Guest Post by Corinne Rikkelman
Corinne is a communications professional, artist, and dinosaur enthusiast. In her free time she walks her cat and volunteers at Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum—sometimes both. You can check out her cat’s adventures at @basil.goes.
It’s been a busy year for Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum. Originally built to house the Canadian Government in case of nuclear attack during the Cold War, the decommissioned military bunker is now a one-of-a-kind museum, hosting special events like laser tag, trivia night, and, on August 17, Bunker Beer Tasting.
The evening starts with a reception in the 60s-style military cafeteria, where your tour group assembles. Filled with declassified military equipment, decontamination showers, and fallout maps (everything you’d need to survive a nuclear apocalypse), the tour includes Bunker highlights such as the War Cabinet, the Prime Minister’s Suite, and, of course, craft beer tastings.
“Every beer has a story that ties back to the bunker.”
“The featured drafts are from local breweries and were carefully curated by our team members,” said Kelly Eyamie, Business Development Manager at Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum. “Every beer has a story that ties back to the bunker.”
Eyamie also says the evening has a surprise in store, but insists it’s “top secret.”
The Bunker is approximately 100,000 square feet (9230m²), and the tour is walking-based, so comfortable footwear is advised.
Located in Carp, Ontario, The Bunker was built at the height of the Cold War to withstand a five-megaton nuclear blast. Home to some of Canada’s most classified communication equipment, it was a continuous, “secret”, and active military base during 1962–1994, and was stocked to feed 535 people for a month in case of emergency.
After it was decommissioned in 1994, it sat empty for three years until a band of dedicated volunteers opened it up and gathered enough public support to save it from destruction. Now a National Heritage Site and not-for-profit museum, Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum is a time capsule for an often-overlooked period in Canadian history.
By day The Bunker fills former barracks with exhibits and artifacts about the atomic age, double agents, and nuclear warheads. Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum focuses on what was learned in those tense years and provides conflict resolution and peacemaking workshops to local schools.
By night The Bunker serves as a strange and special backdrop for experiences unlike any you’d find elsewhere. Partnered with organizations like Escape Manor and Haunted Walk, the Diefenbunker after dark is home to the world’s largest escape room, zombie invasions, and whisky tasting.
“More than 75% of our revenue comes from admissions and events, so these unique experiences help us expand our educational programming, give back to the community, and basically keep The Bunker running” says Eyamie.
There will be a cash bar open before and after the tour. Tickets are $60 per person and must be purchased in advance. There are no busses to the museum, but designated drivers can purchase a tour ticket for $30.
Bunker Beer Tasting starts at 6:30 PM, August 17, 2019, at Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum. Tickets are $60, ($30 for designated drivers) and are available online. This special tour is only offered in English at this time. Although mostly accessible, The Bunker was built in 1962 and there are a few mobility issues.