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ONTARIO

Canadian Forces Base Toronto – Avenue Road Detachment:

Originally opened in 1939 as the RCAF Institute of Aviation Medicine, a military laboratory, on the grounds of the Eglington Hunt Club. The Institute’s purpose was to conduct secret research on the psychological effects of combat flying. It was here that Dr. Wilbur Franks, under the direction of Sir Frederick Banting, who headed he RCAF’s No. 1 Clinical Investigation Unit,  developed the first anti-gravity flying suit and the first human centrifuge for the allied armies.

The facility also doubled as the home of No. 1 Initial Training School, who moved here shortly afterwards to train recruits for the war. Administrative offices and barracks were constructed to house the school.

After WWII, the Institute became a Detachment of the newly established RCAF Station Toronto (Downsview).

In 1946, the Headquarters unit of 400 RCAF (Auxiliary) Squadron was formed at the Avenue Road Detachment. The unit remained until 1964 when it moved to RCAF Station Downsview to join the flying section of the squadron. Also at the Avenue Road Detachment were the RCAF Personnel Applied Research Unit, part of the Aircrew Selection Unit at RCAF Station Downsview, the Flying Personnel Medical Establishment and the Institute of Aviation Medicine.

The RCAF Staff School, re-named the Canadian Forces Staff School for junior officers after 1968, occupied space at the Detachment from 1959 – 1994. The Army’s Toronto District Headquarters, formed at Moss Park Armoury in 1970, moved to the Avenue Road Detachment in the mid-1980s and remained until it again moved to Downsview in 1994.

The Avenue Road Detachment closed on 30 June 1994. The Marshall McLuhan Catholic Secondary School, opened in 1998, currently occupies the former administrative building, extensively renovated and expanded, one of only two buildings that remain. The other, a pre-WWII building, has been converted into condominiums.

The only indicators to the property’s past is an old section of fence on the eastern edge of the property that still has a “DND – Do Not Trespass” sign; a sign that is almost completely hidden behind a new wooden fence separating the former detachment and a private residence.

As an interesting historical note, the nosecone section of Avro Arrow RL-206, currently on display at the National Aviation Museum, was given to the RCAF Institute of Aviation Medicine for their use in flight pressurization testing.  Although popular belief is that it was smuggled out of the Avro facilities, it was in fact donated to the RCAF institute under orders from the Department of Defence Production, with approval of the Minister of National Defence Minister George R. Pearkes, V.C. This is contrary to a letter written by Wing Commander Roy Stubbs, Commanding Officer of the Flying Personnel Medical Establishment, which indicated that some members of the RCAF had secretly hidden the nosecone section at the Avenue Road Detachment.

Source Material: DND Press release from August 1988, the Toronto Military Family Resource Centre web site – http://www.pathcom.com/~tmfrc/, 8 Wing Trenton’s web site –

http://www.8wing.trenton.dnd.ca/archives/news110897.htm, “The Downsview Family Tree. – A Historical Summary of the Downsview Lands” by Wayne Kelly (1998), the personal recollections of the author (1999 & 2004), information provided by the Western Canada Aviation Museum (2003), “Storms of Contraversy” by Palmiro Campagna & “The Garrison” newspaper from March 1995.


Canadian Forces Base Ottawa (North):

Originally established as a the Rockcliffe Air Station for the new Canadian Air Force in 1919 on the shores of the Ottawa River, the same grounds as a former Army rifle range and training camp that had existed since 1898.

The small airfield, east of the village of Rockcliffe, was home to No. 3 Operations Squadron and an aerial photographic survey unit, later re-named No. 7 General Purpose Squadron, who conducted the first experiments in aerial photography. Rockcliffe was also the only aircraft facility in Canada at the time that housed both land and sea-borne aircraft and was one of six stations for the new Canadian Air Force.

By 1928, Rockcliffe also featured a pigeon loft, the largest of 8 such sites across Canada for the purpose of housing and training homing pigeons for use by RCAF aircrews. Defence Department cutbacks in the 1930’s resulted in the elimination of all pigeon lofts except the ones at RCAF Stations Jericho Beach and Dartmouth.

In 1930 the RCAF Test Flight was formed at Rockcliffe, but sadly two years later, on 12 March 1932, the Test Flight saw its first casualty when Colonel William Barker, V.C., co-founder of Bishop-Barker Airplanes Limited, was killed in a test flight accident.

Also during the 1930s, permanent married quarters and an aircraft hangar (hangar #1) were constructed, as was the “White House”, the home of the RCAF Photographic Establishment. The large white building was originally built beside the airfield as a Depression make-work project, eventually becoming a landmark at Rockcliffe.

In October 1939, the Canadian Army established a signals intelligent station at Rockcliffe.  Initially 3 Royal Canadian Signals operators ran the section in the basement of the Army HQ Radio Station on the east side of the property, reporting directly to the Directorate of Signals office.

Also in 1939, the National Research Council established a campus at the east end of the Rockcliffe property.

Early in 1941, the signals unit moved into a building vacated by the Signals Inspection and Test Department at Rockcliffe. This structure, originally a garage, became known as the Royal Canadian Signals Experimental Station.

The station was renamed  No.1 Special Wireless Station Rockcliffe and had a complement of 22 military radio operators and two civilian technicians. The station eventually outgrew their facilities and in 1942, moved to a new site near Leitrim, where they remain today.  Today, Leitrim’s most recent and most important mission is the interception of satellite communications.

After going through several name changes, (RCAF Unit Ottawa, RCAF Technical Depot Stores), the station had was re-named Royal Canadian Air Force Station Ottawa in 1936. This name change would be short lived as the station was again re-named RCAF Station Rockclifffe in 1940. Some of the station’s other units at this time consisted of No. 7 General Purpose Squadron, Air Transport Command, No. 124 Communications Squadron and the newly opened RCAF Hospital.

With the outbreak of World War II, activity greatly increased at RCAF Station Rockcliffe. Three additional wooden hangars were built for the numerous squadrons now based at the station, and The RCAF Women’s Division Manning Depot relocated to Rockcliffe from Toronto in 1943.

In 1940 the RCAF Test and Development Establishment was formed to replace the RCAF Test Flight and in 1943 the Heavy Transport Squadron was formed at Rockcliffe to deliver mail and other supplies using converted B-17 bombers.

Post-war, RCAF Station would remain a very important base of operations. In 1945, the RCAF’s first jet fighter, a Gloster Meteor F-111, was test-flown at Rockcliffe. No. 408 (Photo) Squadron, later re-named 408 Tactical Fighter Squadron, re-formed at RCAF Station Rockclifffe in January 1949, and remained until it moved to RCAF Station Rivers in 1964.

In 1950, Rockcliffe gained a school when the Air Photo Interpretation Centre (APIC) was formed, but lost one when the RCAF School of Photography re-located to RCAF Station Camp Borden the same year. By 1960, APIC merged with the Joint Air Photo Interpretation School from RCAF Station Rivers and the centre became fully responsible for training photo-interpreters. No. 22 (Photographic) Wing was also based at Rockcliffe briefly from 15 December 1953 to 1 April 1957.

412 (Transport) Squadron, who have the distinction of being the first users in the world of jet passenger liners on scheduled transatlantic flights, also made Rockcliffe its home until it moved to RCAF Station Uplands on 1 September 1955. The Central Experimental and Proving Establishment, formed in 1951 to replace the RCAF Test and Development Establishment, also moved to Uplands in 1957.

Rockcliffe also had the role of providing administrative and logistical support to the RCAF’s Ottawa area units and squadrons. The headquarters of No. 9 (Transport) Group was formed here in February 1945. Re-named Air Transport Command in April 1948, the headquarters remained until moving to RCAF Station Lachine in August 1951. Air Material Command Headquarters was also located at Rockcliffe from April 1949 until August 1965.

In 1961, the RCAF Hospital closed and was replaced by the National Defence Medical Centre, located outside downtown Ottawa.

The predecessor of the current of the National Aviation Museum, originally opened at RCAF Station Uplands in October 1960, moved to Rockcliffe in 1965 where it remains today.

Military flying ended at Rockcliffe in 1964, leaving behind a legacy of more than 40 years as a military flying station. While RCAF Station Rockcliffe was now solely an administrative base, the airfield remained in use by the Rockcliffe Flying Club. The collection of historic military aircraft at Rockcliffe moved into the hangers on the south end of the airfield in 1965.

As a result of the Unification in 1968, the station was re-named CFB Rockcliffe, but this was changed on 2 October 1972 when it was merged with CFB Uplands. Rockcliffe was designated CFB Ottawa (North) and the former RCAF Station Uplands in the south end of Ottawa, was re-designated CFB Ottawa (South).

The 1970s saw a civilian regional passenger carrier operate briefly from the Rockcliffe airfield. Air Transit ran an Ottawa to Montreal flight service from 1974-1976, making it the only commercial passenger air service to have operated at Rockcliffe.

From 1970 -1983, Parliament Hill’s Ceremonial Guard used Hangar #1 as their headquarters and drill practice area.

Department of National Defence cutbacks in the early 1990s saw many bases across Canada close or downsize and even though Rockcliffe was in the Nation’s capital, it was not spared a similar fate. As a result, Rockcliffe closed in 1994.

In it’s heyday, Rockcliffe had as many as 16 Air Force squadrons at any one time, more than any other Air Station in Canada.

Over the next decade, units were re-located to other parts of Ottawa and most of the former RCAF buildings were torn down. By the summer of 2009, the Canadian Forces had completely departed from Rockcliffe and all the PMQs vacated, although they remain boarded up for potential future use.

On 13 October 2009, the roads leading into CFB Rockcliffe were permanently closed off to allow decontamination work to commence.  The land had been sold to the Canada Lands Corporation for re-development in 2006.

In 2011, an outstanding aboriginal land claim against the Rockcliffe lands was settled, allowing for the re-development of the property; project called Rockcliffe Landing, a community of between 10,000 and 15,000 people.  Billed as a showcase community for 21st-century urban life, the proposal features eight distinct neighbourhoods made up of stores, offices and 4,500 to 6,000 houses and apartments. Land has been set aside for a museum or a federal institution.

All air force buildings and houses were torn down, leaving behind just the empty roadways.

All that remains of Rockcliffe’s military past is the east side of the former station, now the National Research Council campus.  The building once occupied by E Squadron of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (until 1970) remains, with the Royal Canadian Corps of signals emblem in stone still standing watch over the south doorway.

The airfield is presently and will continue to be operated as Rockcliffe Airport by the Rockcliffe Flying Club. The Canada Aviation Museum is located on the old flight line with the airport also being used for delivering aircraft to the museum’s collection.

Source Material: DND Press Releases from May 1987 & June 1989, “Sentinel” Magazine from April 1970, pg **, & Summer 1971 & May 1974, pgs 12 – 15, information supplied by Renald Fortier, Curator, Aviation History, National Aviation Museum, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 8 Wing Trenton News Archive – www.8wing.trenton.dnd.ca/archives/news110897.htm, Terry Martin’s “CFB OTTAWA-UPLANDS” web page – www.totavia.com/terry/cyow/uplands, “Farewell To Rockcliffe” by Buzz Bourdon, Airforce Magazine, Fall 2004, 412 (Transport) Squadron web site – http://www.airforce.forces.ca/8wing/squadron/412hist_e.asp, “CFB Rockcliffe development back in planning stage”, The Ottawa Citizen, 11 June 2012 – http://www.canada.com/business/Rockcliffe+development+back+planning+stage/6758304/story.html, 450 Squadron web page www.totavia.com/terry/cyow/uplands/450sqn.htm, Jerry Proc’s web site – www.jproc.ca & the personal recollections of the author (1998 – 2014).


 

446 Surface-to-Air Missile Squadron:

With the introduction of the BOMARC missile to Canada, North Bay was selected as one of the two sites in Canada missile base.  A small property was selected north of RCAF Station North Bay on Highway 11, the site of a former RCAF radio station.

In December 1961, 446 Surface-to-Air Missile Squadron was formed as the host unit responsible for the missiles and missile station.  By October 1962, the BOMARC missiles were delivered and held in 28 storage units known as “coffins”.  The “coffins’ had a retractable roof that allowed the missile, which was stored in a horizontal position, to be elevated to the upright position for launch.

The Bomarc Missile Program was highly controversial in Canada. The Progressive Conservative government of Prime Minister John Diefenbaker had agreed to deploy the missiles, canceling the Avro Arrow program in a controversial move, without knowing if the missiles would be equipped with nuclear warheads.  By 1960, a decision was made by the American government that the missiles would indeed have nuclear warheads, a move the Diefenbaker government decided against, leading to an internal dispute, one that split the Diefenbaker Cabinet, and ultimately led to the collapse of the government in 1963. The Opposition Liberal Party argued in favour of accepting nuclear warheads and, after winning the 1963 election, the new Liberal government of Lester Pearson proceeded to accept nuclear-armed Bomarcs, with the first being deployed on 31 December 1963.

When Pierre Trudeau replaced Pearson as Prime Minister in 1968, he cancelled the nuclear warhead program and sent them back to the United States.

