Extended hours for Cold War-era sub tours beginning this weekend

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You can't expect to cross Lake Erie aboard the HMCS Ojibwa, but that doesn't mean the decommissioned Cold War-era submarine can't take you on a journey.

It's a journey of a more metaphorical sort – a voyage back in time to the days of spies, Soviets and the space race.

The submarine-turned-museum is opening its doors – or should we say hatches – to the public for its fourth summer at its Port Burwell perch. Though it's open on weekends through the winter, the craft is pushing full-steam ahead with full-time hours, seven days a week from Victoria Day weekend to the end of the summer. 

“We're open, there's going to be some great tours. It's going to be a lot of fun,” said Melissa Raven, director of communications for the Elgin Military Museum, the group that oversees the HMCS Ojibwa.

After four years at the helm of the one-of-a-kind landmark, Raven said museum leadership has worked out some early operational snags and looking forward to its best summer yet.

“We're really getting the rhythm of it, what our busy times are, what our less busy times are,” she noted, adding the museum is working to attract more school groups, cadets and scout troops.

This year, HMCS Ojibwa staff want to make the museum more welcoming for young kids and their families, a move partly motivated by the TVO childrens' show Dino Dana, which filmed an episode aboard the vessel earlier this spring.

“We're planning to start a program ... on some Sunday mornings, where younger children can go aboard and the whole tour will be geared to them,” she explained, adding the guided activities will be shorter and more age-appropriate for kids under six.

“It will give families with younger children a new opportunity.”

On the August long weekend, the destination is hosting its second annual Flashback 65 celebration. The retrospective invites the public play spy games, take in Cold War presentations and take a special tour of the grounded submarine.  

“We decided to go in that direction and really show people the world that HMCS Ojibwa was part of, that her crews were part of,” said Raven.

For more information about the HMCS Ojibwa or to purchase tickets, visit www.projectojibwa.ca.

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