Diefenbunker greets one millionth visitor

By Jake Davies - West Carleton Online

CARP – It took nearly 30 years, but yesterday (May 29) the Diefenbunker: Canada’s Cold War Museum greeted their one millionth visitor.

And when West Carleton Online says ‘greeted,’ they mean it. The Diefenbunker team pulled out all the stops,  with photos, gifts and recognition for Lilian Wilson of Kingston, ON, who brought the museum’s visitor clicker to seven digits.

Two people pose for a photo.
From left, Lilian Wilson of Kingston, the Diefenbunker’s one millionth visitor poses with Diefenbunker executive director Christine McGuire. Courtesy the Diefenbunker

Based on visitor data, the museum was expecting the one millionth visitor to enter around 11 a.m. on May 29. To celebrate this historic moment, they honoured the one millionth guest with free general admission for them and their accompanying guests, along with a variety of merchandise giveaways.

“We are so proud to be able to celebrate this historic milestone,” Diefenbunker executive director Christine McGuire told West Carleton Online today (May 30). “It is a testament to the enduring significance of the Diefenbunker in our nation’s history and its ongoing impact today.”

The Diefenbunker, commissioned by former Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in 1959, is Canada’s most significant surviving Cold War artifact. This four-storey underground facility operated as the country’s central communications headquarters at the height of the war’s global tensions, ready at any moment to house Canada’s government and VIPs in case of a nuclear attack. Today, its legacy lives on as a unique museum and national historic site, offering a piece of Canada’s past and narrating stories of national and international importance.

This milestone arrived just a few days shy of the 30th anniversary of the Diefenbunker receiving a national historic site designation. is a testament to the enduring significance and impact of the Diefenbunker in our nation’s history.

But McGuire knows it’s not just the one millionth visitor that deserves recognition, but also the 999,999 that came before.

Thank you to each of our one million visitors who have supported the museum over the last 26 years,” MdGuire said. “You have allowed us to thrive as a one-of-a-kind immersive and educational history destination for local, national, and international visitors.”

From slasher flicks and Mel Gibson movies filmed at the Diefenbunker to interviews with former serving Canadian Armed Forces members and nearly a million other stories, West Carleton Online has covered the popular museum regularly over the last six years and you can find that coverage here.

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