Shortly afterwards the American government admitted that the BOMARC missile was ineffective against other missiles and of limited value in other capacities.  The program was cancelled and by 1969, the deactivation of BOMARC missile sites began.

In May 1972, the last nuclear warhead left the North Bay station and by September 1972, 446 SAM Squadron disbanded.

Today the property remains much the same today.  The former “coffins” are now rented out as self-storage buildings.  The property is known as Bomarc Site Storage.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak & the personal recollections of the author (2012).


Royal Flying Corps Camp Leaside:
(Royal Canadian Air Force Station Leaside)

Opened in early 1917 by the Royal Flying Coprs, one of three in the Toronto area, for training of pilots, mechanics and maintenance crews, as well as the School of Artillery Cooperation.

Located on 220 acres of land between the present Wicksteed and Eglinton Avenues, the aerodrome featured nine hangars, instructional and repair buildings, a mess hall and a hospital building. Student pilots received instruction on the basics of flight, aerial reconnaissance and aerial combat.

After the war, Leaside continued to operate as a private aerodrome, although the property was downsized to about 160 acres with the extension of Laird Drive north of McRae Drive, resulting in the demolition of most of the RFC buildings. Only four hangars were left standing on the south side of the original site.

The newly formed Toronto Flying Club purchased the aerodrome in 1928, making it the first flying club in Canada to have their own aerodrome.

A small clubhouse was built, along with a canteen, an Imperial Oil office and fuel supply for use by club pilots.

The club had a brief stay at Leaside as the aerodrome closed in 1931.

Leaside also has the distinction of being the final destination for the first air-mail flight in Canada on 24 June 1918, with a flight originating in Montreal. It would emerge years later that this flight also has the dubious distinction of being the first time liquor was smuggled aboard an aircraft in Ontario.

At the time, Ontario was under prohibition and the sale of liquor was banned.  At the time, Canadian pilot Brian Peck was serving with the Royal Air Force at Leaside (he later earned the distinction of being the first Canadian to successfully parachute from a plane in Canada in 1919).  He formulated a scheme to get a free flight from Toronto to Montreal and back to visit his family, by organizing ariel demonstration in an airshow in Montreal using his Curtis JN-4 (Jenny) aeroplane.

Peck managed to convince the managers of the Leaside Aerodrome that it could be a valuable publicity flight for the recruitment of pilots into the Royal Flying Corps Canada.

While in Montreal, George Lighthall and Edmund Greenwood of the Aerial League of the British Empire, arranged for the airmail delivery.  What few knew at the time, Peck had also made plans prior to leaving Ontario to transport some additional “cargo” on his return journey. The aeroplane was crammed with so many cases of Old Mill scotch that Peck was only able to keep it about 40 feet in the air.  Peck’s mechanic, Corporal C.W. Mathers, was forced to sit atop some of the cases, intended to be used in a wedding celebration for a certain stores lieutenant at the Leaside Aerodrome.

 

Adding to the weight issues Peck faced, a strong wind caused the aeroplane to burn more fuel than usual and he had to make an unscheduled stop to refuel (first in Kingston, then Deseronto as Kingston had the wrong kind of fuel).  The “history-making” flight was so hastily arranged that even Toronto Postmaster William Lemon, was not made aware of the flight until the plane had landed at Leaside.

A heritage plaque commemorating this historic flight can be found at the southeast corner of Brentcliffe Road and Broadway Avenue.

The RCAF acquired the former aerodrome for use as a No. 1 Radio Direction Finding School, Royal Canadian Air Force Station Leaside, from 1942 to 1944.

Nothing remains of the aerodrome today, the last hangar having been demolished in 1971. The Leaside Business Park and a housing Development currently occupy the site of the former aerodrome.

Along with the plaque, the only other reminder left of the Leaside Aerodrome is Aerodrome Crescent, southeast of Eglinton Avenue and Laird Drive.

Source Material: the Lost Rivers web site – http://www.lostrivers.ca/points/air.htm, the National Archives of Canada – http://www.archives.ca/05/0518/05180203/0518020303_e.html, information provided by Jane Pitfield, Councillor, City of Toronto (2005), the Leaside Business Park Association – http://www.leasidebusinesspark.com, Esprit de Corps magazine, April 2012, https://www.insidetoronto.com/news-story/2536566-leaside-100-aerodrome-was-site-of-canada-s-first-air-mail-flight, & the personal recollections of the author (2004 & 2015).


Royal Flying Corps Camp Long Branch:

No. 21 Non-Permanent Active Militia Training Centre:

A-25 Small Arms Training Centre (Eastern Canada) / Small Arms Limited Long Branch Arsenal:

The Long Branch Aerodrome has the distinction of being the first Aerodrome in Canada and home to the first commercial flying training school. The aerodrome was situated on a 100 acre property in Toronto Township (now Mississauga), bounded by the current day streets of Ogden Road, Lakeshore Road and Cawthra Roads.

This property had previously been occupied by the Long Branch Rifle Ranges, a range established in 1891 by the Federal Government and the Ontario Rifle Association, for target practice by the Queen’s York Rangers and various militia regiments.

The aerodrome was opened on 20 May 1915 and operated by Curtiss Aeroplanes and Motors Company for the Royal Flying Corps. Aircraft such as the Curtiss JN-4 soon became a common sight at the airfield, which included 3 aircraft hangars.

Canadian students paid their own way to receive initial instruction at the flying on Curtiss “F” Model flying boats at Hanlan’s Point on the Toronto Islands and then on JN-3 land planes at the Long Branch aerodrome. On obtaining a pilots licence, students were eligible to receive a flying post with the RNAS and later the Royal Flying Corp and have part of their tuition reimbursed. The first two students graduated on 11 July 1915.

In January 1917, the newly designated Royal Flying Corps, Canada, the forerunner to the Royal Canadian Air Force, opened the RFC Training Centre at Long Branch. The Long Branch training centre also provided instruction on flying boats at nearby Hanlan’s Point in Toronto Harbour, the first seaplane base in Canada.

By July 1917, the flight school re-located to the Armour Heights Aerodrome. Long Branch became the Cadet Ground Training School for the Royal Flying Corps. Both the school and the aerodrome closed in 1919.

Not the slightest trace remains of the aerodrome today.

In June 1940, Small Arms Limited, a crown corporation, was founded under orders of the Ordnance Branch of the Department of National Defence, who authorized the construction of the factory for production of small arms rifles. The factory was built on the east end of the former Long Branch Aerodrome property. The factory produced British-pattern small arms such as the Lee-Enfield and Sten sub machine-gun.

In October 1940, No. 21 Non-Permanent Active Militia Training Centre was established, remaining until March 1941, when A-25 Canadian Small Arms Training Centre (Eastern Canada) was formed in its place. The Army camp served not only as a training centre for soldiers, but as a proving establishment for firearms manufactured by Small Arms Limited.

Small Arms Limited was shut down in December 1945 and production was taken over by Canadian Arsenals Limited, with the facility being re-designated as the Small Arms Division of C.A.L.

 

The name of the camp was changed to S-3 Canadian Small Arms Training Centre (Eastern Canada) in November 1942 until closing in October 1945. The 2nd Infantry Training Battalion took over the camp until closing in May 1946.  The firing ranges remained in use by the militia units in the Toronto area, along with the RCN, RCAF, RCMP, OPP and the range’s original occupant, the Ontario Rifle Association.

By 1955, the urbanization of Toronto Township, which included Long Branch, was starting to cause problems for the continued use of the firing ranges, which was seeing as many 9000 persons per year at the range.  Bowing to public pressure, DND moved their range facilities to Camp Borden not long afterwards.  The other occupants found other ranges facilities and the Long Branch Range closed in 1957.

Canadian Arsenals factory continued operations until it was closed 30 June 1976.

Ontario Power Generation established the Lakeview Generating Station on the former aerodrome property in 1962. The generation station quickly became a landmark due to its four smokestacks, dubbed “The Four Sisters”, due to the station’s eight boilers being paired, with a common stack for each pair, thus four stacks or “sisters”. These smokestacks, each rising 493 feet, served as navigation aids for boaters sailing along Lake Ontario.

In September 1969, a plaque was erected at the site to commemorate Canada’s first Aerodrome.

The Lakeview Drill Hall was established in the administration building in 1968, housing 2824 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps, also known as “The Cadet Organization Police School, Cadet Corps”.

The administration building also served as Ontario Power Generation’s (OPG) Training and Development Centre.

The remaining buildings were taken over by Canada Post for use as a distribution centre.

The former factory lands, known as the “Arsenal Lands”, and the administration building were purchased by the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in 1991 (who continued to lease the facilities to Canada Post and OPG).

The Canada Post facility remained in operation until closing in the mid 1990s. The OPG facility closed in 2005 when the Lakeview Generating Station was shut down. The generation station was demolished in 2007 and the property is now vacant.

The remainder of the aerodrome property contains various manufacturing plants, passive parks and walking trails and the Lakeview Water Treatment Plant.

Future plans call for the “Arsenal Lands” to be re-developed as part of Marie Curtis Park West.

The administration building, the sole remaining building from the Small Arms factory and army camp, now sits vacant. The re-development plans thus far include the building. The only other remnants of the property’s past are the concrete backstop and wooden sound baffles for the small arms range, the water tower standing in the middle of an empty field and assorted concrete remains littered around the site.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, http://www.waynecook.com/apeel.html – Historic Plaques of Peel, information provided by Eric Gibson, The Mississauga Heritage Foundation (2004), information provided by Paul Chomik, Toronto – Lakeshore Historian (2012), the personal recollections of Tim Baetz, resident of Midland area (2004), “History of Canadian Airports” by T. M. McGrath, Ontario Power Generation web site – www.opg.com/ops/lakeviewfinal.pdf, information provided by the Canadian Air & Space Museum (2015), Ontario Rifle Association web site – http://www.ontariorifleassociation.ca/node/10, “Firing ranges may be moved to Camp Borden”, Barrie Examiner, 7 February 1955 & the personal recollections of the author (2004 & 2015).


 

Royal Flying Corps Camp Beamsville:

Opened in early 1918 on a 282 acre property by the Royal Flying Corps as the home of the School of Aerial Fighting and the School of Aerial Gunnery.

The aerodrome consisted of 60 buildings, including 9 hangars for it’s fleet of aircraft.

Both schools closed in March 1919, having trained 1200 pilots.  Fourteen pilots lost their lives in training accidents.

The aerodrome continued to be used as a civilian airfield through to the 1930s.

In 1942, the RCAF considered re-activating the Beamsville aerodrome as a Relief Landing Field for No. 9 EFTS at St. Chatharines, but this never came to be.

All that remains of the former aerodrome is one hangar, slightly modified with new siding and a small addition, along with and one administrative building, both now occupied by Global Horticultural Inc.

Source Material: “History of Canadian Airports” by T. M. McGrath, information supplied by Global Horticultural Inc. – http://www.globalhort.com (2005) & the personal recollections of the author (2005).


 

Royal Flying Corps Camp Rathbun:

Royal Flying Corps camp opened during WWI. One partial hangar remains today, converted into a private residence.

Source Material: “History of Canadian Airports” by T. M. McGrath.


 

Royal Canadian Air Force Station Hamilton:

Opened west of Mount Hope on 9 June 1941 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan as the home to two schools: No. 33 Air Navigation School, which trained air navigators, air gunners and telegraphers, and No. 10 Service Flying Training School.

No. 10 SFTS re-located to Pendleton in 1942, while No. 33 ANS continued operations until it closed on 6 October 1944.

No. 4 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit in Brantford established a Detachment at the aerodrome in 1945, but it closed in 1946.

With the end of the war, activity at the station was greatly reduced and most of the RCAF Squadrons re-located elsewhere. However, RCAF Station Hamilton was to play an important role in the post-war RCAF.

424 (Light Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary), remained and the Hamilton Aero Club took up residence in several vacant buildings. The Royal Canadian Naval Reserve’s No. 1 Training Air Group began flying training at RCAF Station Hamilton in 1949 for members of HMCS STAR’s Air Arm. No. 16 Wing (Auxiliary) was formed to serve as the parent unit for the Hamilton area RCAF Auxiliary squadrons.

On 1 October 1950, the RCAF established No. 2424 Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron (Auxiliary) to train reserve personnel for duties at Pinetree Line radar stations, with a Detachment at the James Street Armoury in downtown Hamilton. A year later, control of No. 2424 AC & W Squadron fell under Air Defence Command. Slowly, however, RCAF Station Hamilton was being converted to civilian use. By the mid 1950s, two thirds of the air traffic at the airfield was civilian.

In the early to mid 1960s, a reorganization and consolidation occurred within the Canadian Military. Several Army, Navy and RCAF bases were either downsized, merged or closed. As a result, RCAF Station Hamilton closed in 1964. No. 16 Wing and No. 2424 AC & W Squadron disbanded. Today, 16 Wing Borden carries on its predecessor’s traditions.

For many years afterwards, the airport was known as the Mount Hope Airport. Today, as the John C. Munro Hamilton International Airport, it is a premier centre for passenger and cargo air traffic. Some of the tenants at the airport are the Piper Flite Centre, the Hamilton Flying club, Glandford Aviation and WestJet.

