Over the last several months, we’ve been asking visitors to step into the shoes of the 500 to 600 government officials, military personnel, and civilians who had designated roles within the Diefenbunker between 1962 and 1994. These roles, ranging from health care to hospitality, were required in order to keep the bunker operating for a 30-day lockdown period if a nuclear attack on Canada occurred during the Cold War. 

We put forward the following question for consideration: 

If you had to choose one role to take on in the bunker, what would you want to do?

A. Emergency Escape Hatch Operator: Be the first to explore the world outside after a nuclear attack — test this out for yourself using our virtual reality headset located on the 400 Level.

B. Radiation Control Officer: Conduct people who have been contaminated with radiation from nuclear fallout through a series of showers when they arrive to the bunker.

C. Chef: Cook for everyone in the bunker in a kitchen that operated on a 24-hour basis and was considered to have the best food around.

D. Medical Centre Worker: Care for the sick and injured in a medical facility that could handle most emergencies and surgeries.

E. CANEX Clerk: Similar to working at a neighbourhood corner store, stock and sell small items like snacks, drinks, and cigarettes.

F. Machine Room Operator: Ensure all infrastructure and machinery are working properly.

The results of this poll are in! While the poll presents only a handful of the various military and civilian roles that would have been taken on in the bunker, the results offer fascinating insights into how individuals today view the roles and decision-making processes that were important in an era of immense global tensions. We are pleased to spark these discussions and consider what they reveal about our perceptions of responsibility and survival in the face of nuclear catastrophe. 

Here is what was said:  

What Would You Do poll results.

What Would You Do serves as a poignant reminder of how important it is to acknowledge and understand the significance of Cold War preparedness and its relevance today. As Canada’s Cold War Museum, we seek to further our understanding of the past by preserving the stories and artifacts within our concrete walls, 75 feet underground.  

Thank you to everyone who shared their thoughts. We invite you to join the conversation and participate in our newest poll — find the question during your next visit to the museum, or stay tuned to our social media channels for the reveal.  

Sign with QR code for an interactive poll located in the Diefenbunker's Medical Centre.

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