Thursday, February 28, 2013

FORGOTTEN TORONTO ::: The World's ONLY Flying Saucer

AT NEW YEARS, I HAD a friend lament that …everything about Avro Canada has been forgotten!  

"Who remembers, who…??"

Well…Popular Mechanics remembers.

February 2013.

And there it is! The RCAF roundel on the Avrocar in the fold-out!!

Granted, the Avrocar was made for the US ARMY and the USAF.

But it was MADE in TORONTO.

You can't go to too far in the history of aviation without touching upon Avro Canada.

THERE'S A 1000 ways to feel sad about what happened to Avro Canada…and I can find all of them.

'nuff, said~

(Avroites and Canadian patriots — Get this issue!)

Monday, February 25, 2013

FORGOTTEN TORONTO ::: MOSQUITO Fighter-Bombers on the Production Line

YES, yes…over 1,100 Mosquito Fighter-Bombers were made in Toronto.
All-wood construction these Mosquitos were.
"Use lots of glue" the factory sign reminded the largely female work force.
Back in the day (1942-44) if you flew over Downsview you'd see 20-30 of these beasties huddled around the airfield. When they came in to land, Sheppard Ave. had to be temporarily closed to allow Mosquitos to pass through!
Yes, yes, these deadly aircraft used to beat up Toronto skies.
Of course, a distant memory now.
Yes, yes the 40s interventionist Canadian Government GAVE over 200 battle-ready Mosquitos, and training support, to the Chinese Nationalists who fought a tough battle for democracy in China…and, as we all know now, lost.
The Chinese have been fighting for democracy EVER since.
What isn't well-known is the Chinese freedom fighters also had a tough time learning to fly these high-performance aircraft and pranged quite a few of them. The older Chinese pilots resented learning how-to from the brash young Canadian pilot, George Stewart, and his assistant.
And as luck would have it, George is still alive and resides in Hamilton.
That guy has many a story to tell.
Anyhow, focusing back.
Yes, yes…does anyone, BESIDES ME remember this factory of democracy that was first was enlisted to create trainers for the war effort (De Havilland Moths)…and later Mossies to bring Hitler and his war machine to its knees?
Apparently not.
TODAY this former De Havilland factory serves a forgetful public as an indoor soccer field…and will be morphed transformer style into redundant hockey arenas in the near future.
CANADIANS don't respect their own history or Canadian achievement.
That's why they know so little about it.
So one can't expect them to honour related historical sites.
And that's why a portion of De Havilland won't be saved as the Museum it should be, and was for the longest time. Enter the corrupt power players at Downsview Park who lined pockets and ninnified our history by insisting these sports facilities (sports facilities!) had to be located on the former 1929 De Havilland Factory site, instead of 500 feet N,S, E, or W of that.
But hey…look at those beauties (Mossies) on the Downsview production line, anyway!
• Original De Havilland Mosquito photo corrected and tone altered - Paul Cardin
• 2013 Downsview Park photo - Paul Cardin

Saturday, February 16, 2013

::: MADE IN TORONTO Mosquito…flies again!

MADE IN TORONTO, RESTORED RECENTLY IN NEW ZEALAND…deHavilland FB.26 KA114 Mosquito, nicknamed the 'Mossie' in WW II…flies again!!

Made in Downsview (now Toronto proper) by deHavilland of Canada in 1945!

TODAY it is the only Mosquito in flying condition, in the whole-wide world!!

…how about that?

During WW II the Mosquito had many roles: Fast-bomber, Fighter-Bomber, Night Fighter, Maritime Strike Aircraft, Fast Photo-Reconnaissance, and even advanced trainer.

Commander in Chief of the Nazi Luftwaffe, Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring said THIS about the Mosquito in 1943:

"In 1940, I could at least fly as far as Glasgow in most of my aircraft, but not now! It makes me furious when I see the Mosquito. I turn green and yellow with envy. The British, who can afford aluminium better than we can, knock together a beautiful wooden aircraft that every piano factory over there is building, and they give it a speed which they have now increased yet again.What do you make of that? There is nothing the British do not have. They have the geniuses and we have the nincompoops. After the war is over I'm going to buy a British radio set - then at least I'll own something that has always worked."

Oh, those pesky Mosquitos!
On January 20, 1943…RAF Mosquitos silenced Göring's propaganda speech celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Nazis having seized power which was being broadcast live, at the time, from Berlin, to the entire German nation!

Göring was humiliated.In response to this and other increasing well-known successful RAF Mossie attacks Hermann formed special Luftwaffe units—to specifically combat these pesky Mosquitos.

No luck, chap.

The Mosquito was an ALL-WOOD construction.

It had no defensive armour, or armament, whatsoever.

