Over the last three years, the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum has been working on major capital upgrades to the facility as made possible through the generous funding from the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP): Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream, announced in December of 2020.
Awarded $492,409.50 from the Government of Ontario and $596,860.00 from the Government of Canada, while contributing $402,880.50 of our own capital funds, we have been able to make huge strides towards upgrading critical infrastructure within the museum to ensure the preservation of this unique Cold War artifact and national historic site. With these upgrades now nearing completion, we are pleased to share the results from this milestone project.
We have been able to address and improve accessibility within the museum through the installation of two lift devices in the “A” stairwell. This stair lift accesses each level of the bunker and is for use by wheelchair users, those with limited mobility, or anyone who is unable to use the stairs fully or partially. An accessible ramp and rubber threshold mats have been installed on the 200 Level in order to mitigate tripping hazards. We have also installed one new all-gender washroom on the 300 Level, one fully accessible washroom on the 200 Level, and an adult changing table in the existing accessible washroom on the 400 Level. In addition to this, an automatic door opener has been installed for the front entrance.
Other projects this funding has afforded are related to electrical and HVAC upgrades. For the electrical work, we successfully re-distributed and separated emergency and non-emergency power for the facility to ensure that we are meeting current code requirements. For the HVAC work, we increased ventilation through the installation of a new HVAC system including a make-up air handling unit, condenser, supply fans, and controls. Through these projects, the Diefenbunker has developed several long-standing partnerships including with Morrison Hershfield for engineering services and KWC Architects Inc. for architectural services. We also worked with contractors MB Ford Construction, Modern Niagara Inc., the Joule Group, Upper Canada Elevators, and Malwood.
With increased accessibility to the museum, visitors of all ages and abilities are able to explore the site with greater independence. The projects have also allowed us to take vital steps towards addressing the Diefenbunker’s aging infrastructure. While there will always be a need for ongoing upgrades as the facility continues to age, these improvements were necessary in order to continue safeguarding Canada’s most significant Cold War artifact and to ensure the museum’s continued operation for the benefit of our community and generations to come.