The Ottawa Citroën Club gathered on a gorgeous Saturday morning, Oct. 11, for their traditional Fall Drive.   The rendezvous was set for 11 am, and seven cars showed up at the Diefenbunker Cold War Museum, in Carp, a village about 25 km west of Ottawa.

Two relics of a past era

First, we took an extensive and fascinating guided tour of the Diefenbunker.  This relic of the Cold War was built in the late 1950s, to house the Canadian Government in case of a nuclear attack.  The bunker’s four underground levels comprise more that 100,000 square feet of space, and descend more that 100 feet below the surrounding countryside.  We saw the Prime Minister’s suite, the War Cabinet Room, the CBC Radio studio, the amazing Bank of Canada vault, and the Emergency Government Situation Centre.  Among the many Cold War-themed exhibits, there are recreations of the home fallout shelters that people built in their basements in the 50s and early 60s, and even a real atomic bomb (well, just the casing, we hope!)

More than two hours later, we emerged happily into the fresh air and bright sunshine, wondering at the mood that must have been common place when this site was built.

As usual, our Citroëns in the parking lot had drawn a crowd of curious people, themselves waiting for the next Bunker tour.  After the usual question and answer sessions, we organized ourselves for a group photo, before beginning our drive.

Beauty, both natural and man-made

Soon, we were winding our way through the sun-dappled autumn countryside, following the Carp Ridge as it meanders east towards Dunrobin, and then south towards Stittsville.  During the gentle 30 km loop, we were amazed at the degree to which other traffic waited patiently and waved our group through at intersections, allowing us to stay together all the way to our final destination.

Of course, what would a French car club gathering be without food?  This outing was no exception, as we pulled up in front of the “French Crêpes” restaurant in Stittsville.  The proprietor was expecting us, and soon we were all tucked into delicious meals of crêpes, stuffed with succulent combinations of chicken, ham, vegetables, and of course cheese.  The more “gourmand” among us saved space for decadent dessert crêpes, piled with ice cream, streaked with dark chocolate sauce, and daubed with whipped cream. I guess the only other thing we should have included was a trip to the gym afterwards!

The gang digs in