Federal government giving Diefenbunker $600,000 for museum upgrades

The federal government is giving Ottawa’s Cold War museum, the Diefenbunker, a cash injection for upgrades.

Kanata-Carleton Liberal MP Jenna Sudds made the announcement Wednesday on behalf of Helena Jaczek, the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

“This is part of a larger strategy and a larger fund that is looking to make sure across Canada, that we invest in our communities, that we support our tourism sector,” she told CTV News Ottawa.

According to a press release, “With $412,500 through the Tourism Relief Fund, the Diefenbunker will transform its services and products to enhance visitor experiences through exhibition development, including dedicated space to highlight the Indigenous experience during the Cold War. This funding will also support the addition of Algonquin to the tour’s audio guide languages and offer a new immersive experience with the development of an augmented reality emergency preparedness gamified simulation.”

The museum’s executive director Christine McGuire says new exhibits show more of Canada's Cold War history.

“New exhibitions on Canada and the Cold War, so we’re really talking about the relevancy of the Cold War today in terms of the geo-political climate,” McGuire said.

According to the museum, the bunker in Carp was built to withstand a five-megaton nuclear blast from 1.8km away. Visitors can walk through underground facility, where some levels are as low as 20 metres.

“It’s interesting to see how things were set up for national security,” George Herrlich, a visitor from Kitchener, Ont., told CTV News Ottawa while on a guided tour.

“It’s pretty scary, and I think it’s the institutional colours that are really quite striking,” said Tracy Wyman, who is visiting from Vancouver, BC.

With $187,500 through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund, the Diefenbunker will improve its accessibility and energy efficiency by upgrading its controls and lighting. This project will benefit people with disabilities, specifically those with low vision or visual impairments as effective lighting and glare control will be improved.