CBC Digital Archives

Opening up the Diefenbunker

With superpowers in the east and west testing powerful new weapons, the Canadian race for self-preservation took off in the early 1950s. The rising of the Iron Curtain intensified the threat of mass destruction, as communication between the Americans and Soviets came to a screeching halt. In this volatile new world, Canadians fretted about fallout shelters and the government prepared to go underground.

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For years, this emergency government hideaway was a top secret station designed to house political leaders in case of attack. But the Cold War has thawed into neutrality with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Now, the bunker is open for inspection. A bank of Canada vault, an operating room, the CBC announcer booth, and sleeping quarters fill the four floors of the underground Diefenbunker. CBC Television takes a close look inside this Cold War relic.
• In 1994, the Diefenbunker was designated a National Historic Site and decommissioned by the Department of National Defence in 1994. In 1998, it reopened as Canada's Cold War Museum.
• The Diefenbunker has also doubled as a movie set. The opening scene in the Tom Clancy movie The Sum of All Fears was filmed inside the bunker.
Medium: Television
Program: Midday
Broadcast Date: Jan. 22, 1994
Guest(s): Barbara Massé
Host: Wendy Mesley, Kevin Newman
Reporter: Cory O'Kelly
Duration: 4:36

Last updated: January 21, 2015

Page consulted on January 21, 2015

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