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Newsletter Sept 23 2011
Canadian AIR & SPACE Museum Newsletter Upcoming EventsSeptember 22, 2011
Canadian Air & Space Museum was served an eviction notice from the landlord Parc Downsview Park on Tuesday September 20, 2011 and the locks on all the doors of the Museum were changed.
Last week the Museum advised Parc Downsview Park that the business was solvent because of positive management and program changes introduced since May. We advised the Park that business and revenues were increasing and we delivered three cheques totally $22,500 to the Park, with the promise that more payments would be forthcoming on a regular basis.
The positive news delivered by the Museum to Parc Downsview Park appears to have caused great worry at the Park. They returned our cheques without cashing them.
When news broke of the Park's plans to lock the doors of the Canadian Air & Space Museum at noon on Tuesday, reporters from four television stations (CBC, City, Global, CBC) with six cameras, three Toronto newspapers and several radio stations raced to Downsview Park in time to see Parc Downsview Park officials instructing contractors to change the locks on all the Museum doors. (See Museum Media Coverage)
The sudden and unexpected actions by Parc Downsview Park have been extremely damaging to the Canadian Air & Space Museum's business and its Canada-wide reputation. Almost immediately, visitors asked if they had to leave the Museum, birthday parties, school and group tours were cancelled, facility rentals were put on hold, major donations that were many years in development stopped, and the Museum's heritage partners scrambled to Downsview Park to remove their rare aircraft, aviation and space artifacts from the building in the great uncertainty.
For example, the World's oldest flying de Havilland Canada DHC-1 Chipmunk aircraft was removed from the hangar where it was built in 1947, the replica of the 1909 AEA Silver Dart that a Canadian astronaut flew at Baddeck, NS on the 100th anniversary of flight in Canada in 2009 (right) is going to be removed, and rare artifacts highlighting the Canadian contribution to the first moon landing in July 1969 are no longer on display.
Museum supporters are universally baffled that the Parc Downsview Park wishes to evict the Museum just when it is turning its' business around.
We subsequently learned that the Park has been quitely pursuing plans to demolish 65 Carl Hall Road, the original 1929 de Havilland of Canada Ltd. heritage building that the Museum has occupied since 1997 and build four ice skating rinks.
The Museum and its supporters are outraged by such short-sighted thinking that rationalizes the bulldozing of 65 Carl Hall Road, the third oldest aviation building in Canada and an important National Historic Site to accommodate hockey rinks when Downsview Park has literally hundreds of acres of vacant land available for such a facility.
Most visitors to our Museum are amazed by the many contributions to Canadian nation-building that took place within the four walls of this historic aircraft factory and R&D centre since 1929:
Some of the achievements at 65 Carl Hall Road are Canadian iconics. For example, the DHC-2 Beaver bushplane (right) was designed and built in the Museum's threaten building. It appears on three Canadian coins and a stamp. It is a National Historic Site of Canada. Museum supporter actor/pilot Harrison Ford flies a Beaver, and the Great One, Wayne Gretzky currently appears in a Breitling watch ad next to a Beaver!
- Launch of the Canadian Flying Club movement in the late 1920s with DH 60 Moth aircraft
- Wartime production of 3,000 military aircraft - Tiger Moth, Anson II and Mosquito - that helped Canada and its Allies win the Second World War!
- Postwar development of the DHC-1 Chipmunk trainer, one of the World's top training aircraft used by 24 nations
- Development of the iconic DHC-2 Beaver and DHC-3 Otter STOL bush planes that opened the North and remain very popular 60 years after the prototypes flew from the runway adjacent to the Museum.
- Development of aerial fire fighting systems to protect Canada's forests
- Assembly and testing for the NRC of Alouette 1, Canada's first spacecraft and the World's first scientific research satellite
- Birthplace of Bombardier Aerospace in Toronto, the Canadian space technology industry and the World's's leading space robotics company which built the Canadarm for the NASA Space Shuttle
- Put the postwar Toronto aerospace industry on the World map, providing the business foundation for businesses that employ thousands and generate billions of dollars a year in exports.
While our Museum business and reputation has been very seriously damaged by the actions of Parc Downsview Park, their actions have also mobilized Museum supporters in every region of Canada to fight for a vitally important cause.
The Museum is not going anywhere! While there is uncertainty, we have regained limited access to the Museum building, we have resumed daily business operations, we are working to replace now missing exhibits and have launched a broad-based membership and advocacy campaign.
How can you help? Forward this e-News to your friends using the link at the bottom of the page and read further!
- Sept. 24 - CASM Special Members Meeting at Museum at 9:00 a.m.
- Sept. 26 - Downsview Park - Annual Public Meeting 7:30 p.m. (Please pre-register and show your support for the Museum)
Robert A. Cohen
Chief Executive Officer
Canadian Air & Space Museum
The museum's privacy policies ensure that our e-mail list is not shared or sold to any other organization or business. You can unsubscribe from e-news at any time using the hyperlink at the bottom of this e-mail.
How Can I Help the Museum and Save the Aviation and Space Heritage at Downsview?