All that remains besides the airfield are the World War II era hangars.  The sole remaining H-hut, formerly occupied by 447 Wing, Royal Canadian Air Force Association, was torn down in 2009.

Anyone who served at the old school would hardly even recognize the place. The airport’s military heritage is kept alive by the Hamilton International Air Show each year and by the presence of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum (www.warplane.com).

Source Material: The Hamilton Airport web site – http://www.hamiltonairport.com/index.shtml, “HMCS STAR – A Naval Reserve History” by Commander Robert J. Williamson, CD, Commanding Officer, HMCS STAR – 1985-1988, the personal recollections of the author (1998),  “Report:  City should not buy building for 447 Wing – Hamilton Spectator, 31 August 2015 & “Wings For Victory” – The Story of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada, by Spencer Dunmore.


Royal Canadian Air Force Station London:

Originally opened at the Crumlin Airport on 24 June 1940 as the home of No. 3 Elementary Flying Training School and No. 4 Air Observer School of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The expansion of No. 4 AOS necessitated the closing of No. 3 EFTS on 3 July 1942.

By the time No. 4 AOS closed in December 1944, 4439 students had graduated from the school.

RCAF Station Crumlin would remain open after WWII, eventually becoming part of the post-war RCAF.  The station was re-named RCAF Station London.

Several RCAF Auxiliary would be formed at RCAF Station Crumlin, including 420 (Fighter) Squadron of the RCAF Auxiliary, in September 1948 (remaining until disbanding in September 1956), 22 Wing (Auxiliary) and 2420 AC&WS, both in 1956, as well as 4004 Medical Unit and 3049 Technical Training Unit of the RCAF Auxiliary.

RCAF Station London would also become the home of the Officers Selection Centre, the NATO Training & Induction School (in 1950) and No. 1 Officers School (in 1951). The NATO school re-located to RCAF Station Centralia in 1954.

On 1 July 1956, Air Defense Command re-formed 2420 Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron (Auxiliary) to train Fighter Control Operators.

With the introduction of the SAGE system at radar stations, all Auxiliary Aircraft Warning & Control Squadrons were disbanded by the end of 1961 as Auxiliary squadrons were only trained on the manual tracking systems and the RCAF elected not to upgrade them to the SAGE system.

Decreasing requirements for pilot training lead to the closure of RCAF Station London closed in 1958.

The former station is now the London International Airport.  All that remains from the RCAF days is the former Airman’s’ Canteen, now occupied by 427 (London) Wing, Royal Canadian Air Force Association of Canada and another small building, now occupied by the Royal Canadian Naval Association – London Branch.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, “History of Canadian Airports” by T. M. McGrath, 427 (London) Wing RCAFA web site –  www.427wing.com & the personal recollections of the author (2001 – 2015).

 


Royal Canadian Air Force Station Centralia:

Originally opened in July 1942 when No. 9 Service Flying Training School re-located from Summerside, PEI. Relief Landing Fields were constructed at Grand Bend and St. Joseph. The school closed 30 March 1945.

No. 1 Aircrew Conditioning Unit (ACU) was established at the aerodrome to train service personnel for operations in the war’s Pacific theatre. When No. 1 ACU was closed after the war, the RCAF formed No. 1 Flying Training School (No. 1 FTS) which used Ansons and Harvards. The first, and last flying course was in January 1946, followed by the closure of the station.

RCAF Station Centralia was reactivated in January 1947 to provide accommodation and training facilities for No. 1 Radar and Communications School (No. 1 R&CS) that was based in nearby RCAF Station Clinton. No. 1 Instrument Flying School (IFS) was relocated to Centralia from RCAF Station Trenton in the spring of 1947. This school gave students an opportunity to obtain their instrument rating qualifications. on the Expeditor aircraft. In 1956, No. 1 IFS moved to RCAF Station Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

Also reactivated in 1847 was No. 1 Flying Training School (FTS). Student pilots the Harvards aircraft. No. 1 FTS was one of Canada’s contributions to the training of foreign airmen for a new multinational force. In March 1957, No. 1 FTS merged with the Advanced Flying School at Saskatoon.

In April 1948, the RCAF’s School of Flying Control was formed at Centralia. The school trained Flying Control Officers and Aircraft Control Assistants for deployment in control towers and operations rooms in RCAF stations. Training was undertaken at Centralia’s Grand Bend Detachment from 1951-1957.

In May, a flying detachment for No. 1 Radar and Communications School (No. 1 R&CS) based at RCAF Station Clinton was established.

Centralia was actively involved with the NATO Air Training Plan. The NATO Training & Induction School, originally located at RCAF Station London, re-located to RCAF Station Centralia in 1954. The school’s purpose was to inform personnel about various aspects of working with NATO.

In October 1954, the Pre-Flight School was formed at Centralia. This school provided ground instruction to students before they began flight training. In 1956, Centralia began hosting the Primary Flying Training School using the Chipmunk. Graduate pilots were sent to western Canada for more advanced training on Harvards.

No.2 Personnel Selection Unit (PSU), which was responsible for officer selection for air crew, moved to Centralia after the closure of RCAF Station London in 1958.

In the early to mid 1960s, a reorganization and consolidation occurred within the Canadian Military. Several Army, Navy and RCAF bases were either downsized, merged or closed. As a result, RCAF Station Centralia closed again on 31 March 1967, but this time for good.

Most of the former station remains as it was the day it closed and now known as the Huron Industrial Park. The airfield remains in use as the Centralia Airport. The Royal Canadian Air Cadets Central Region Gliding School operates one of eight summer Regional Gliding Centre at the airport.

Centalia College of Agricultural Technology occupied  the former Officers’ Mess, along with a new adjoining barracks constructed in 1980, from 1967 and closed in 1994. The mess and barracks were then used as the Centralia International Training and Conference Centre, but by 2012, the buildings were empty and up for sale.

2923 Middlesex-Huron Army Cadet Corps was formed at Huron Park in 1974 and conducted their weekly training in the former Recreation Centre.  The corps now trains at the Legion Branch in Exeter.

On the weekend of 5-7 June 1992, a monument was dedicated the men and women who served at the both the war-time school and RCAF Station Centralia by the Royal Canadian Legion Branch #167.

United Goderich Inc. has owned and occupied the airport since 1997. In 2009, Ben Lobb, Member of Parliament for Huron-Bruce, today announced the creation of an aerospace manufacturing training facility at the Huron Park Airport in the Municipality of South Huron.

RCAF Detachment St. Joseph closed after the war and no longer exists.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, the Grand Bend Motorplex web page – http://www.grandbendmotorplex.com, Bel Lobb web site – www.benlobb.com/riding_news/government_of_canada_invests_in_south_huron_to_stimulate_local_economy, the personal recollections of the author (1997 – 2012),  & “The Canada Flight Supplement 1999”.


 

Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Grand Bend:

Opened in 1942 as a Relief Landing Fields for No. 9 Service Flying Training School at RCAF Station Centralia.

RCAF Detachment Grand Bend remained open after World War II as Centralia’s relief field. With the reformation of the Flying Control Branch in early 1951, RCAF Detachment Grand Bend also served as the home to No. 1 Flying Control School from 1951-1957.

In 1961, the Detachment was briefly handed to the Canadian Army for their use, but by 1962, it was back in RCAF hands. RCAF Detachment Grand Bend closed in 1963.

Today, very little remains from the RCAF Days. The Grand Bend Motorplex uses two of the three runways as a drag racing track. The third runway operates as the Grand Bend Airport, utilized by the Grand Bend Sport Parachuting Center. The hangar, with the control tower perched on top remains, now occupied by P.O.G. Incorporated, along with the former MSE building and 2 other small buildings.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, the Grand Bend Motorplex web page – http://www.grandbendmotorplex.com, the personal recollections of the author (2001 & 2016), Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RCAF_Detachment_Grand_Bend, Air Traffic Control web site – http://www.rcaf-atc.org & “The Canada Flight Supplement 1999”.


Canadian Forces Base Clinton:

Established by the Royal Air Force in 1941, as the home to the No. 31 Radio Direction Finding School (No. 31 RDF), a part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. As RADAR was a strictly guarded secret at that time, RCAF Station Clinton was listed as a communication training facility.

In July 1943, No. 31 RDF closed and No. 5 Radio School was formed in its place by the Royal Canadian Air Force. The station was re-named RCAF Station Clinton.  No. 1 Radio School re-located to Clinton from their facility in Scarborough in March 1944.

In June 1944, No 5 Radio School was transferred to the RCAF’s Home War Operations Training command.

RCAF Station Clinton remained open at the end of the Second World War, becoming part of the post-war RCAF. In November 1945, Clinton became home to the No. 1 Radar and Communications School (No. 1 R&CS), which maintained a detachment at nearby RCAF Station Centralia.  Permanent Married Quarters were added for the families of station personnel.

RCAF Station Clinton was also home to other units, including No. 12 Examination Unit, No. 1 Air Radio Officer School, School of Food Services, and the Aerospace Engineering Officer School.

As a result of the Unification of 1968, RCAF Station Clinton was re-named Canadian Forces Base Clinton.  However, more change was in the wind.  In the early to mid 1960s, a reorganization and consolidation was begun within the Canadian Military. Several Army, Navy and RCAF bases were either downsized, merged or closed. CFB Clinton was one that was one of the bases marked for closure.

CFB Clinton closed on 30 August 1971. The Canadian Forces Radar and Communications School re-located to CFB Kingston.  The station’s colours were removed from the Protestant Chapel and laid up in the Wesley -Willis United Church in the Town of Clinton.

Today, the former base is known as the Village of Vanastra. Most of the base remains today.  Some of the buildings are abandoned and crumbling, but others are still in use by various companies, such as Martin Steel Company, Vanastra Packaging, Paul Davis Restoration Systems, CAP Products, Good Choice Liquidation Centre, Great Canadian Solid Wood Furniture and Ontario Hydro’s Clinton Operations Centre.

One of the old barracks has been transformed into the Vanastra Lions Apartment building, but all the other barracks were abandoned and left to crumble.  One of the barracks at the east side of the base was torn down in the mid 2000s and replaced with modern homes.  Most of the old PMQ homes are now private residences, although some have been replaced by modern homes.

Conestoga College established a satellite campus at the former Air Vice Marshal Hugh Campbell School in Summer of 1972, but this campus closed in 1986.

Of note, RCAF Station Clinton is the scene of one of the best known murder mysteries in Canadian history:  the murder of 12-year-old Lynne Harper, who disappeared on 9 June 1959.  Harper disappeared after accepting a bike ride from 14-year old Steven Truscott, a classmate in a combined grade 7/8 class at the Air Vice Marshal Hugh Campbell School at the Clinton station.  By his own admission, Truscott had given Harper a ride on his bike from the station to the area of Highway 8, just west of the station, where she reportedly was seen hitch-hiking a ride in an unknown car.  On June 11, searchers discovered her body in a nearby farm woodlot between the station and Highway 8. Harper had been raped and strangled with her own blouse.

Steven Truscott was arrested for Harper’s murder and was convicted after a very controversial trial comprised of circumstantial evidence that centred on placing Harper’s death within the narrow time frame when Truscott gave her the bike ride.

Truscott was scheduled to be hanged on 8 December 1959 but his death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment in 1960. He was released on parole on 21 October 1969 and disappeared into obscurity until 2000, when an interview on CBC Television’s The Fifth Estate revived interest in his case and Truscott emerged from the shadows to reaffirm his innocence and seek justice.

On 28 August 2007, Truscott was formally acquitted of the charges in a decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal.  However, this stopped short of Truscott’s ultimate goal of a declaration of factual innocence, which would mean that Truscott would formally be declared innocent of all charges, not merely unable to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  Ontario Attorney General Michael Bryant apologized to Truscott on behalf of the provincial government, stating they were “truly sorry” for the miscarriage of justice.

Amongst the suspects in the death of Harper was RCAF Sergeant Alexander Kalichuk, a troubled man and a heavy drinker with previous convictions for sexual offenses.  Kalichuk drank himself to death in 1975, never having been formally accused or charged in the death of Lynne Harper.

Truscott once lived in the Clinton PMQs at 2 Quebec Street.  Lynne Harper once lived on Victoria Boulevard.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, information provided by Tim Tribe, Conestoga College (2105) and the personal recollections of the author (1997- 2012).


Royal Canadian Air Force Station Aylmer:
Originally opened on 3 July 1941 as No. 14 Service Flying Training School, under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Relief Landing Fields were constructed at St. Thomas and Tillsonburg.

The Woman’s Division Service Police School was also established at Aylmer in 1942.

No. 14 SFTS re-located to Kingston in August 1944.

No. 1 Flight Engineer School was formed at the station on 1 July 1944. This school closed on 31 March 1945.

