Locked in time: Get a look inside Nelson’s Diefenbunker

Click to play video: 'Extended: Take a tour of Nelson’s hidden nuclear bunker'
Extended: Take a tour of Nelson’s hidden nuclear bunker
WATCH: Take a firsthand look at a piece of Nelson’s history. Constructed in the Diefenbaker era, this underground bunker was built as a precaution in case of nuclear war – May 12, 2016

It’s one of more than 50 Cold War-era bunkers built across Canada.

Nicknamed the Diefenbunker, after Prime Minister John Diefenbaker who authorized their construction, the large space in the basement of the Gray Building in Nelson, B.C. was designated as a fallout shelter. It was a place where a small handful of officials could stay safely tucked away from any pending atomic war.

But the bunker in Nelson was never used.

Most of the bunkers were built in great secrecy at rural locations outside major cities across Canada. The majority of the facilities were two-storey underground bunkers that were designed to withstand a near-miss nuclear explosion.

Although it’s no longer a secret, Nelson’s Diefenbunker was not widely known about.

WATCH: Leah Best of Touchstones Nelson tours Nelssn’s Diefenbunker 
Click to play video: 'Inside the “Diefenbunker”'
Inside the “Diefenbunker”

That is until August 2013, almost 50 years after it was built, when the general public was able to see the bunker for the first time.

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Not the jolliest of rooms, the bunker is functional. It is well lit and has a decontainment area, a kitchen with a built-in can opener, washrooms, showers, men’s and women’s bunk rooms, water tanks and a radio room.

At the end of the Cold War, most of the bunkers were decommissioned.

As part of Global News exploring destinations around B.C., anchor Chris Gailus and camera operators Jamie Forsythe and Tony Clark got a private guided tour through the Nelson bunker.

Watch the above video and get a glimpse of the Diefenbunker.



Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in Nelson, B.C. in 1960. Jamie Forsythe | Global News
The Fallout Shelter handbook. Jamie Forsythe | Global News
In the Nelson, B.C. bunker. Jamie Forsythe | Global News
Bunker supplies, a mobile feeding unit. Jamie Forsythe | Global News


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