Watch this Video -> Help Save Canada's Aviation & Space Heritage!
Write Rona Ambrose (Cabinet Minister responsible for Downsview Park), Mark Alder (MP for York Centre where Museum is located), James Moore (Minister of Canadian Heritage), Steven Blaney (Minister of Veterans Affairs), Monte Kwinter (MPP for York Centre), Maria Augimeri (Toronto City Councillor for York Centre) and YOUR Member of Parliament!
(Be sure to copy the museum on any of your communications)
Minister, Public Works and Government Services and Minister for the Status of Women
Telephone: 613-996-9778 (Ottawa) & 780-495-7705 (Edmonton)
MP York Centre
Telephone: 613-941-6339 (Ottawa) & 416-638-3700 (Toronto)
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages
Minister of Veterans Affairs
Maria C. Augimeri
Councillor, City of Toronto
Ward 9 - York Centre
Member of Provincial Parliament for York Centre
Ian A. McDougall
Canadian Air & Space Museum
National Media Coverage - Getting Our Museum Message Out! The Canadian Air & Space Museum's team of media relations experts has consistently obtained strong National media coverage for our air and space special events and commemorative celebrations.
We've celebrated children's love of flying, aviation and space, hosted astronauts and veterans, visits by aircraft of the Canadian Armed Forces, and celebrated the many achievements of de Havilland Aircraft of Canada at Downsview Park, the aircraft and people of Avro Canada, and highlighted important Canadian contributions to NASA's Apollo 11 moon landing and the Apollo 13 rescue, for example.
These media relations efforts have helped educate hundreds of thousands of people to Canada's rich air and space heritage, increased National awareness of Downsview Park, and inspired young people to investigate the careers in aerospace. Now we are working non-stop to SAVE our Museum.
MEDIA COVERAGE (Sample)
Sympatico Home Page plays a 5-min CTV clip
CBC Radio 1 - As it Happens - Feb 19th & 20th
CBC Radio 1 - Here and Now - Feb 20th
The story was also syndicated by Canadian Press, and it, or another version, also ran in:
And many more publications ....
- St. Catharine's Standard
- Hamilton Spectator
- Guelph Mercury
- London Free Press
- The Huffington Post (new national media company in Canada)
- Canada.com (CanWest's site)
- Canoe.com (Toronto Sun's web site)
Eviction Notice - What Happened?
On the morning on Tuesday, September 20, 2011, the Canadian Air & Space Museum received eviction papers from its landlord Parc Downsview Park (PDP), and shortly after the locks on all the doors were changed.
Parc Downsview Park, an agency of the Federal government, reasoned that because the Museum was behind in its rent payments, it had the right to close it down. Although there is truth to the claim that the museum was behind in its rent, the Museum executive regularly communicated with Parc Downsview Park about the management and operational changes being put in place this year, and all along, the Park responded in a positive and patient manner.
The Museum presented PDP with three cheques last week which were returned un-cashed and the Museum was then advised that Parc Downsview Park would be taking action as early as Tuesday before the Museum could become fully capable financially.
Park Terminates Leases of ALL tenants at 65 Carl Hall Road
The Museum subsequently found out Tuesday afternoon after our locks were changed that Parc Downsview Park had in fact served all the tenants of 65 Carl Hall Road with eviction notices so the designated heritage building can be cleared out and demolished in order to begin construction on a new four-pad hockey arena slated to open in 2013.
Among the many facts that are disappointing is that PDP had artist renderings for the new hockey facility prepared months ago, secret lease negotiations with private investors have been underway for some time, and all along, PDP indicated to the Museum that they were safe from eviction.
The Museum was established at former Canadian Forces Base Toronto in 1997 when Canada Lands Corporation requested input from the community regarding the redevelopment of the original de Havilland Aircraft of Canada site and air force base. The museum founders realized that for 50 years, an important industrial heritage site had been locked away behind the barbwire fences of a military base and the contribution of the company and its people to Canada in war and peace time had been forgotten.
National Aviation Historic Site
Last year, Paul Oberman, a prominent Toronto heritage building preservationist, stepped forward to lead Museum efforts to preserve and restore the historic de Havilland Aircraft of Canada hangars and offices at Downsview where the Museum has been since 1997. He also worked hard to sensitized the national heritage community to the value of these unique aviation hangars in north Toronto. Unfortunately, Paul was killed in an aircraft crash in March 2011, but his passion to revitalize the aviation heritage landscape of Downsview Park and the adjacent airport lives on
As a non-profit organization, run by a staff of three and hundreds of volunteers, the Museum has never received major government funding except for a bit of grant money. The Museum's monthly rent is more than $15,500, forcing the majority of profits to be allocated to this expenditure, rather than acquiring and preserving historical aviation assets.
Self Funded Museum
Most visitors are astonished to learn that the Museum has undertaken so many projects such as the refurbishment of the heritage building, the construction of a full scale replica Avro Arrow, and the restoration of the City of Toronto's 1944 Avro Lancaster bomber primarily using self-generated revenues and volunteer labour. For example, in other parts of our country, Parks Canada supports non-profit heritage societies managing, restoring and interpreting nationally significant industrial heritage sites.