The station was re-named RCAF Station Aylmer and remained open after World War II, becoming an important and very busy part of the post-war RCAF. Aylmer served as a Technical Training Centre for support and maintenance trades, including the RCAF Technical and Engineering School (later redesignated No. 1 Technical Training School or TTS) (April 1945 – May 1955), Academic Training School (May 1949 – Oct. 1950), Composite Training School, No. 11 Examination Unit (Sept. 1951 – Nov. 1952), the Aeronautical Engineering School (June 1952 – Nov. 1953), the RCAF Ground Control Approach School (1953 – 1957), the RCAF Fire-Fighting School (1951 – 1961) and the Support Services School (1960).

No. 2 Manning Depot and No. 1 Personnel Selection Unit (PSU) were located at Aylmer from 1949 – 1950.

RCAF Station Aylmer closed in 1961. The former station was taken over the following year by the Ontario Government, who established the Ontario Police College at the site.

Most of the buildings remained in use by staff and police recruits until the 1970s, when a new multi-use building was constructed.

Today, all that remains of the former RCAF Station Aylmer are 2 hangars, one re-sided in metal and the other bricked over. The outline of the abandoned runways remains, with small chunks of severely deteriorated asphalt remaining. Only the taxi area of the airfield remains completely intact and is now used as part of the police vehicle driver training track. A memorial sits at the main entrance to the college as a tribute to the airmen and airwomen who served at No. 14 SFTS and RCAF Station Aylmer.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak & the personal recollections of the author (2000-2010).

 


 

Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Tillsonburg:

Opened as a Relief Landing Field for No. 14 SFTS at Aylmer, the aerodrome had three 2,600 ft. grass runways in a standard triangular pattern. The aerodrome also served as a Radio Navigation Training School. The end of World War II saw the closure of many RCAF stations, but RCAF Detachment Tillsonburg would remain open until 1948, when the RCAF finally withdrew.

From 1949 until 1973, Hicks & Lawrence Limited, run by Merv Hicks and Tom Lawrence, operated a flying school, aerial spraying and agricultural operation from the airport. In 1973, the Town of Tillsonburg took control of the Airport. All of the RCAF buildings were torn down. The Town paved the primary runway, built a terminal building, aircraft hangars and fuel facilities. Three additional hangars were added in the early 1980s

One prominent tenant at the Tillsonburg Airport is the Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association, preserving the memory of this RCAF training aircraft.

Source Material: The Town of Tillsonburg web site – http://www.town.tillsonburg.on.ca/airport.asp & information provided by former Hicks & Lawrence employee Rick Lee (2004).


 

Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment St. Thomas:

Opened in 1941 as a Relief Landing Field for No. 14 SFTS at Aylmer and No. 4 Bombing & Gunnery School at Fingal. The aerodrome had such amenities as a small hospital, barracks, maintenance facilities and a small hanger.

The end of World War II saw the closure of many RCAF stations, but RCAF Detachment St. Thomas would remain open until 1948, when the RCAF finally withdrew.

The airport then became the St. Thomas Municipal Airport.  It was purchased by the City of St. Thomas in 1970.

The east-west runway (09/27) was extended from 3,000 to 5,050 ft in 1982.

Of the original war-time buildings, only the hangar remains, now covered with metal siding.  Among the tenants of the airport are the St. Thomas Flight Centre and the Central Helicopter Training Academy.

St. Thomas Airport also hosts the Great Lakes International Airshow.

Source Material: St. Thomas Flight Centre – http://www.learntofly.on.ca/CYQSAirport.htm, information provided by Dale B. Arndt, Airport Superintendent (2004) and the personal recollections of the author (2000-2010).


 

Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Carp:

Opened in 1940 as a Relief Landing Field for No. 2 SFTS at Uplands (Ottawa). The RCAF abandoned the aerodrome in 1945.

In May 1946, the former station was taken over by Huntley Township and became the Carp Airport, a local commercial airport.

In 2003, a proposal was made to turn the Carp Airport into a multimillion-dollar industrial park with a nearby residential flying community. Also in 2003, the Carp Airport was used as the training grounds for the RCMP’s new Sky Marshall Service.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, the Ottawa Business Journal web site – http://www.ottawabusinessjournal.com/302779236314434.php, “History of Canadian Airports” by T.M. McGrath & the personal recollections of the author (2000).


 

Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Edwards:

Opened in 1940 as a Relief Landing Field for No. 2 SFTS at Uplands (Ottawa). The aerodrome closed in 1945 and no longer exists today.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.

 


 

Edenvale Transmitter Station:

(Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Edenvale)

Opened in October 1941 on Lots 13, 14 & 15, Concession 10 in Sunnidale Township as the No. 1 Relief Landing Field for No. 1 Service Flying Training School at RCAF Station Camp Borden, a part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. RCAF Detachment Edenvale consisted of three 3000 ft asphalt runways and a total of 12 buildings including a single hangar and barracks, airmen’s mess and administration building.

Edenvale had its first recorded landing on 8 August 1941, even before the Detachment was fully operational.

Due to construction at No. 1 SFTS at Camp Borden, No. 2 Squadron of the SFTS had to find new accommodations, so they were sent to Edenvale. Soon the sound of Harvards buzzed through the air.

The Detachment was also the site of the Advanced Tactical Training Unit, a sub-unit of No. 1 SFTS, which conducted bombing training. Students spent 3 weeks at the ATU, living in the original farmhouse on the property, while the instructors stayed in the barracks.

Training at Edenvale ceased in February 1945, although a small caretaker staff remained behind. The last recorded flying operation at Edenvale was an accident at the field on 9 August 1945. Edenvale was formally closed 10 September 1945.

Some RCAF airfields became, or reverted to municipal airports, like the Oshawa Airport, the Kingston Airport and even Pearson International Airport in Toronto. Other airfields, like RCAF Detachment Edenvale, were simply abandoned.

Several proposals for usage of the aerodrome were bounced around. RCAF Station Camp Borden indicated that they wanted to use the site for storage of flying club aircraft and the Barrie Flying Club also expressed interest in the aerodrome for club flying, but none appear to have materialized.

On 17 January 1946, Edenvale was turned over to the Department of Transport, with an agreement that the RCAF could use it as a relief field.

In 1950, the former RCAF Detachment Edenvale was sold to Summervale Farms.

Also in 1950, the site came back to life as a racetrack for sports car and motorcycle racing, organized by the Canadian Automobile Sports Club. Known at various times as the Stayner Speedway and the Edenvale Raceway, the former airfield continued in this capacity until 1959, when it was once again abandoned.

In 1962, the site was re-activated by the Canadian Army as a remote radio communications station for Camp Borden. A single level underground bunker was constructed beside one of the old runways for communications personnel, a smaller version of the Provincial Government’s Emergency Operations Centre Bunker at Borden. Personnel from Royal Canadian Corps of Signals, and post-Unification 706 Communications Squadron, staffed the facility.

The bunker was vacated in 1988 and finally closed in 1994 when once again, the property was abandoned.  By 1998, the bunker was sealed up by welding the blast doors shut and burying the entrances.

The original farmhouse on the property, located on Highway 26, also remained and operated for many years as the Sweetbriar Lodge Nursing Home.

In 2002, Toronto businessman Milan Kroupa purchased Lots 13 & 14 from the Federal Government, including the former Sweetbriar Lodge Nursing home building.  Lot 15, where the RCAF buildings, hangar and the taxiway once sat remains owned by other interests.

By 2004, the old aerodrome came back to life when Kroupa opened his newest business venture, the Edenvale Flying Club (www.edenflight.com). Initially only runway 08-26, the east-west runway, was re-opened and a new 50″ x 150″ x 14″ steel-sided hangar was built alongside.

The former Sweetbriar Lodge building was renovated and turned into administrative offices, residential apartments, classrooms for the flight school and a restaurant.

In 2006, 2 new hangars were constructed proving 40 new spaces for aircraft, with 3 additional hangars added shortly afterwards.

In 2009, a new paved 4000 foot runway opened alongside one of the original abandoned runways. A 17,000 square foot hangar was also build on the west edge of the property by the bunker beside the new runway for larger aircraft.  A third grass runway, runway 17/35, was also added.

A seventh hangar was built in 2014.  As well, a hotel and rental car service are proposed as future additions.  In 2016, construction began on 3 more hangars.

Edenvale Aerodrome is home to Lindberg Aero, Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation, Aviator Academy, Borden Flying Club and National Ultralight Dealership. The annual “Gathering of the Classics” is also held at the aerodrome.

Other than the airfield, very little remains of the former RCAF Detachment Edenvale today. The roadways and the hangar pad also remain, but all other RCAF buildings were either demolished or re-located. One wing of the H-hut barracks was moved to Duntroon and is now the Nottawasaga Community Hall.  The other wing was moved to Avening and is now the Avening Community Centre.

The hangar was moved to Collingwood and is now part of the Eddie Bush Memorial Arena and the pumping station was moved to Cannington. Nine other buildings were sold to a neighbouring farmer.

The communications bunker also remains.  The entrances were collapsed and sealed up in the late 1990s, but when the property was purchased by Milan Kroupa in 2002, the entrances were dug up and the bunker was cleaned up and restored.  It is currently empty, but Kroupa future plans are to use it for storage.

The Edenvale Radio Control Flyers Club (www.edenvaleflyers.ca) has a small turf airfield, just past the west perimetre fence for flying model aircraft.

Source Material: Edenvale Radio Control Flyers Club web site – www3.sympatico.ca/fhybrmodels, “Bunkers, Bunkers Everywhere” by Paul Ozorak, “The Barrie Examiner”, dated 9 May 1940 pgs 1 & 8, the personal recollections of Ken Copeland, CFB Borden (2001), the personal recollections of Robert Biggs, CFB Borden (2001), the personal recollections of Flying Officer Laurie Sutherland, RCAF (Ret’d) (2002), the personal recollections of the author (2000 – 2015), information supplied by Milan Kroupa, Edenvale Flying Club – www.edenflight.com (2004), the personal recollections of Burton Summerville, son of Edenvale’s first post-war property owner (2013) & the Canadian Racer web page – www.motorsportscentral.com/edenvale.asp.

 


 

Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Alliston:

Opened in July 1940 near the village of Alliston (Lots 6, 7 & 8, Concession 11, Tecumseth Twp), this small aerodrome served as the No. 2 Relief Landing Field for No. 1 SFTS at RCAF Station Camp Borden. The airfield at RCAF Detachment Alliston consisted of 3 runways in a standard triangular pattern, but unlike RCAF Detachment Edenvale, they were compressed grass runways and there were no lights for night landings.

The end of WWI RCAF Detachment Alliston was abandoned. The former aerodrome was sold and returned to its original function as farmland.

By 1960, the land had been identified as an ideal location for growing potatoes.  Ontario Potato District Allistion Incorporated established a packing, storing and distribution facility on the north-west corner of the property.

Not the slightest trace of RCAF Detachment Alliston remains today.

Source Material: “The Barrie Examiner” dated 9 May 1940 pg 1 & 8, “The Alliston Herald” 2 May 1940, the personal recollections of the author (2003-2015) & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec” by Paul Ozorak.

 


 

Leach’s Field:

In the late 1920s, the Royal Canadian Air Force approached farmer John Leach about developing an auxiliary landing strip in one of his fields, to be used in conjunction with the flying training school at RCAF Station Camp Borden. The L-shaped airstrip was pretty rudimentary. It was simply a pasture field with no actual construction going into creating it. Unlike some aerodromes that had turf runways, the “runways” at Leach’s Field utilized the existing ground surface. The airfield was essentially the farm-lane leading west from County Road 10 into the field and up to a flat strip of land that made up the north-south section of the “airfield”.

Leach’s Field was not used very often, but was essentially a practice airfield that also doubled as an emergency landing site. There were no hangars or aviation facilities of any kind. John Leach still used the field for grazing his livestock, although he was required to have the animals off the field by 8 o’clock in the morning.

Provisional Pilot Officers (pilot trainees) primarily used this airstrip for touch-and-go flying, which is where the pilot comes down as if to land and then lifts off again just prior to touching the ground. When pilots did land, they had to be careful to stay on the “runways”. One unfortunate pilot who landed at Leach’s Field in April, when the ground was still soft, found himself stuck when he steered his airplane off the “runway”. John Leach hitched up a team of horses to the airplane and pulled it out, saving the pilot the embarrassment (and possible ridicule) of having to contact a recovery crew from Camp Borden, which was the proper procedure.

During World War II, Leach’s Field was used very briefly for air gunnery target practice, with camera guns being used instead of real guns.

Although the Federal Government had taken a 90 year lease on Leach’s Field, the Royal Canadian Air Force ceased using the field sometime in the early 1950s. Today, absolutely nothing exists to indicate that the land was once used as an airfield. Even the late John Leach’s house and farm buildings are gone; replaced by modern buildings.

Source material: Wally Byers, RCAF veteran and local resident of the Alliston area (2007).


 

Canadian Forces Base Borden – Brentwood Detachment (Brentwood Receiver Site):

Opened in the early 1960s along with the bunker at Camp Borden, the site consisted of a single steel frame building and 16 receiver towers.

The site closed in early 1988.  All that remains is the radio building, eerily empty. The property is now a corn field, and any signage has been removed.

