How did I get here?

We are told that there are always lessons to be learned from history, from what has gone before us, to prevent fighting the last war or re-inventing the wheel.

Coming from a military family (my Dad was a British soldier – SAS – in the Second World War, and subsequently a Senior NCO in the Canadian Army when we emigrated to Canada in the mid-50s), having been in the Army myself for nearly 30 years, and then being involved as a provincial and federal public servant for another 20-plus years in national security and emergency management, I’ve always had an abiding interest in the events and processes that have led to current circumstances.

A close family member is a very well self-informed expert on European history going back many decades, much of which is by nature associated with military issues.

It’s always intriguing to seek to understand the logical historical rationale for current circumstances – or perhaps just to learn that there is none and that we are where we are for arcane or trivial reasons, and that we are indeed destined to fight the last war, and re-invent the wheel.

I had occasions during my military and public service career to be aware of the Government’s Cold War plans for continuity of government, manifested in the early 60s by the construction of the Diefenbunker in Carp, Ontario, and similar-purposed smaller facilities across the country.

Several months ago I became intrigued by the design and construction of the Diefenbunker, which was built from 1959-61, and then served as a DND communications facility until 1994 when it was decommissioned. Shortly after that it became a Museum and a designated National Historic Site, and now operates as “The Diefenbunker – Canada’s Cold War Museum” (http://diefenbunker.ca/).

As a Museum, the Diefenbunker is enjoying remarkable success which will hopefully continue. It hosted nearly 50,000 visitors last year, with almost half being under the age of 19 – an interesting statistic, and which suggests there is a young audience for such topics.

Stay tuned – more to follow.

Lots more.

Mountains of crushingly detailed material and abject pleas for assistance.

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About ottawazoe

retired combat engineer officer, former provincial public servant, currently federal public servant, with an abiding interest in our fascinating local history
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2 Responses to How did I get here?

  1. Mike Ingham says:

    My wife and I did a tour of the bunker several years ago and we had a tour director that actually worked on the bunker during construction and was kept on staff after the completion of construction. He took us to places that really delved into the operation of the bunker and he explained in detail, the operation of the bunker systems and also some of the shortcomings of the design, for example, the vault for the gold reserves had a serious miscalculation of the time required to move the gold reserves due to the capacity of the elevator used to transport the gold to the vault. We also toured the bunker down the hill from the main bunker that housed the bulldozers that would be required to clear the main blast tunnel. I believe that this gentleman could be of tremendous benefit in your search for more information if he is still with us. I would like to see the quality of the tours upgraded to the caliber of this gentleman’s knowledge as we have had numerous return visit’s with both visitors and grandchildren. All in all, the bunker is a fabulous facility to explain some of the cold war era activities.

  2. ottawazoe says:

    Thanks for your comments Mike – you’re the very first to comment on this Blog, so you’re in the Hall of Fame – no funds attached, unfortunately.

    My request for info went out initially to both the Diefenbunker volunteers, who are mostly retired federal government public servants or military officers, and our Alumni group, who had all been employed at some time in the Bunker, and indeed some very useful suggestions have come from those groups.

    I’m finding that the location of contacts, from simply the perspective of getting the word out, is challenging, exacerbated by the time that has elapsed.

    Dave Noble

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