Toronto's Premier AIR & SPACE Attraction
Home of the AVRO Arrow Full Scale Metal Replica
The Canadian Air & Space Museum (formerly the Toronto Aerospace Museum) was founded in Toronto in 1997 as a registered non-profit organization (Number BN 87605 3968 RR0001). Located in the original manufacturing factory of the iconic de Havilland Aircraft of Canada, located in Downsview Park, the Museum showcased aviation and aerospace history to thousands of visitors and school groups each year. The Museum was run and supported by a small staff and hundreds of volunteers.
While the Canadian Air & Space Museum has always prided itself on telling the distinctly Canadian stories of aviation, military, and aerospace science and technology, it equally tells the stories of the people connected to these innovations. In doing so, the museum is not only chronicling their achievements, it is honouring these larger than life pioneers, and preserving their legacies for future generations.
In September 2011, the Museum's buildings were designated to be repurposed and the Museum needed to pack up and find a new home.
A New Museum
In March 2012, the Canadian Air & Space Museum entered into negotiations with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority (GTAA) to relocate the Museum from Toronto's Downsview Park to Lester B. Pearson International Airport --- Canada's biggest and busiest airport.
Discussions continue to take place and no binding commitments have been made at this time.
Development of the new Canadian Air & Space Museum at Toronto Pearson Airport would ensure that the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) continues to have a facility that will celebrate and showcase the aviation and aerospace accomplishments of Canadians.
Toronto airport history
A new Museum at Toronto Pearson International Airport would be at a location rich in aviation history.
The airport first opened in 1938 as Malton Airport. Since its formative years, the airport has been home to an aviation centre, air force base, aircraft manufacturing site and became the busiest domestic, trans-border and international airline hub in Canada in 1962.
The airport is where 10,000 employees of Victory Aircraft Limited manufactured the giant Avro Lancaster Mk. X bomber during the Second World War, and where aerospace innovators developed the famous Avro Canada C-102 Jetliner, CF-100 Canuck and CF-105 Arrow jets that roared into the sky in the late 1940s and 1950s.
After the cancellation of the Avro Arrow program in 1959, the giant Avro Canada factory was retooled to make wings for the popular McDonnell Douglas DC-9, MD-80, DC-10, MD-11 and Boeing 717 jetliners for almost 40 years.
In 2011, Toronto Pearson handled more than 34 million passengers and 450,000 aircraft movements. The airport handles 30% of Canada's aviation traffic, and every day about 1,100 aircraft land and takeoff on its five runways.
As mentioned, the Canadian Air & Space Museum was founded as the Toronto Aerospace Museum in 1997, and located at Toronto's historic Downsview Airport in the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. heritage building, former home of Canada's oldest and most successful aircraft factory.
After de Havilland vacated the building, it became the first home of the space technology company best known as SPAR.
In its formative years, Museum volunteers embarked on three major projects:
- the refurbishment of the historic de Havilland factory building.
- the construction of a full-scale metal replica of the supersonic Avro Arrow interceptor.
- the restoration of the City of Toronto's rare wartime Avro Lancaster Mk. X bomber – one of only 18 in existence.
The Museum also interpreted the de Havilland Canada historic site where company employees assembled DH 60 Moth aircraft in the 1920s and 1930s; Tiger Moth, Anson II and Mosquito aircraft during the Second World War wartime; and in the postwar period developed the innovative DHC-1 Chipmunk trainer and DHC-2 Beaver and DHC-3 Otter bush planes flown throughout the world. (Hollywood actor and pilot Harrison Ford owns a Beaver.)
In 1954, de Havilland's original Plant 1 became the home for de Havilland's Special Products division (later SPAR) which perfected the STEM antenna for spacecraft use and built the hard structure of the Alouette I satellite which established Canada as the third nation in space when launched in 1962.
On September 20, 2011, the Canadian Air & Space Museum's lease at Downsview Park was unexpectedly terminated, triggering a determined search to find a new Museum home.
A national advocacy campaign to save the Museum and the historic de Havilland Aircraft of Canada heritage building at Downsview received the signed support of 22,000 Canadians.