Source Material: the personal recollections of the author (2001 – 2016), the personal recollections of Ken Copeland, CFB Borden (2001) & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec” by Paul Ozorak.

 


 

No. 2 Elementary Flying Training School:

Opened in 1940 at the Fort William Municipal Airport, which itself had only opened 2 years earlier as an unemployment relief project.

The airport was also used for test flights of fighter aircraft being built at the nearby Canadian Car and Foundry plant.

The school closed in May 1944.  The airport was turned over to Canada Car and Foundry and then to the Federal Department of Transport in 1946.

The airport operated as the Canadian Lakehead Airport until the amalgamation of Fort William and Port Aurthur and two surrounding townships to create the City of Thunder Bay.

Today, the Thunder Bay International Airport is the 5th busiest airport in Ontario and the 16th busiest airport in Canada.

Source Material:  “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec” by Paul Ozorak.

 


 

No. 7 Elementary Flying Training School:

Originally opened as Walker Airport in 1928 in Windsor, by Hiram Walker, the maker of the famous Canadian Club Whiskey, the airfield was taken over by the RCAF for use as No. 7 EFTS, under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan.

The school officially opened on 22 July 1940, with a Relief Landing Field at Maidstone.  Unlike other elementary schools, No. 7 EFTS had only one hangar.  By the time  the school closed on 15 December 1944, it has graduated 1632 pilots.

The airport was transferred back to the Department of Transportation in 1945 and now operates as the Windsor International Airport.  Of the No. 7 EFTS’s 15 buildings, only the hangar remains today, now occupied by the Canadian Historical Aircraft Association.

Source Material: the personal recollections of the author (2001 & 2015) & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec” by Paul Ozorak.

 


 

No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School:

Opened near St. Catherines in October 1940 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, with a Relief Landing Field at Willoughby.  The station had all the amenities of an RCAF station including lecture halls, barracks, administrative buildings, messes, medical inspection room, a standard triangle pattern runway configuration and one hangar.

EFTS students normally came directly from Initial Training Schools and trained on Finches and in 1942, deHavilland Tiger Moths.  An increase in student pilots in 1942 lead to the construction of a second hangar, along with several other buildings.

No. 9 EFTS ceased operations in January 1944 and No. 4 Wireless School, located at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph, took over the aerodrome for use by their flying squadron.  Previously, the flying squadron had used RCAF Detachment Burtch.

The flying squadron ceased training in May 1944 and the aerodrome became a sub-unit of No. 4 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Depot.  The depot continued operations for 2 years, closing in 1946, and the RCAF left the aerodrome.

Today the aerodrome is the St. Catharines/Niagara District Airport.  All that remains besides the airfield is one of the hangars.  Runway 06-24 has been expanded to 5000 feet.  Some of the tenants of the airport are the St. Catherines Flying Club, Niagara Falls Air Tours and Allied Aviation.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak and the personal recollections of the author (2016).

 


 

No. 10 Elementary Flying Training School (Pendleton):

Originally opened at Mount Hope, the school re-located to Pendleton in 1942. A Relief Landing Field was constructed near Limoges.

Like most flying training schools, No. 10 EFTS was run by a civilian flying school, in this case, the Hamilton Flying Club. In July 1944, control of the flying school was transferred from the Hamilton Flying Club to the RCAF, making No. 10 one of the few service elementary training schools.

By early 1945, the school was exclusively training Royal Air Force pilots. No. 10 EFTS closed in September 1945.

The aerodrome was turned over to the Army as a Detachment of No. 26 Central Ordnance Depot until May 1952, when the RCAF returned and established a Detachment of No. 6 Repair Depot. The Gatineau Gliding Club, originally founded in 1942 in the Gatineau hills, north of Ottawa, moved to Pendleton airfield in 1950. An office of the National Film Board also occupied space at the aerodrome.

No. 6 Repair Depot Detachment closed in 1961 and the Gatineau Gliding Club purchased the airfield.

The original triangle-pattern runways still exist, although some are crumbling. As well, several of the original WWII buildings and the main hangar remain today.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak & the Gatineau Gliding Club web site – http://www.gatineauglidingclub.ca.

 


 

Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Limoges:

Opened in 1942 as a Relief Landing Field for the No. 10 Elementary Air Training School near Pendleton. The airfield was located on Concession 11, lots 21, 22 and 23 in Clarence Township.

Nothing remains of the aerodrome today.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada – Volume 1: Ontario” by Paul Orzorak.

 


 

No. 12 Elementary Flying Training School:

Opened on 14 October 1940 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan at the Sky Harbour Airport near Goderich to train RCAF and RAF pilots.

In the summer of 1943, the school switched to training pilots from the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm.

The school closed on 14 July 1944, having graduated around 2277 pilots.

After the closure of No. 12 EFTS, No. 102 Aircraft Holding Unit occupied the aerodrome until January 1946, when No. 6 Surplus Equipment Holding Unit was established.  The airport later reverted back to a civilian airport.

Today the airport operated as the Goderich Municipal Airport.

The Sky Harbour Gallery, located in the main terminal building, serves as a museum tracing the history of the airport from its founding in 1938 to the present day, with particular emphasis on the Second World War.

Source Material: the personal recollections of the author (2001 & 2012), “The Legacy” newsletter, published by the Huron County Museum & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec” by Paul Ozorak.


 

No. 13 Elementary Flying Training School:

Opened near St. Eugene on 28 October 1940 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, with a Relief Landing Field located at Hawksbury. The school moved to St. Jean, Quebec in 1945.

The aerodrome then became No. 502 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Satellite Depot, formed in July 1945, but this unit disbanded 3 weeks later.

All buildings were eventually removed, some moved to the Town of Alexandria, except for one maintenance shed.

The aerodrome served for a period as a civilian airport, but eventually became a fertilizer factory.

The only remnants of the former aerodrome today are the faint outline of the old runways, the crumbling hangar pads, the gunnery backstop and a lone administrative building, now used for farm storage.

The only remnants of RCAF Detachment Hawkesbury is the outline of the cross-runway.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada – Volume 1: Ontario” by Paul Orzorak, Google Maps (2012) and the personal recollections of the author (2015).


 

No. 20 Elementary Flying Training School:

Opened in June 1941 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. Student flyers used Tiger Moth aircraft and were trained by civilian instructors from the Oshawa, Kingston, and Brant-Norfolk flying clubs. A relief landing field was located at Whitby.

Unlike most schools, No. 20 EFTS had only 2 hangars.

The school closed in December 1944 after having graduated over 2000 pilots.

Today the airport is the Oshawa Municipal Airport. A passenger terminal was constructed on the north side of the airfield, leaving the former administrative and domestic area of No. 20 EFTS for general aviation and other uses.

All that remains today are 3 buildings: a stores building that was later used as the N.C.O. Mess, now occupied one occupied by 420 RCAF Association, another stores building, a work shed and a small canteen.

A small private museum, the Robert Stuart Aeronautical and Camp X Collection, was established at the Oshawa Airport  in 1977 in one of the former stores buildings.  The told the story of and housed several artifacts from Camp X.  The museum closed in 2010 and some of the Camp X artifacts were acquired by the Canadian War Museum.

Each summer, the Durham Flight Centre hosts the Air Cadet pilot training program, a 7 week training course for cadets as they work towards their Private Pilot License.

The Ontario Regiment Museum is located in a new building at the south end of the property.

The WWII-era hangars were demolished in the late 2000s.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada – Volume 1: Ontario” by Paul Orzorak, Canadian Aviator magazine – www.canadianaviator.com and the personal recollectkions of the author (2001 & 2004).

 


 

No. 2 Service Flying Training School:

See Canadian Forces Base Ottawa (South) in “Closed bases that still have a military presence“.

 


 

No. 5 Service Flying Training School:

Opened near Brantford on 11 November 1940 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan to train Air Force bomber and transport pilots, with a relief landing field at Burtch. The school closed on 3 November 1944 having graduated 2143 pilots.

No. 4 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit was established on the site in 1945, along with Detachments at Dunnville, Hamilton, Jarvis and Port Albert, to hold surplus war equipment, but it closed in 1946.

The site is now the Brantford Municipal Airport. All 6 runways original runways remain, but the inner 3 are abandoned. Runway 05-23 was lengthened to 5,036 feet.

Only three of No. 5 SFTS’s hangars remain today. All the other buildings have long since been demolished. Part of the former school is occupied by the Blue Bird Coach Lines terminal.

Source Material: the personal recollections of the author (2001 & 2004) & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.

 

 


RCAF Detachment Burtch:

Opened in 1941 near the village of Burtch as the No. 1 Relief Landing Field for No. 5 SFTS, but was also used by No. 4 Wireless School in Guelph.

The detachment was transferred under the pervue of No. 16 SFTS in 1944 until that school’s closure in March 1945.

The detachment was sold to the Ontario Government and from 1948-2003, was the site of the Burtch Jail. The site currently sits abandoned and empty. The taxiway and the outline of the runways are pretty much all that remain from the RCAF days.

In 2009, the Ontario Realty Corporation demolished all buildings and the property was turned over to the Haudenosaunee/Six Nations community.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak & personal observations of the author (2011 & 2014).

 


 

No. 6 Service Flying Training School / RCAF Detachment Dunnville:

Opened on 5 November 1940 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan near Dunnville.

No. 6 SFTS closed on 1 December 1944, having graduated over 2400 pilots.

No. 401 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Satellite, a Detachment of No. 4 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit in Brantford, was established at the aerodrome in 1945, but it closed in 1946.  A Detachment of No. 6 Repair Depot and a Detachment of No. 1 Supply Depot were then established at the aerodrome.

The RCAF closed the detachments in 1964 and withdrew, ending over 20 years at  the aerodrome.

The station continued to be used by the RCAF as a repair depot until it closed in 1964. The station then briefly became a storage depot before the RCAF finally withdrew.

For the next 30 years, the former airbase was owned by Cold Springs Turkey Farm.

On 8 July 2000, Businessmen Vic Powell and Dan Silverthorne re-opened the former aerodrome as the Dunnville Airport. Tenants include No. 6 RCAF Association and Museum, Dunnville Flight School, Rockett Lumber, Niagara Skydive, G. McFeeters Enterprises and Waterford Crushing & Screening. All the barracks are long gone, but all the hangars and several other buildings remain. Only runway 27-60 was re-opened.  The other 5 runways were left in their deteriorated state.

In July 2004, the lower portion of the airfield near the hangars was turned into a race track, named the Dunnville Autodrome.

The No. 6 RCAF Dunville Museum opened at the airport on 5 July 2004, preserving the memory of the RCAF in Dunnville.

On 30 May 2013, all flying ceased at the airport to make way for industrial wind turbines to be built on the site. The No. 6 RCAF Dunnville Museum continued to operate.

Source Material: the Dunnville Airport web site – www.dunnvilleairport.com, the personal recollections of the author (2002 – 2014), “Dunnville airport set to close May 30”, Sachem & Glandbrook Gazette, 7 May 2013 & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.

 


Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Welland:

Opened in 1940 at Welland as the No. 1 Relief Landing Field for No. 6 SFTS. The aerodrome closed in 1944.

The former school is now the Welland-Port Colbourne Airport. Only the hangar and the airfield remain today.

No. 87 Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron holds their weekly training at the aerodrome and The Royal Canadian Air Cadets Central Region Gliding School operates one of eight summer Regional Gliding Centre at the airport.

Source Material: the Dunnville Airport web site – www.dunnvilleairport.com, the personal recollections of the author (2001) & (2004) & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec” by Paul Ozorak.


RCAF Detachment Kholer:

Opened in 1941 as the No. 1 Relief Landing Field for No. 16 Service Flying Training School at Haggersville.

RCAF Detachment Kohler closed in 1945.

Today the former aerodrome has two new occupants: the Hadimand Agriculture Centre, which is housed in the only remaining H-hut and the Toronto Motorsports Park, which uses old airfield as a drag strip.

Source Material:  the personal recollections of the author (2014) & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec” by Paul Ozorak.


 

No. 16 Service Flying Training School:

See entry below for “Camp Hagersville / No. 16 Service Flying Training School”.

 


 

No. 31 Service Flying Training School:

No. 31 Service Flying Training School opened 10 September 1940 near Kingston, with relief landing fields located at Gananoque and Sandhurst.  In addition to air force pilots, naval fighter pilots also trained at No. 31.

In 1944 No. 31 SFTS was merged with the RCAF’s No. 14 SFTS when this school was transferred to Kingston from RCAF Station Aylmer.  No. 14 SFTS closed down in September 1945.

Some of the more noteworthy pilots who trained at this station include:

* David Clarabut who earned a Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) for his role on the attack on the German battleship Tirpitz

* Robert Hampton Gray, Canada’s last Victoria Cross recipient of the Second World War.  He was also awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

* Gordon Cheeseman Edwards, Mentioned in Dispatches for the attacks on the Tirpitz

* Philip Steele Foulds who earned a DSC for his role in an attack on an enemy convoy

The old air station is now the Kingston/Norman Rogers Airport.  Two of the old hangars and one H-hut remain.

