The Canadian Air & Space Museum in Toronto, Canada is in the process of securing a new home. The fabulous collection, which includes Avro Lancaster B.X FM104 as well as a faithful replica of the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow transonic jet interceptor, has been without a home since late 2011. The bulk of their artifacts is now in secure storage at Pearson International Airport in Toronto, pending the next step, which will surely be the re-opening of this important museum.
According to their recent press release: “This milestone was achieved with the generous support of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA), airport tenants such as Air Canada and Westjet, private aerospace companies and an anonymous corporate sponsor who recently helped the Museum discharge some of its obligations. The support of this individual donor has been critical in this transition year, as has the continuing support and patience of our dedicated volunteer team….In March 2012, the Museum leadership entered into discussions with the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) to see if there was an opportunity to preserve and display the Museum collection at Lester B. Pearson International Airport – Canada’s largest and busiest airport. By mid-2013, a new exhibition concept was developed and during 2014 much progress was made towards securing financing and agreements with the GTAA. A confidentiality agreement restricts sharing further details, but our objective is to establish an innovative new air and space centre that will become of the GTA’s leading educational, technological, heritage and tourist attractions. The recent consolidation of most of the Museum’s aircraft and artifact collection at a storage building at Toronto Pearson Airport is an important milestone that brings us a step closer to our final goal. Going forward, the outlook is very positive.”
As many of our readers will be aware, this museum used to be based in the historic hangars of the former deHavilland Canada factory at Downsview Airport, on the outskirts of Toronto, Ontario. However, developers forced their eviction in September 2011, along with a number of other successful organizations. The hangar, which was itself a historic exhibit, had seen hundreds of deHavilland Mosquitos roll from its doors during WWII, the design of such iconic aircraft as the deHavilland Chipmunk and Beaver, as well as Canada’s first spacecraft, the Alouette research satellite. The site was supposed to have been protected, as it was listed as a Federal Heritage Building, but the prospect of money sometimes has a way of making those protections disappear, and such seems the case for these important buildings. They were to be bulldozed in favor of yet another ice rink. See HERE for some history of this important site and HERE for how it became slated for demolition.
The Canadian Air & Space Museum had very little time to get their collection out of the hangar. The core of the museum staff and volunteers never sat idly though, and have persevered to keep their dream of reopening alive. The artifacts have been shuffled about various temporary storage facilities, but now, finally, it seems like brighter days are ahead. We wish them much success, and we urge our readers who are able, to contribute to this important museum. Please visit their website HERE to learn more about this important organization and find out how you can get involved!