HIGH SPEED was its' defence!

The Mossies could fly low, under German radar, at high speeds and were the first STEALH (radar-undetectable) AIRCRAFT brought into existence.

The main users of the Mosquito in order of units served was the RAF, RCAF, RAAF, and the USAAF.

My dad's squadron, RCAF SQN 404 put their Mossies to use as coastal anti-shipping and submarine strike aircraft.

The CANADIAN MOSQUITO FB Mk. 26 FIGHTER-BOMBER (seen above, photographer unknown) was an improved version of the Mk. 21 fighter-bomber.  It was powered by two 1,620 HP Packard-Merlin 225 piston engines. That was a boost of 200 HP from the 21!

Those Packard-Merlins, and all Canadian Packard-Merlins used in Canadian Mosquitos, were made in this (now vacant) Downsview Park building (also seen-above)!

A total of 338 Mk.26s were made in, and only in, Toronto!

7,781 Mosquitos were built overall, all marks, and 1,132 were BUILT IN TORONTO.

Will CANADA ever see a Mosquito beat up the skies of Canada, again?

In mid-June, 2013 the Canadian Mosquito (owned by Jerry Yagen) and seen above, WILL FLY once again over the skies of Toronto.

 …and possibly land at Bombardier Toronto!

It will fly as the SHOW'S HIGHLIGHT in the Hamilton Air Show on June 15-16, 2013.

Oh…yeah…when this Canadian Mk. 26 was restored over a seven year period in Ardmore, New Zealand by AvSpecs Ltd …a COMPLETE SET of forms, jigs and moulds were created.  This means that MORE CANADIAN VERSION Mk. 26 MOSQUITOS will be produced in the future!

FYI, Toronto…

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


…WHO SAYS CANADA…couldn't party like it was 1999?!

Who says we can't do it in style?!

We did.

Look at this fabulous block of stamps produced for Canada Post: Postes Canada!

Looky at some of the airplanes that the RCAF once flew!!


IF I could get unlimited blocks of these stamps I'd use them for all my mail…for the rest of my life!

No, foolin'.

Alas. (*sigh*) Not to be…

And just look at all the ROUNDELS the RCAF adopted for this, and that, time era!


Well the RCAF, Canada's Air Force, has changed its military logo many times.  For a complete explanation:

SEE "The Roundel Round-Up" at Vintage Wings of Canada:
Brought to you by Dave O'Malley of AEROGRAPHICS Creative Services!

(FOUR of these aircraft…were MADE IN TORONTO!)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

FLIGHT 621: 3000+ Square Foot Colossus replaces Burgsma Home

3000+ Stone Square Brick and Tumbled Foot Colossus sits atop the former Burgsma residence site … 

…where John 'Red' Burgsma and his younger brother watched in horror as the very large, brand-new, state-of-the-art four engined jetliner—an Air Canada 'stretched' DC-8…crashed right before their very eyes, right in their own backyard!

…and in the foreground is the fenced-off area of the soon-to-be official FLIGHT 621 Cemetery and Memorial Gardens.

This 'area' is historical and hallowed grounds. 

It encompasses a sizeable land zone section directly involved in the crash—the impact arena.

And notably, it contains, buried deep down, the topsoil from other parts of the site (moved here specifically by the developers last year) initially discovered by me in 2002, to have been compromised by human remains of Flight 621's victims.

THIS CEMETERY is not a 'play' cemetery… a nice gesture to those 109 passengers and crew who died here; no, this is to be an actual, official, provincially mandated cemetery and future crash memorial that contains buried deep — thousands of fragmented bone remains of those unfortunate 109 souls who died on Air Canada Flight 621, both here, and from the surrounding five acres, on July 5,1970.

Back in 2012, late last year, Barb and I were on-site before the concrete foundation for the 'colossus' had been poured. It had certainly been marked and staked out, at this point. As I looked to the ancient dilapidated bridge for my placement orientation, I was pretty sure we had located and were standing on the old Burgsma house lot.

And then came the miraculous confirmation. As I walked about, there, right THERE, on the very edge of the marked out future colossus foundation…I saw it!

What a find! What a coincidence!

An old piece of white bathroom tile from the former Burgsma home!

And since the Burgsma house was the only house ever within the crash site arena, voila— I had my clearly identifiable confirmation for the former house location!

According to Al Vanderstarren, the old Burgsma house was condemned in the mid-80s, about six months after his family (its' last residents) had moved out. Shortly thereafter the home was demolished, broken up, and plowed down into its' former basement.

Remnants from the house destruction never strayed far from the home's foundation, unlike Flight 621 artifacts that were subjected to a farmer's dragging plow through almost four decades of farming!