Over the last year, the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum has made significant strides in upgrading accessibility throughout the facility, implementing projects that have made visitor spaces and experiences more inclusive. 

In November of 2023, we opened a viewing platform overlooking the site’s historic Machine Room, safely opening up this engineering marvel to the public for the first time. Visitors can now immerse themselves in the heart of the bunker, which contains original machinery and self-sufficient systems designed to sustain the building in the event of a nuclear attack during the Cold War. 

The Diefenbunker's new Machine Room viewing platform.                            Overhead view of the Diefenbunker's updated 3-D Virtual Tour.

Last fall, we also launched an update to the museum’s 3-D Virtual Tour, which reflects newer facility upgrades and exhibitions and includes updated interpretation of the historic spaces. The Virtual Tour also meets national standards for digital accessibility, to be ADA and AODA compliant. The tour invites visitors to transcend barriers in the museum and view the site like never before.  

New accessible push-button located in the Diefenbunker's "A" stairwell by the exit doors.Recent facility upgrades to improve accessibility and navigability include an additional automatic door and outdoor seating. The new push-button automatic door opener is located on the inside of the museum’s main exit doors in the “A” stairwell, for easy access to visitors who are departing the site. In spring, you will be able to see five new benches along our above-ground Interpretive Trail, and five ADA compliant picnic tables, which will be available for public use on the Diefenbunker grounds.  

Newly installed 10-foot ramp outside the Diefenbunker's OSAX entrance/exit.

Given the nature of the facility being an older construction, there are a few areas with small steps and lips. We have installed new ramps and rubber thresholds to minimize navigation barriers and tripping hazards throughout the museum. This includes a 10-foot ramp at one of the entrances/exits of the Ottawa Semi-Automatic Exchange (OSAX), eliminating three steps into this room that were previously barriers to accessible navigation. On the opposing entrance/exit of OSAX, we have re-done the rubber on the existing ramp to improve traction and have added railings on either side. We also installed small rubber threshold ramps in OSAX and the CBC Radio Room to eliminate 1-inch lips, and have four new wheelchairs available for public use. 

With increased accessibility to the museum, visitors of all ages and abilities can explore the site with greater independence. The Diefenbunker is grateful to be able to improve its infrastructure and services inside Canada’s most significant Cold War artifact, so that we can continue to safely welcome visitors from Ontario, Canada, and around the world for generations to come.



We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Ontario Trillium Foundation through the Resilient Communities Fund and their Capital fund. Read about this funding announcement from November 2023.



We also acknowledge the David & Susan Rose Fund – Ottawa Community Foundation for their support of the Machine Room viewing platform project. 

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