During the Cold War, many NATO governments developed highly secret contingency plans to maintain the continuity of government (COG) during and after nuclear attack. Canada was no exception. COG planning generally consisted of several elements including legal mechanisms and constitutional matters; document duplication and storage; skeleton bureaucracies; dispersion; transportation; and shelter. All were necessary to keep Canada functioning as a nation in the face of an attack by Soviet atomic and hydrogen bombs. The most misunderstood element of COG planning has been the shelter component. Critics of civil defence programmes argued that protecting government leaders in shelters and not providing similar facilities to the population as a whole was “undemocratic,” designed to maintain the “power elite.”1 The reality of Canada’s COG programme was quite different from this propaganda line and its ability to protect the country’s leaders in underground facilities was much more limited than alleged. This study will concentrate on the strategic context, physical arrangements and concepts of operation developed to maintain the continuity of Canadian government in the era of the greatest danger during the Cold War, 1958 to 1963.