Today we travel to Carp to visit the Diefenbunker built in 1959 during the Cold War. This bunker was designed to withstand a 1 megaton bomb, quite small by today’s standards, which is one of the reasons it was abandoned and is now owned and run by a non-profit society.

During its years of use, it could provide shelter for up to 500 people and was meant to keep our government intact in case of a nuclear attack. The facility contains a kitchen, communications, broadcast studio, a small infirmary, a separate vault to store our gold reserves, and a small suite for the Prime Minister. Prime Minister Diefenbaker, who was responsible for the construction of the bunker, refused to enter it as no facilities existed for family members and he refused to leave his wife behind.

The facility is built into a hillside and its 4 levels contain 345 separate rooms. It took 18 months to build and the last time it was used was during the Cuban Missle Crisis. Touring it was like stepping back 60 years in time.

After our tour, we head back into Ottawa and wander around the embassy area before stopping for dinner in the Byward Market area. We toured the locks around the Parliament buildings before heading to Parliament Hill to watch the multimedia show “Northern Lights.” This is a half-hour show about Canada’s history projected onto the Parliament buildings. It was very well done and enjoyable. By the end, we were all on our feet singing O Canada.

This morning we once again head into Ottawa to visit Rideau Hall – the home and workplace of our Governor General. Once again we take a guided tour of the mansion where we visit the reception room, the ballroom, the banquet rooms. The grounds are massive and are mostly composed of open fields and large areas of trees with a few garden areas sprinkled thru out. We watch the changing of the guard complete with a bagpipe player and sentries dressed in the red coats and bearskin hats similar to Buckingham Palace.

We finish off Ottawa by visiting the Prime Minister’s house across the street, not much to see there as it’s all behind a fence screened by trees and no one is living there anyway due to renovations. Our last Remic Rapids along the Ottawa River. This is special to see the various rock sculptures by John Ceprano.

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