A memorial dedicated to Lt (N) Robert Hampton Gray was erected at the Kingston Airport by the Hampton Gray V.C. Chapter of the Canadian Naval Group in May 1992.

Source Material:  the personal recollections of the author (2012) & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec” by Paul Ozorak.

 


Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Mohawk:

Originally opened on a 350 acre property  in 1916 by the Royal Flying Corps as Camp Mohawk, the home No. 1 Instrument Flying School.  After WWI, the aerodrome remained in use as a civilian airport.

With the outbreak of WWII, the aerodrome was taken over by the RCAF for use as and Instrument Flying School and as the No. 1 Relief Landing Field for the Central Flying School at RCAF Station Trenton.

After WWII, the aerodrome reverted back to a civilian airport, although the RCAF would continue to use the airfield for drone testing until 1953.  The airfield was used as a dragstrip in early 1960s until 1970 and then again 1978 to 1982.

Today the site is known as the Mohawk Airport.  The aerodrome is currently the site of the First Nations Flying School, with the First Nations Technical Institute located directly north of the airfield.  All three runways remain, but only runway 09-27 remains in use.

All that remains are the two WWII-era hangars.  Mohawk Bus Lines occupies the smaller hanger that has the old control tower.  The maintenance garage, the drill hall and a third building remained until the mid-2000s when they were demolished.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, “History of Canadian Airports” by T.M. McGrath & the personal recollections of the author (2003 & 2015).

 


Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Gananoque:

Opened as a Relief Landing Field No. 31 SFTS in 1940. The Detachment closed in September 1945.

Since 1971, the airport has been used for skydiving and is currently operated by the Gananoque Sport Parachuting Club. All three runways remain, with crumbling sections, along with the hangar and control tower.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak & the personal recollections of the author (2004).


 

No. 1 Bombing and Gunnery School:

Opened on 19 August 1940 near the Town of Jarvis, under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, to train airmen to be air gunners, wireless air gunners, air observers, or bomb aimer-navigators. This was the last step before the airmen received their wings and moved on to operational training.

The airfield itself had originally been constructed by American Airlines in 1934 as an emergency landing field.  As the runway was a grass landing strip, the Department of National Defence upgraded the airfield to three asphalt runways, along with all the other buildings and amenities of a RCAF school.

The school appeared in the 1942 Hollywood motion picture “Captains of the Clouds”, starring James Cagney and Allan Hale, Sr., a patriotic film about a group of bush pilots who join the RCAF.

With the end of the war in sight, the RCAF began reducing the number of training schools and as a result, No. 1 B&GS closed on 17 February 1945. During this time 6,500 airmen were qualified and received their wings at RCAF Station Jarvis.

Thirty-seven airmen lost their lives training  at Jarvis, including J.Deebank, a 20-year-old member of the ground crew who has the unfortunate distinction of being the first casualty at Jarvis when he fell out of a boat recovering drogue targets.  As was protocol, any military personnel from Canada and America who died while still serving in Canada, their remains were returned home.  This was not the case for other members of the Commonwealth forces and as a result, hundreds of Commonwealth military members were burred in Canadian cemeteries, including Knox Presbyterian Cemetery in Jarvis.

No. 4 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit in Brantford established a Detachment at the aerodrome in 1945, but it closed in 1946.

The buildings remained for several years afterwards, but eventually all were demolished. The aerodrome was sold in 1947 to Russell Hare.

In 1955, the site was turned into a race track named Harewood Acres, operated by the British Empire Motor Club of Toronto.  The International Ploughing Match was held at the property in 1971.

The property went through several other uses and was finally sold to Texaco Oil Company in 1974 who established the Nanticoke Refinery. The refinery was sold to Imperial Oil in 2014.

In August 1993, Imperial Oil and Wing 412 of the Royal Canadian Air Force Association erected a historical plaque was erected dedicated to the personnel who served at the base, with the reverse side of the plaque memorializing the thirty-eight Commonwealth airmen and one civilian who died while serving at No. 1 B&GS.

Source Material:  “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada – Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, “Nanticoke Through The Years” by Shirley Dosser & the personal recollections of the author (2014).


 

No. 4 Bombing and Gunnery School:

Opened near Fingal on 25 November 1940 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The school also consisted of bombing ranges were located near Dutton, Melbourne, Frome and on Lake Erie (which also had a gunnery range), and a Marine Section based at Port Stanley.

Mo. 4 B & GS also doubled as the home of No. 4 Personnel Holding Unit, (aka Manning Depot).  Hangar 1 was converted into a 500 bed barrack block to house the recruits.

By the time the school closed on 17 February 1945, more than 6000 aircrewmen had graduated from the school.

On 1 April 1945, the aerodrome became No. 9 Surplus Equipment Holding Unit, for the storage and disposal of surplus aircraft., operating until 30 April 1946, the unit disbanded and the depot came under the control of No. 6 Rapair Depot at RCAF Station Trenton.  Fingal was handed over to the Department of Labour for use as a camp for prisoners-of-war not yet repatriated from 1946-1948, when it was returned to the RCAF.

The Depot closed in June 1961 and the RCAF turned the former aerodrome over to Canadian Army, who used the property until late 1964.  Most of the buildings had been moved or demolished by this time.

In 1965, the Federal Government sold the land to the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests, now the Ministry of Natural Resources, as a wildlife management area.

Today, very little remains of the former station. Scattered amongst the trees and vegetation are the concrete pads from the firehall and hangar 7, two fire hydrants and the concrete remains of 4 incinerators and the guardhouse. The old roadways and the runways, now devoid of the asphalt, are walking trails.

In 1992, a commemorative plaque was dedicated at the site to the men and women who served at the wartime school.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, War Monuments in Canada web site – http://www.cdli.ca/monuments/on/sheddengun.htm, “What Place Was This?” by Winston St. Clair & the Fingal Wildlife Management web site – http://www.naturallyelgin.org/fwma.shtml.


 

No. 31 Bombing and Gunnery School:

See entry below for “Camp Picton / No. 31 Bombing and Gunnery School“.

 


 

No. 31 Air Navigation School:

Opened by the RAF near Port Albert on 18 November 1940 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. The school closed on 17 February 1945.

No. 4 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit in Brantford established a Detachment at the aerodrome in 1945, but it closed in 1946.

Most of the abandoned airfield remains, although the asphalt runways have been ripped up, leaving only the gravel base, which is slowly being consumed by vegetation. The incinerator building & some fencing also remain.

Source Material: “The Canada Flight Supplement 1999”, the personal recollections of the author (2001 & 2011) & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec” by Paul Ozorak.


 

No. 1 Air Observer School / No. 1 Elementary Service Flying School:

Established at the Malton Airport in June 1940, an airport that had only opened the year before. The airport, built on farmland consisting of lots 6-10 of Concession 5 and 6 in Toronto Township. Trans-Canada Airlines continued operating from the airport for the duration of the war.

No. 1 AOS opened 27 May 1940, with No. 1 EFTS on 24 June 1940, run by the Malton Flying Training School. Two hangars, several h-huts and administrative buildings were constructed.

No. 1 EFTS had a short life as it was disbanded on 3 July 1942. This was due to the expansion of No. 1 AOS when Commonwealth air forces realized that more air navigators were needed overseas. Four more hangars were constructed, along with a drill hall and more h-huts. Navigator classes started every 2 weeks and lasted 16 weeks.

No. 1 AOS ceased operations on 30 March 1945.

Also at the Malton Airport was the Aeronautical Inspection Directorate’s Inspector School, whose function was inspection of aircraft under production or being overhauled, along with investigating serious accidents at RCAF schools.

In 1946, the RCAF established No. 10 Aeronautical Inspection District at Malton for inspection of returning aircraft. The Canadian Army also established a convalescent hospital in some of the vacant barracks. These huts were later taken over by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Also in 1946, 400 (Fighter-Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary) was re-formed at Malton, but soon afterwards transferred to the newly established RCAF Station Downsview. RCAF activity at the airport ceased around this time.

In November 1958, the city of Toronto sold the airport to the federal Department of Transportation, who re-named the airport in 1960 to Toronto International Airport. The name was changed again in 1984 to Lester B. Pearson International Airport, in honour of the fourteenth Prime Minister of Canada.

Today, Pearson Airport is the largest and busiest airport in Canada.

When the Malton Airport first opened, the former by the Chapman family farmhouse became the first terminal and offices. A second terminal and administration building was built in 1939 by the Toronto Harbour Commission. This wood frame terminal was identical to the terminal at the Toronto Island Airport. The Malton terminal is long gone, torn down in 1964, but the terminal at the Island Airport remains to this day.

None of the RCAF building remain today, nor do any of the Avro Canada buildings. All that remains of the once massive A.V. Roe empire is Orenda Aerospace, now part of the Magellan Aerospace Corporation, although greatly diminished in both the size and scope of its operations.

Source Material: the personal recollections of the author (1998 – 2012) & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec” by Paul Ozorak.


 

No. 3 Flying Instructors School / No. 1 Flight Engineer School:

Opened in August 1942 near Arnprior, the school offered a six-week course to train elementary-level flight instructors using Tiger Moths, Finches, Cornells and Stearmans.

As was usual with BCATP schools, the school facilities featured standard barracks, administration buildings, two hangars and a relief landing field near Pontiac, Que.

The school had a short existence as it was shut down in January 1944. No. 1 Flight Engineer School opened at the aerodrome, remaining until October 1944, when flight engineering was transferred to Aylmer. The aerodrome was then briefly used as No. 17 Equipment Depot and then by the Army Pay Corps.

The aerodrome became the National Research Council’s Flight Research Station in 1946. A RCAF Detachment remained.

After briefly being re-named the National Aeronautical Establishment in July 1951, the aerodrome became the Central Experimental & Proving Establishment, providing support to the National Research Council and secret experiments for the Defence Research Board. Both the CE & PE and the National Aeronautical Establishment re-located to RCAF Station Uplands in July 1953.

The aerodrome then became the site of the Canadian Civil Defence College , which was later re-named the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College. The college occupied the former drill hall until 2003, when the College moved to a larger modern facility in Ottawa.

After the College’s departure, their former building and the four remaining former RCAF buildings, including one h-hut and the station HQ building were also demolished. All that remains of the RCAF buildings are two hangars, now occupied by Arnprior Aerospace.

A new road, Bev Shaw Parkway, cuts through the middle of the former station.

The airfield remains today, and currently operates as Arnprior Airport. The Arnprior Airport is currently home to Chapman Aviation Ltd., which provides flight instruction, sightseeing & charter services and aircraft maintenance services. One of the three runways is marked as abandoned.

Source Material: information supplied by Daniel Lynch, Arnprior Airport (2006), the personal recollections of the author (2001 – 2012) & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec” by Paul Ozorak.


Bonnechere Airport:

The Bonnechere airport was built by the Deportment of Transport (now Transport Canada) in 1952 as a deployment base for CF-100 interceptors.

The airport closed in 1988.

The abandoned and crumbling runways are all that remains of the airport.


 

No. 1 Radar School:

Established along the Scarborough Bluffs in Toronto in June 1942, when the RCAF took over a small brick building on Eastville Avenue built by Research Enterprises Limited, a Crown Corporation established to manufacture electronic and optical equipment.

Originally called No. 1 Radio Direction-Finding School, the school trained RCAF members, along with American Army Signal Coprps technicians.

The school was re-named No. 1 Radar School in December 1943 and in March 1944, re-located to RCAF Station Clinton.

in 1946, the Eastville Avenue building was turned over to the National Research Counsil’s Radio Branch to test equipment such as marine radars. The Department of Transport also used the building for its radiosonde training unit and their National Radiation Atmospheric Centre.

However, the post-war years saw several military units occupying space in the building. The RCAF returned established a temporary radar defence unit, No. 5 Aircraft Contol and Warning Squadron in October 1951 to monitor the Toronto area. This squadron disbanded a year later when No. 31 AC & W Squadron was established at RCAF Station Edgar.

At her units included the RCAF’s No. 271 Air Defence Control Centre, which also re-located Edgar, 2400 AC &W Squadron (Auxiliary), the Army’s No. 1 Anti-Aircraft Operations Room and No. 2 and No. 206 Companies on the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers.

The building on Eastville Avenue building still stands today, now used by the City of Toronto Parks and Recreation and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority. It is also used as a weather station.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak and the personal recollections of the author (2015).


 

Royal Canadian Air Force Technical Training School (St. Thomas):

Originally formed in November 1939 by merging the 2 existing schools, one located at Camp Borden and the other at RCAF Station Trenton, and re-locating to the St. Thomas Mental Hospital. The school trained airframe and aero-engine mechanics, instrument makers, fabric workers, electricians, sheet metal workers, carpenters, propeller specialists, safety equipment workers, parachute riggers, and fright enfineers.

The St. Thomas facility also had a Detention Barracks and a second school. the Equipment and Accounting Training School, which opened in February 1940.

Several buildings were constructed on the hospital grounds for use by RCAF trainees.

As the war was winding down in early 1945, some of the courses were transferred to the nearby RCAF Station Aylmer.

