Preserving and Promoting local history for the former Rideau Township
Log Fence

A presentation in their theatre.

The tour began with a presentation in their theatre

  The site in Carp was chosen as the perfect site for a 75 foot underground bunker and was within evacuation distance of downtown Ottawa. The location was in a natural valley and had ideal geological conditions for protection.  The entire construction process took less than 18 months.  The bunker is 100,000 square feet in size and is spread over four levels.  The site was completed in 1961 and remained in continuous operation until it was decommissioned in 1994. During its operation, it had a staff of 100-150 people and was on a 24-hour shift rotation. At all times, it was stocked with enough fresh food and rations to feed over 500 people for 30 days and the building was prepared to go into lockdown at any moment.

The tunnel entrance to the bunker

The tunnel entrance to the bunker proper  

 An atom bomb casing

This bomb casing was a stark reminder of the serious nature of global politics at the time the bunker was built.

Very fortunately, the facility never had to be put in use; however, it is a significant reminder of world tensions in our recent past.

After a very full day, our group boarded our bus to head home.  Yet another very interesting and informative RTHS excursion to see local historical points of interest in our community. I hope you can join us for next year’s RTHS adventure tour where ever it may be!!!  

Our RTHS field trip this year took place on Saturday, June 18 and included two very different but fascinating local museums. We had approximately 25 RTHS members and friends on the bus tour which started at the Ottawa Client Services Centre in North Gower and proceeded first to the Bell House Museum in Bells Corners.

The Bell House

The Bell House Museum  

The Bell House (Fairfields Heritage House) which is operated by the City of Ottawa presents a history of five generations of the Bell Family from 1823 to 2000. The interior of the home has been refurnished with artefacts to reflect different themes of the Bell family history.  The Bell Family had a history of entrepreneurial, philanthropic, professional and political activities.  The Bell House is an impressive 19th Century Gothic Revival farm house. The house was originally built on 660 acres of farm land. Currently, beautiful lawns surround the house with a gazebo, gardens, and statuesque trees.

The representative from the City of Ottawa whose department oversees the museum provided a very informative tour and an information session on how the museum facility was managed.

This local museum is well worth a visit for its local history and rich array of artefacts that were used in farm homes in the late 1800s.

After completing the Bell house and grounds tour, our group headed off for lunch and refreshments at The Swan in Carp. This English Pub facility provided us with a wide selection of refreshments and food and a time to chat about world affairs, etc.

After a nice break, we continued on our bus tour to the Diefenbunker museum.

Our group was given an individualized tour of the quite massive facility with its many floors and special purpose rooms. Quite a “blast from the past” from the 1960 era.  

The group at the Diefenbunker

The RTHS group ready to tour the Diefenbunker  

The Diefenbunker was commissioned by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker (thus its name) in 1959, as part of his government’s reaction to escalating tensions in the Cold War.

The purpose of the bunker was to house key members of the government and military in the event of a nuclear attack on Canada.  The safety of its nuclear roof would allow the Canadian government to operate safely underground for 30 days in order to assist with the governance and rebuilding of the country.

The June Excursion

The Bell House Museum in Bells Corners and the Diefenbunker Cold War Museum in Carp
Article and Pictures by Sandy NcNiece