Province/Territory: Ontario

Go underground on an 11-step guide to surviving the Cold War

  • 01 top secret 533-room underground bunker
  • 100,000 square feet of Cold War history
  • 11 step guide to surviving a nuclear threat

Imagine the worst has happened; a full-scale nuclear attack. Along with elite Canadian government officials, you scramble underground to a secret 100,000 square foot nuclear bunker built during the height of the Cold War between 1959 and 1961. Re-live the eerie sensation and tensions of the Cold War-era, when the threat of nuclear annihilation was imminent.
On this two-hour guided tour, you'll learn to carry out each step of the official 11 Steps to Survival guide issued to citizens by the Canadian Government. Learn about radioactive fallout, how to take shelter, and survive on army rations. Touch 1960s-era typewriters and phones. Have your photo taken in the iconic Blast Tunnel, then be "treated" to your own personal military ration pack. Get comfortable in the Prime Minister's Suite with its single bed - no family allowed. Touch the period operating room, War Room, bank vault and see a full-size replica A-bomb.

Why you should visit

• Explore a secret underground nuclear bunker built during the height of the Cold War.
• Test your survival skills from duck and cover to living on 14 days of emergency supplies.
• Visit 1960s era government rooms, living quarters, the War Cabinet Room and Emergency Government Situation Center.
• Listen to an authentic, recorded emergency broadcast playing in the Canadian Broadcasting Centre booth.
• Tour a bank of Canada vault meant to protect gold in case of attack.
• Tour the women’s quarters - strictly off limits to all male personnel!
• Touch a replica A-bomb and Cold War-model jeep.
• Pick up Cold War posters, a survival guide, spy paraphernalia, retro candy and other unique pieces at the gift shop.

Weather

• Summers in Carp and the Ottawa region (late June to August) are hot and humid, with an abundance of outdoor fun including boating adventures on the Rideau Canal.
• Spring (April to May) brings cooler temperatures and the occasional showers.
• Fall months (September to November) bring dramatic colours and cool temperatures.
• Winter in Ottawa is often cold (December to March) and brings the hugely popular Winterlude Festival in February.
• Discover local weather information.  Research local weather patterns at Environment Canada's Canadian Climate Website.

Visitor information

• Open year-round, excluding Christmas and New Year's Day.
Guided specialty tours are offered daily, Monday to Sunday.
11 Steps to Survival Tours. are only available by advance reservation only.
Admission & Pricing.
• Museum is largely wheelchair accessible.
• Free on-site public and coach parking.
 

When to go

• As an authentic underground bunker, Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum is exciting in any season.
• Look for special events and exhibitions at the museum during the year, including the winter holidays.
• Visit in late September for a chance to catch the popular annual Carp Fair, the best little fair in Canada.
• The Ottawa region is also a four season destination with world-class events like Winterlude and the Ottawa Tulip Festival.

Need to know

• Plan to spend two hours on the guided tour.
Reserve your 11 Step to Survival Tour at least two weeks in advance as space is limited.
• Temperature can be cool in summer so bring a sweater along; winter weather can be warm so dress in layers.
• Tours available in English & French.

Getting Here

Diefenbunker: Canada's Cold War Museum is located in the small town of Carp, a 30 minutes drive west of Ottawa.
• Carp is a 40-minute drive from the Ottawa International Airport (YOW).
Taxi service to the Diefenbunker is available.
• Public transit is not available to the Museum.