Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
In 1958, at the height of the Cold War and the infancy of the ICBM threat, Carp was selected as the site for 1 of 6 communication centres and "Regional Emergency Government Headquarters" complexes being located across Canada.
The Carp facility would be the largest of such facilities and the only one in the Ottawa area. Construction began in great secrecy in an abandoned gravel pit outside Carp in 1959 on an underground 4-storey bunker capable of withstanding a near-hit from a nuclear explosion. The underground building had massive blast doors at the surface, as well as extensive air filters to prevent radiation infiltration. Underground storage was built for food, fuel, fresh water, and other supplies for the facility which was capable of supporting several hundred people for weeks.
These facilities, nicknamed "Diefenbunkers" (after prime minister John Diefenbaker who authorized their construction), were administered by the Canadian Corps of Signals. A decentralized transmitter site was located further to the west where an antenna farm was built in Perth, Ontario.
CFS Carp was decommissioned in 1994 following the reduction in the ICBM threat (or more appropriately the obsolescence of the "Diefenbunkers"). The local municipality took control of the facility and a group of local volunteers, recognizing the heritage and tourism value of the Carp "Diefenbunker", undertook to open the facility as a cold war museum and conduct public tours.
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