By the time the Technical Training School closed on 30 April 1945, around 50, 000 personnel had trained at the school.

The Army used some of the maintenance hangars briefly before the property was returned to the Ontario Government and reverted to being a mental hospital. All of the wartime buildings were demolished.

The St. Thomas Psychiatric Hospital continued operations at this location until closing in June 2013.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, http://www.stthomastimesjournal.com/2013/06/22/st-thomas-says-goodbye-to-former-psychiatric-hospital and the personal recollections of the author (2010).


 

Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Sudbury:

In the 1950s, RCAF’s Air Defence Command established several auxiliary landing fields for re-deployment of CF-100 fighter jets across the country. RCAF Detachment Sudbury was one such aerodrome, established as a re-deployment facility for C-100s based in North Bay in 1952.

Since then it has been upgraded many times to serve the growing city which is known as the Nickel Capital of Canada.

The airport is now operated by the Sudbury Airport Community Development Corporation (SACDC), a non-share capital corporation. A new terminal building opened in October of 2003, but the original RCAF terminal building remains.

The airport is served by mostly by regional carrier airlines such as Air Canada Jazz, Bearskin Airlines and Porter Airlines.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.


Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Bonnechere:

In the 1950s, RCAF’s Air Defence Command established several auxiliary landing fields for re-deployment of CF-100 fighter jets across the country.

RCAF Detachment Bonnechere was one such aerodrome, established in 1952 near Killaloe and operated by Transport Canada, named the Killaloe/Bonnechere Airport.

By 1988, the aerodrome was no longer needed by the Air Force, but no local municipality or business was interested in operating it, so the aerodrome closed in 1988.

The property was the subject of a land claim by the Pikwakanagan Algonquin of Golden Lake First Nation for many years, preventing any other use of the land.

The abandoned and crumbling runways and a hangar are all that remains of the airport.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak and the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association web site – www.copanational.org/PlacesToFly.


 

Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Wiarton:

In the 1950s, RCAF’s Air Defence Command established several auxiliary landing fields for re-deployment of CF-100 fighter jets across the country. RCAF Detachment Wiarton was one such aerodrome, established in 1950.

The aerodrome is now the Wiarton Keppel International Airport.  It was owned and operated by Transport Canada until 1996, when it was sold to the Town of Georgian Bluffs.  The original RCAF terminal building remains.

In 2016, the Town of Georgian Bluffs began putting together a plan to upgrade the airport facilities, including resurfacing and extending the current 5,000-foot asphalt runway to 6,000 feet and installing new runway lights.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak and Wiarton Airport Expansion Eyed, Canadian Aviator magazine, 24 March 2016..


 

Royal Canadian Air Force Station Victoria Island:

Originally established in 1922 as a Central Repair Depot for aircraft when the recently formed Canadian Air Force (pre-RCAF) took over facilities previously used by the Department of Public Works.

Originally, the depot consisted of only one building, a large stone building, built in 1904 by Thomas “Carbide” Wilson, that had formerly been used as a mica factory, carbide plant and a boatyard.  Later a workshop and a hangar were added.

The depot was designated No. 1 (Aircraft) Depot. in 1925.Staring in 1927, the Ottawa Car Manufacturing Company used the station for testing various aircraft.

By the 1930s, the depot was also used as training station for students from Camp Borden’s Technical Training School.  The depot was re-named No. 1 RCAF Depot in 1932, but this was again changed to No. 1 Aircraft Depot two years later.

During WWII, a new facility for No. 1 Depot the depot was opened in Toronto, resulting in the Victoria Island facility being designated as No. 1A Equipment Sub-Depot, repairing instruments and cameras for schools under No. 1 and No. 3 Training Command.

An engine testing building was built at the depot, and by 1944, a new combined mess.  Most personnel were quartered on the third floor of the stone building.

The depot was re-designated No 17 Equipment Unit in February 1941, but this again was re-named as No. 17 Equipment Depot in May 1942.  By; this time, the depot was also handling RCAF publications, forms, an armaments section, servicing radar equipment and serving as a detention barracks.  An additional storage building was  located at the corner of Main and Laval Streets in Hull (now Gatineau).

In1944 the RCAF expanded its facilities on the island by erecting a new mess hall in the vacant lot

When RCAF Station Arnprior closed in 1945, the Depot took over part of the aerodrome.

No. 17 Depot closed in 1946 and the RCAF Service Police headquarters took over the depot.  The following year the Canadian Armed Forces Identification Bureau was formed at Victoria Island.

In 1951, the RCAF established a Russian language school with became a tri-service school 4 years later.  The Federal Government expanded the facilities at Victoria island by expropriating the remaining most of the privately owned land on Victoria Island.  One of the homes expropriated served as a PMQ, while another on Mill Street was used for the Russian Training School.

Also in 1951, the Construction Engineering Branch HQ moved to Victoria Island from temporary facilities in central Ottawa, into a new H-shaped Sleelox building.

Various other units occupied Victoria Island over the years including the Construction and Engineering Branch, The Roundel magazine (RCAF publication), the Air Historian and the RCAF’s Systems Engineering Group, who played a part in designing and building the Mid-Canada Line.

The station later served as the headquarters of the newly former Canadian Forces Communications Command in 1965.

Also in 1965, the RCAF’s Roundel magazine was discontinued, along with the Canadian Army Journal and the RCN’s Crowsnest).  A new national military magazine, the tri-service Sentinel, began publication. The Roundel personnel and files of the Air Historian were incorporated into the Directorate of History and Heritage on Besserer Street in Ottawa.

RCAF Station Victoria Island closed in 1970.  All the buildings were demolished at that time except for the ruins of old stone building, damaged in fires in 1975 and 1978.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, the Canadian Museum of History web site – http://www.historymuseum.ca/cmc/exhibitions/hist/hull/rw_19e.shtm, Canadian Air Force Journal, September 2008,
“Been There, Done That: Through Treacherous Skies,” By Ron Butcher, “The Air Historian, Part 2” by Hugh Halliday, “Out of Darkness–Light: A History of Canadian Military Intelligence,” by Harold A. Skaarup, the personal recollections of Barclay Thompson, former resident of Victoria Island (2006) – http://www.airmuseum.ca/bios/barclay.html and the personal recollections of the author (2016).


 

No. 5 Initial training School:

Opened in Belleville by the RCAF in August 1941 at the Provincial School for the Deaf. It was initially a five-week course, later expanded to 10 weeks, in armaments, aeronautics and navigation. It was here that personnel were funneled into either pilot, observer, wireless operator or air gunner trades.

The school closed in June 1944 and the school returned to its original function. It is now the Sir James Whitney School for the Deaf / Hard of Hearing.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.


 

Canadian Forces Station Gloucester:

Opened in 1943 as Gloucester Naval Radio Station, it served as a wireless-intercept station and a training station for members of the Royal Canadian Navy’s Special Communications Branch.

The station was re-named HMCS Gloucester in 1950 and CFS Gloucester in 1966.

The station was closed in 1972 as part of the plan to centralize communications training at CFB Kingston.

All that remains of the former station today is the recreation centre, the sports field and the abandoned roadway in the PMQ area. The recreation centre building now houses the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 627 and 2951 Royal Canadian Army Cadet Corps.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak and the personal recollections of the author (2006).


 

HMCS Conestoga / HMCS Bytown II:

Opened on the site of the Ontario Training School for Girls, a school for delinquent girls in Galt, now a part of Cambridge, in 1942, for the purpose of training women of the Women’s Royal Canadian Naval Service (WRCNS), also called “Wrens.”  Around 7000 women served in the RCN from 1942 – 1945.

Like the Army and the RCAF, “wrens” assumed non-combat support roles, both in Canada and abroad.  None were killed in action, but 11 died on duty, due to illness or accidents.

The training at Conestoga consisted provided basic training for women, including physical training, drill and naval customs and traditions.  From here, the “wrens” would be sent to other naval bases across Canada for trades and advanced training.

The school closed in March 1945 and reverted to its pre-war function as a correctional school for girls.

The name of the school was changed to the Grandview Training School for Girls in 1967.

This facility closed in the late 1976, after which many former inmates brought forth accusations of abuse by staff, both physical and sexual.  These accusations didn’t  become publicly known in 1991.

A subsequent investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police and Waterloo Regional Police was launched and resulted in over 300 former inmates to form the Grandview Survivors Support Group to lobby for compensation.

Most of the residential and administrative buildings stood abandoned and deteriorating for many years until they were finally demolished.

The property now houses Waterloo Regional Police’s Division 2 station, parkland and a residential subdivision.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, www.thecanadianencyclopedia.ca/en/article/womens-royal-canadian-naval-service,  www.warmuseum.ca/cwm/exhibitions/navy/galery-e.aspx?section=2-E-1-b&id=5 and the personal recollections of the author (2017).


 

Naval Radio Station CFF:

With the outbreak of WWII, the RCN found themselves in need of monitoring stations and HFDF stations, thus stations like Naval Radio Station CFF were established at RCAF Station Rockcliffe in Ottawa.

The radio station later moved to more suitable accommodations at the Experimental Farm in Ottawa. A modest building was constructed, surrounded by and eight foot high fence was tipped with barbed wire.

Naval Radio Station CFF was linked naval headquarters in Ottawa, along with Allied naval headquarters, ships at sea and other locations as distant as Bermuda and Sierra Leone. Station personnel intercepted encrypted radio traffic from German, Italian and Russian military and diplomatic communications traffic. On one occasion, radio operators intercepted transmissions between Royal Navy warships that were pursuing and ultimately sank the German battleship Bismarck.

NRS CFF closed in 1947 and the facility was then occupied by the Radio Propagation Laboratory.

 


 

Special Training School #103 (Camp X) / No. 2 Oshawa Wireless Station:

The camp, officially known as Special Training School #103, but commonly referred to as “Camp X”, was established on 280 acres of land east of Toronto, on the shore of Lake Ontario near the border between the Towns of Oshawa and Whitby. This location was chosen as it provided the seclusion needed for the camp’s clandestine operations, it was only 30 miles straight across the lake to the United States and the lake itself provided a suitable training area for marine assault training

However, very few people knew the true purpose of Camp X. The Minister of National Defence Colonel James Ralston and RCMP Commissioner Stuart Taylor Wood were let in on the secret, as was the head of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, since the public were told that the radio antennas dotting the property were CBC broadcast antennas. However, Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie-King was left out of the loop since BSC feared he would shut down the camp as a violation of Canada’s sovereignty by Great Britain. Not even the Prime Minister of Canada knew about Camp X!

Another purpose for establishing the camp was to unite Great Britain and the United States. At the time Camp X was being constructed in the summer of 1941, the U.S. was still refusing to join the war effort, a war that some Americans saw as a European problem. However, others saw this as a mistaken position as evidenced by the over 30,000 Americans who crossed the border to join British and Canadian armed forces.

Even before the United States entered the war on December 7, 1941, agents from America’s intelligence services expressed an interest in sending personnel for training at the soon to be opened Camp X. Agents from the FBI and the Office of Strategic Services (fore-runner of the CIA) secretly attended Camp X. Most notable was Colonel William “Wild Bill” Donovan, war-time head of the OSS, who credited Sir William Stephenson with teaching Americans about foreign intelligence gathering. The CIA even named their recruit training facility “The Farm”; a nod to the original farm that existed at the Camp X site.

Camp X officially opened for training on December 6, 1941, the day before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Trainees at the camp learned sabotage techniques, subversion, intelligence gathering, lock picking, explosives training, radio communications, encode/decode, recruiting techniques for partisans, the art of silent killing and unarmed combat. Camp X offered no parades for its graduates and none were ever publicly recognized for their accomplishments. There was only brutal torture or anonymous death if they were captured in the course of their duties.

By the time Special Training School #103 terminated training operations in 1944, up to 2000 students had graduated from the camp.

The camp also served as a link in the HYDRA network, a radio communications relay system that linked Washington, Ottawa, Toronto, Montréal, New York and Great Britain. When STS #103 closed, the camp continued operating as a HYDRA radio station.

In 1945, Igor Gouzenko the Soviet Embassy cypher clerk whose defection exposed the Soviet spy threat in North America, was hidden at Camp X along with his family for two years. Prime Minister Mackenzie-King was first advised about the camp’s existence when it was suggested that Gouzenko be hidden there.

Post-war, the camp was re-named the Oshawa Wireless Station and turned over to the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals as a wireless intercept station, military talk for a spy listening station.

The Oshawa Wireless Station continued operations until 1969 when it too closed. All remaining buildings were demolished or relocated elsewhere and the property abandoned. Records pertaining to Camp X were either locked away under the Official Secrets Act or destroyed after World War II.

Even the end of the war brought no parades or official recognition for Camp X veterans. They simply went home and did as they were required to do during the war; they kept their mouths shut. It’s only been in recent years that many Camp X veterans have felt comfortable talking about their experiences.

Today, the former site of Camp X is a passive park, appropriately named “Intrepid Park”. A monument was erected in 1984 to honour the men and women of Camp X, a camp that many in the intelligence world consider to be the finest espionage training camp of the Second World War. This monument and an information display erected by the Town of Whitby Parks & Recreation Department are the only evidence of the property’s clandestine past.