We don't know what's in store for the assets now housed within the Museum's walls. Parc Downsview Park indicated on Tuesday to the media that they would help the Museum with storage and/or moving costs. They never mentioned this to anyone at the Museum, leaving staff wondering if they said it in a moment of pressure.
Then, on Tuesday night Parc Downsview Park revised their position and told the Museum they could resume business operations on Wednesday morning, book group tours and school programs, etc., but it is not clear for how long. The Museum will hold them to this, although they have lied in the past.
It has been a sad week for the Museum and for our community of supporters, but we drawing strength from the huge number of people who are offering their support. The legacy of de Havilland, the tragedy of the Avro Arrow, Canada's space pioneering and the wartime sacrifice of our RCAF veterans are all important Museum themes and have many supporters.
We are NOT calling it Quits
The Museum has been extremely resourceful, is open to partnering with like-minded aviation and heritage organizations, and is NOT calling it quits.
While we face uncertainty, this is nothing new.
Like the pioneer aviators who first took to the air from the green fields of Downsview 82 years ago, we believe that aviation ... and aviation history ... has a future in Toronto and we are determined to build the Museum that Canada's largest urban market requires and our air and space achievements deserve.
We hope you will join us on our mission and we welcome your support.
About the Canadian Air & Space Museum
The Canadian Air & Space Museum in Toronto showcases Canada's rich aviation history. From aircraft, to artifacts and documents, its collection is as old as the building itself, built in 1929 as the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada manufacturing facility. Within these walls, aviation history unfolded with airplanes like the de Havilland DH 60 Moth, DH 83C Fox Moth, DHC-1 Chipmunk, DHC-2 Beaver and DHC-3 Otter coming off the assembly line.
Today, it houses a flying replica of the Silver Dart, a full scale replica of the Avro Arrow, the City of Toronto's rare Avro Lancaster bomber, a Canadian Forces Snowbirds Tutor jet, and several de Havilland Canada-built aircraft including a DH 82C Tiger Moth built within its walls that are today recognized as the third oldest aviation heritage building in Canada.
The unique industrial character of the building - a former wartime aircraft factory - evokes memories of a time when 7,500 Torontonians built DH98 Mosquito fighter-bombers 24 hours a day here to help the Allied air forces win the Second World War.
The Museum's location has always been ideal, not only for its past history, but for its proximity to neighbour Bombardier Aerospace (which makes the Q400 airliner and Global business jet at Downsview) with a 7,000 foot runway allowing aircraft to arrive and depart the Museum.
The Canadian Air & Space Museum provides important public services to Torontonians and Canadians and is growing in stature as a community facility and cultural tourist destination. Aircraft on display have been acquired in Canada, the US and Europe.
Aviation came to Downsview in 1929 and created the rich cultural and built landscape Parc Downsview Park has inherited and now administers for the people of Canada ...
How Can I Learn More About the Museum and the Aviation Heritage of Downsview?
Museum and Heritage Site History
Canada's Historic Places - de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Plant 1
(65 Carl Hall Road)
City of Toronto - Downsview Park - Built Heritage Site Study
Auditor General of Canada - Protection of Cultural Heritage in the Federal Government
Rogers "Structures" TV Program on the History of Downsview
de Havilland Beaver - National Historic Site of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada
Avro CF-105 Arrow
Avro Lancaster Mk X - FM104
Being restored by Museum volunteers on behalf of the City of Toronto
Bombardier Aerospace - Toronto (builds aircraft at Downsview today)
de Havilland in Canada
by Fred Hotosn
Special Members Meeting - Sep 24 - 9 a.m.
The Museum will hold a Special Members Meeting on Saturday September 24, 2011 at 9:00 a.m. at the Museum at 65 Carl Hall Road, Downsview Park.
The Meeting will address the recent serious challenges to the Museum's business and the Special Meeting will include the previous announced membership vote to approve the following additions to the by-laws:
By-law Addition Number 1:
The Board Chair and Vice Chair may together immediately remove a director who breaches board confidentiality or acts contrary to his or her fiduciary obligations to the Museum or to the Board. The decision and circumstances shall be reported in camera to the Board at the next scheduled or special meeting of the board.
By-law Addition Number 2:
No person who as an Officer of the Museum or as a Director has been in breach of their fiduciary duties to the Board or the Museum or has violated board confidentiality shall be qualified to stand for election to the Board of Directors or entitled to serve on the Board of Directors.
Volunteers Required Immediately!
The Museum is seeking volunteers who are available any time to help with operations, administration duties and to save the Museum. On-site training is provided!
Other volunteer opportunities available include:
- Tour Guide / Museum Docent
- Health & Safety Committee Members
- On-call volunteers - various day time jobs- Marketing & Communications Task Team (experience required)
- Web Site Development and Management
- Gift Shop Sales
- Library and Archives
If you would like to volunteer at the Museum please contact Natasha at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 416-638-6078.
The E-News Team welcomes article and news submissions.
Museum E-News TeamCanadian Air & Space Museum
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