We just received word that the Toronto City Council has announced their decision regarding the fate of Avro Lancaster B Mk.10 FM104. The City voted to transfer the aircraft to the British Columbia Aviation Museum near Victoria on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. This aircraft was on display atop a waterfront pedestal beside Lake Ontario in Toronto for several decades until its rescue by the sadly moribund Canadian Air & Space Museum in 1999. CASM had been making great strides with the Lancaster’s restoration until they were forcibly evicted in 2012, alongside a number of other business, because someone got the bright idea to bulldoze the historic deHavilland factory hangars they called home to build yet another skating rink complex. Without a home, nor the prospect of finding another within their budget, CASM was essentially shut down, and their exhibits shoved into storage wherever it was available. The City of Toronto still owned the Lancaster, and given that the aircraft was in disassembled storage outdoors, a decision had to come soon regarding its future. In selecting the British Columbia Aviation Museum, the City Council have definitely found a place where the Lancaster will be loved and well cared for. What will be a sad loss for many in Toronto, especially those who poured so much love and care into FM104, will be to the benefit of those out west, where Lancaster served faithfully, and is currently unrepresented. The care of the airframe and her history is what’s important now, and hopefully FM104’s future is a lot brighter. For a few more details, here is the press release which the British Columbia Aviation Museum released earlier this evening.
The British Columbia Aviation Museum is delighted to announce today that it is the successful bidder to receive an Avro Lancaster bomber from the City of Toronto.
“The Avro Lancaster is an iconic aircraft with a distinguished record in war, where it was a major contributor to the Strategic Bombing Offensive in World War II, and in peace, where it served for many years on both coasts in reconnaissance and search and rescue missions,” said John Lewis, President of the BC Aviation Museum.
Comox was the west coast base for Lancasters through the 1950s and 60s.
This Lancaster, FM104, which was built in Toronto in 1944, served for many years on the east coast up to its retirement from service in 1966. It was then displayed on a plinth on the Toronto lakeshore for more than thirty years. It was subsequently removed and has been partially restored, but has been disassembled and in storage away from public view for several years.
The Lancaster will be moved to the BC Aviation Museum in North Saanich near Victoria International Airport over the next few months, and restoration will start immediately. The long-term goal of the museum is to restore the aircraft to flying condition in partnership with Victoria Air Maintenance, the internationally known firm of vintage aircraft restorers which is located near the museum.
“I am pleased that many local aircraft manufacturing specialists and vintage aircraft enthusiasts have pledged their time and knowledge to volunteer on this project,” Lewis said.
“Many people at the BC Aviation Museum and the Victoria aviation community have worked hard to make today’s announcement possible,” said Lewis. “We are now looking forward to the day when Lancaster FM104 goes on display at our museum.”