: Alan Latourelle, CEO Parks Canada
"Telling Old Stories with New Voices": A thought provoking and interesting combination of new approaches to historical interpretation and statistical data. Chair: Mike Sawchuck - Ontario Heritage Trust, Panelist: Charles Smith - Researcher and Consultant; Del Muise - Professor Emeritus Carleton University

CBC Radio's Darrell Dennis, the host of ReVision Quest. The First Nations celebrity comic, actor and writer entertained and enlightened the crowd as the Keynote Speaker of the conference.

Conference attendees and one of many round table discussions which took place in the Diefenbunker cafeteria.

"Conserving the Modern in a Disposable Age"  
Panel: Andrew Waldon - Canadian Registrar of Historic Places; Scott Williams - Senior Conservation Scientist, Canadian Conservation Institute; Julian Smith - Executive Director, Willowbank School of Restoration Arts


Cultural Resource Management 101 presented by "Heritage Warrior" Dr. Paul Couture of Parks Canada.


The Diefenbunker Vice-President and star Volunteer Interpreter: Brian Jeffrey.

The New Store and The New New Store

Posted by Eric Espig On 13:57

Part of what we had to get done to accomodate the beginning phase of the renovation was to relocate the Cold War Store into a new part of the building - The Allard Gallery. Fortunatley the new store looks great and the response has been very positive. From this we can determine that the New New store, which will be housed in a rejuvenated and redesigned original location, will be even better! As always we look forward to your suggestions as to what unique and interesting Cold War or Diefenbunker toys, books, posters, clothing, etc. that you may like to see us supply. The New New Store is scheduled to open by mid-December.

The expansion of the museum will also mean the expansion of our inventory to include more books and collectables. Our store inventory will also be heading online so people may shop for some of the Diefenbunker exclusive items from home and abroad.

What Increased Capacity Means

Posted by Eric Espig On 11:38

The building capacity project will allow us to truly fulfill our mandate by producing more opportunities for the general public and stakeholders to connect to our museum. Once we can allow 500 people in the building at any given time, our ability to mount exhibitions, special events, performances, research activity and educational
programs will dramatically increase. Our collection and preservation activities will also be increased. Specifically and most importanly, once the Diefenbunker is up to full occupancy we will be able to open the museum for self-guided tours. Currently, the public can only access the museum through a guided tour once per day during the week and four times daily on the weekend. Guided tours are necessary, as it is the only way that the museum can restrict visitorship to 60 people at any given time. We are not able to add more guided tours because of limitation on volunteer hours and costs associated with hiring more student guides.

The occupancy issue severely restricts the growth and development of curatorial programming, in that it makes no sense to develop exhibitions and re-creations for an audience that can only access it through a time-burdened tour. Once this issue is resolved, we can change its public hours of operation, allowing visitors to spend as little or as much time on independent viewing as they choose, as well as having the option of taking one of our specialized tours. We would expect to see a dramatic increase in its general attendance figure as a consequence of this project,which will result in an increase of revenue. Public and event-based programming will also be enhanced by this project. The Diefenbunker will develop lectures, symposiums, theatrical andmusical performances, as well as corporate and community functions and fundraising dinners and dances for the general public.We will endeavour to increase financial independence by offering corporate and private rentals of space for a fee. Potentially, we could increase our visitor numbers by 800% as a result of this ability to house more people in the building. Realisitically, we are projecting more modest numbers—50% in the five years following project completion. Increased attendance will result in increased revenue, which will in turn increase budgets for marketing, exhibitions and public programming events which we will host and organize. Facility rentals are also expected to increase by at least 25%. All revenue from non-museumrelated activity will be directed back to exhibitions, conservation and programs. This retrofit project will allow the Diefenbunker to become a fully functioning museum.This relatively modest renovation project is necessary for any future growth in the organization.

Here We Go!

Posted by Eric Espig On 12:48

After weeks of closing our doors to begin our capacity expansion project, we are back!

During those 2 weeks some exciting changes have begun around the bunker including:

  • The opening of the new yet temporary location of our Cold War Store which will serve us will be build and install our "real" new one to be open by Christmas.
  • The start of renovation and retrofit of our exit and fire safety system which will see our visitor capacity rise from the current 60 to a whopping 500 visitors by summer 2010!
  • A much needed overhaul to the administration offices for the 2 new permanent staff members: Christine Mcguire (Education & Volunteer manager) and Eric Espig (Programs and Public Relations Manager)
  • Wonderfully creative and exciting projects born from our brainstorming sessions on how we may accommodate all of the future new visitors to the Bunker!
Renovations under way, and Christine painting and contemplating the task at hand.

Welcome to the new blog!

Posted by Eric Espig On 18:06

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