Canadian Business Awards 2023

Dec22401 Most Unique Immersive Canadian Heritage Visitor Attraction - Ontario Drawing tens of thousands of visitors from around the world every year, the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum allows visitors to step back in time by bringing relevant Cold War history to life. Originally designed as the centre for Canada’s defence against nuclear war, the Diefenbunker is now a museum and national historic site, offering a one-of-a-kind educational experience with award-winning programs, events, exhibitions, and escape rooms. With an impressive history, the Diefenbunker is a once top-secret, four-storey underground bunker and is regarded as Canada’s most significant Cold War artifact. It is the only bunker in the world recognized as a national historic site. Since 1998, it has operated as a not-for-profit charitable museum year-round and has been preserved and maintained long past its original life expectancy. The museum offers a unique experience, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in stories, people, and artifacts from the past. Jordan Vetter, its Marketing and Communications Manager, shares, “We value the fact that history happened here, and the continued relevance of our national historic site to the present and future. The Diefenbunker and its stories have a crucial role to play in helping us to understand a critical period in recent world history: the Cold War.” Recent innovations in the museum’s visitor experience, thanks to investment from FedDev Ontario in 2022, include increased representation of underrepresented narratives as well as the introduction of new accessible and immersive visitor offerings. Examples of this include a new exhibition highlighting Indigenous experiences during the Cold War, the addition of Ojibwe as a language to the museum’s audio guide, an interpretive trail outside the museum, and a virtual reality experience simulating an emergency preparedness scenario. As a result of these innovations, the museum is leading in the Ontario and Canadian museum landscape, particularly in a time of postpandemic growth and recovery. As a non-profit, charitable organization and an important economic and tourism driver for rural West Ottawa, the Diefenbunker strives to remain visitor-focused and to showcase new and engaging connections to history. The museum further shows dedication to incorporating a diversity of perspectives in their Cold War content through their Artist-in-Residence program. Artwork by Algonquin artist Mairi Brascoupé was featured in 2021, followed by the work of Christos Pantieras, who identifies with the 2SLGBTQ+ community. Pantieras’ work, which explores the LGBT Purge and the resulting struggles of the community following the 1950s, will be featured until March 3, 2023. The Diefenbunker’s stories of a nation facing isolation, fear and global tension during the Cold War resonate with visitors now more than ever. As recent world events unfold, we are reminded of the continued need to understand peacebuilding, preparedness, and collaboration. The museum and national historic site continues to promote understanding of these values and serves as a place of communication and connection. Jordan says, “We are focused on our growth as a museum and cultural heritage attraction, extending the reach of the still-pertinent Cold War stories told within our walls.” Winning Most Unique Immersive Canadian Heritage Visitor Attraction, Ontario, in the Canadian Business Awards 2023, the Diefenbunker has gained even more recognition on a global scale. Its future looks colourful as it continues to highlight the importance of education and preservation of our rich history. Contact: 613-839-0007 or [email protected] Company: Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum Web Address: Canadian Business Awards 2023 15