The Camp X Historical Society recently located an original Camp X building on a property in Whitby, Ontario. Future plans called for the building to be moved back to Intrepid Park as part of a proposed museum and interpretative centre complex. This museum has thus far failed to come to fruition.

A small private museum, the Robert Stuart Aeronautical and Camp X Collection, was established at the Oshawa Airport (the former No. 20 EFTS) in 1977. The told the story of and housed several artifacts from Camp X. The museum closed in 2010 and some of the Camp X artifacts were acquired by the Canadian War Museum.

For more on Camp X, visit the Camp X Historical Society at www.camp-x.com, the Camp X Museum at http://webhome.idirect.com/~lhodgson/canadaspymuseum.html, or read

“Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak and “Inside Camp X” by Lynn Philip Hodgson.

Other sources: Camp X: STS web site – http://www.campx.ca/campx.html, Durham Region News – http://www.durhamregion.com/news-story/3508323-last-remaining-camp-x-building-in-whitby-needs-protection.


 

Canadian Forces Base Oakville:

Originally opened in 1943 as the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps Casualty Re-training Centre. The camp provided care like physiotherapy, occupational therapy and even remedial drill to get soldiers back in shape. The centre operated until re-locating to Brampton in 1944.

The camp then became No. 2 Women’s Health Service Centre in December 1944, remaining operational until April 1946.

In 1946, the Canadian Army re-organized into military districts. The new Central Command Headquarters was based at Ortona Barracks, named after the town in Italy where Canadian troops fought a fierce battle. Ortona Barracks served as an administrative base. Permanent Married Quarters were constructed just west of the base for military families, named Surrey Park.

The barracks also became the home of 70 Communications Group in the mid 1960s, along with the newly designated Central Ontario District Headquarters, later re-named Central Militia Area.

Ortona Barracks was re-named CFB Oakville in 1966, but by 1971, the base closed due to consolidation of military resources. CMA Headquarters moved to CFB Downsview (Toronto) and 70 Communication Group moved to CFB Trenton. The Surrey Park PMQ were placed under control of CFB Downsview.

The former camp was taken over by the Ontario Government and in 1975, opened Oaklands Regional Centre, a residential care and support facility for people with developmental disabilities. The former CFB Oakville headquarters building is all that remains from the army days.

In 2005, Oaklands became known as Central West Specialized Developmental Services.

The PMQs were transferred to the Canada Lands Company in June 2010 and demolished. The land is being redeveloped into an enclave of million dollar homes.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, the personal recollections of Colonel J.C. Forsyth, OBStJ, CD, Honorary Colonel, Royal Hamilton Light Infantry – 1993-2007, Central West Developmental Services web site – www.cwsds.ca and the personal recollections of the author (1997 – 2015).


 

Ipperwash Range and Training Area:

Originally opened on 28 January 1942 on the shore of Lake Huron adjacent to Ipperwash Provincial Park as A29 Canadian Infantry Training Centre. In a contentious move, the land was expropriated by the Department of National Defence from the Chippewas of Stoney Point First Nation in an action that was said to be only for the duration of the war. Barracks, messes, drill halls and administrative buildings and a firing range were constructed at the camp.

When A29 CITC ceased operations in 1945, DND indicated it was willing to return the majority of the expropriated land, leasing back parts of the camp still required for training, but this deal fell through. As a result, Camp Ipperwash remained open as a training centre for the Regular Force, Reserves, as well as the summer home of the Central Command Cadet Camp, established in 1948.

During the Korean War, Camp Ipperwash served as the Home station for the 2nd Canadian Rifle Battalion, later re-named The Queens Own Rifles of Canada. The 4th Battalion, Canadian Guards, were posted to Ipperwash from 1954 until disbanded in 1957.

The Unification of the Forces in 1968 saw Camp Ipperwash retain its name, unlike many other bases that were re-named Canadian Forces Base or Canadian Forces Station (CFS). During the 1970s, activity at Camp Ipperwash was greatly reduced and was re-designated the Ipperwash Range and Training Area. The Army Cadet Summer Training Centre re-located to CFB Borden in August 1993.

Members of the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, from whom the land had been expropriated during WWII, began an occupation of the camp in May 1993, setting up tents on the firing ranges.

Training at Camp Ipperwash ceased the same year, but a caretaker staff remained until 29 July 1995, when the Army withdrew from the camp.

On 18 June 1998, the Canadian Government formally allowed the former camp to be occupied by the Stony Point First Nation pending a formal settlement.

In September 2015, the Canadian Government finally reached a financial settlement of $95 million with Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation that will officially see the Ipperwash land officially returned to them, 20 years after the Army left the camp.

On 14 April 2016, the land was officially returned to the Chippewas of Kettle and Stony Point First Nation in a ceremony attended by Minister of National Cefence Harjut Sajjan, Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Dr. Carolyn Bennett and Kettle and Stony Point Chief Tom Bressette, 74 years after it was taken from them. The agreement also calls for Ottawa to clean up the land, including any old munitions buried on the former firing ranges.

Only about a third the camp’s World War II era “temporary” buildings remain today, some still occupied and some in better condition than others.

Source Material: “The Royal Canadian Army Service Corps Yearbook” – 1961, DND press release from February 1994, Reuters News Service 18 June 1998, the RCAC web site – http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Plains/1390/rcacchistory.html, Department of Indian And Northern Affairs News Release of 18 June 1998, http://www.geocities.com/nsatqk/1971-1979.html, “CHRONOLOGY RETURN OF FORMER CAMP IPPERWASH LANDS” – http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/nr/prs/m-a1998/RFCIL.html, Army Cadet Summer Camp web site – http://www.hsbcadets.ca/ge_Ipperwash.htm, “Sixty Years of War – The Official History of the Canadian Army in World War II Volume 1” by Colonel C.P. Stacey and “The Garrison” newspaper from March 1995, “Chippewa First Nation celebrated return of Ipperwash land” – The Toronto Star 19 September 2015, The Sarnia Observer, April 14, 2016, personal recollections of Nathan Brown (2009) and the personal recollections of the author (2001 & 2016).


Canadian Forces Station Carp:

(This station has nothing to do with the former RCAF Detachment Carp, which was at a different location)

Originally opened as No. 1 Army Signals Unit in 1963, it was one of several government bunkers built across Canada as a part of a continuation of government program. These facilities were designed to withstand a near-hit from a nuclear explosion. Each underground facility had entrances through massive blast doors at the surface, as well as extensive air filters and positive air pressure to prevent radiation infiltration. Underground storage was built for food, fuel, fresh water, and other supplies for the facilities which were capable of supporting several dozen people for a period of several weeks.

Nick-named the “Diefenbinker” after Prime Minister John Diefenbaker, the bunker was a four-story underground bunker, which also served as the Central Emergency Government Headquarters. The bunker was a fully equipped facility, consisting of sleeping quarters, mess halls, offices, fitness facilities and a CBC broadcast station. Station personnel lived in either the Village of Carp or PMQs in Ottawa.

The station also consisted of above-ground buildings such as a guard house, engineering shops and a mess hall.

A two-story communications bunker was also constructed near Perth (Richardson Detachment), which was staffed exclusively by members of the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals (RCCS), later 701 Communications Squadron post-Unification.

Two remote antenna receiver stations detachments were constructed at Dunrobin (to the north) and Almonte (to the south). A small radio building and numerous antennas were built at each site.

Although the bunker was never used for its intended purpose, it did serve a valuable function as a government communications station staffed by RCCS personnel No. 1 Army Signals Troop.

Following the end of the Cold War, most of the Diefenbunkers were decommissioned, including CFS Carp and the Richardson Detachment in 1994. Communications functions were taken over by CFS Leitrim outside of Ottawa. The detachments at Richardson, Dunrobin and Almonte were all abandoned.

All that remains of the at Dunrobin and Almonte are the empty radio buildings, the concrete antenna mounts and the fencing. While both properties are otherwise vacant, the Almonte property is now the Burnt Lands Provincial Park.

The bunker was purchased by the Township of Carleton (now a part of the City of Ottawa) and in 1997, opened it as a Cold War museum. Unfortunately the Canadian Forces cleared out the bunker when it was decommissioned, so the museum had to reacquire original or period furnishings, a process with continues to this day.

The main branch of the West Carleton Township Public Library opened to the public in April 1997, occupying the former engineering building. In 2001, the library became part of the Ottawa Public Library system when the township amalgamated with Ottawa.

The movie Sum of All Fear, featuring Ben Afleck and Morgan Freeman, has a scene that was shot on location at CFS Carp’s Diefenbunker.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, information supplied by the Diefenbunker Museum (2004) & information supplied by the Carp branch of the Ottawa Public Library (2011), the personal recollections of the author (2014 & 2015).


 

Canadian Forces Station Carp: Richardson Detachment:

Established in 1962 as the remote communications transmitter station for CFS Carp, off Lanark County Road 10 east of Perth, connected to Carp by a of 50 kilometres long buried landline.

A Royal Canadian Corps of Signals squadron was housed in a 2-story bunker, which contained a mess, sleeping quarters, offices and decontamination facilities. Twenty radio transmitters dotted the property to send and receive radio traffic.

In addition to Richardson, antenna receiver stations were also established at Dunrobin and Almonte, north and south of CFS Carp itself.

When CFS Carp closed in 1994, the Richardson Detachment also closed. The bunker was initially put up for sale until late 1997 when it was sealed up. All surface buildings were demolished and the radio antenna removed, but the building foundations and antenna mounts still remain.

The antenna were also removed at the Almonte and Dunrobin Detachments, leaving only the empty radio buildings and the antenna mounts. The Almonte site is now the Burnt Lands Provincial Park.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, “Bunkers, Bunkers Everywhere” by Paul Ozorak, “Underground Structure of the Cold War” by Paul Ozorak, information supplied by the Diefenbunker Museum (2004) and the personal recollections of the author (2006).


Camp Niagara:

One of Ontario’s oldest Military establishments, the camp was originally opened in 1814 as Butler’s Barracks. The site continued to be used as a training camp over the years.

During World War II, the camp was used as a training centre for various regiments in the Hamilton Niagara Peninsula Command, as well as the Canadian Provost Corps’ No. 84 Military Detention Barracks.

The camp closed after World War II, but was re-activated in 1953 as a Militia training camp. The camp was re-christened with it’s historic name – Butler’s Barracks, but also known as Camp Niagara.

The camp closed in 1967. The former camp is now the Butler’s Barracks National Historic Site.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Volume I – Ontario” by Paul Ozarak, the personal recollections of Colonel J.C. Forsyth, OBStJ, CD, Honorary Colonel, Royal Hamilton Light Infantry – 1993-2007 (1999) and the personal recollections of the author (1997 – 2014).


 

No. 12 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre:

Opened in Chatham in October 1940 as No. 12 Non-permanent Active Militia Training Centre. The camp initially trained recruits from the Kent Regiment and The Essex Regiment, but later this included the Elgin Regiment and the Middlesex & Huron Regiment. A total of 33 buildings were built, including barracks, dining and administration buildings were constructed. Graduates later attended advanced training schools.

In 1943, the camp became specifically an infantry camp and re-named No. 12 CA (B) TC. The school closed in June 1945, having trained around 20, 000 men, and the camp became the 4th Infantry Training Battalion until January 1946, when the camp closed.

The Chatham Memorial Arena, built in 1949, and a residential development now occupy the property. Nothing remains of the camp today.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.

 


No. 20 Non-Permanent Active Militia Taining Centre / No. 20 Canadian Infantry (Basic) Training Centre:
Established in Mohawk Park in Brantford in October 1939, the name of the camp was soon after changed to No. 20 Canadian Army Reserve (Basic) Training Centre.
With the war in Europe winding down, the camp became the 5th Infantry Training Battalion in April 1945. The camp closed in March 1946.
Nothing remains of the camp today. The site is now occupied by the Pauline Johnson collegiate Vocational School.
Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.

No. 23 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre / No. 23 Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (Basic) Training Centre:
Opened in 1939 as No. 23 Non-permanent Active Militia Training Centre in Newmarket in a park near Pine and Crescent Streets, a 52-acre training facility populated by more than 1,000 soldiers in the heart of Newmarket, a town which boasted a population of about 4,000 at the time. A total of 36 buildings, including a large drill hall, barracks, cookhouses, messes, guardrooms, recreation halls and canteens were built. An infirmary, churches and other buildings were added later. By the end of the war in 1945, more than 45 buildings has been constructed.
The camp trained members of the Queen’s York Rangers (1st American Regiment), Toronto Scottish Regiment, Irish Regiment of Canada and The Grey & Simcoe Foresters. The camp was notable in that it is was one of the few camps that trained black soldiers. Comedian Bob Hope entertained the troops here, as singer Vera Lynn and Canadian broadcaster and actor Lorne Greene did radio shows from the camp.
In 1943, the camp became RCAC (Basic) Training Centre.
When the camp closed in 1945, the camp’s 45 buildings were sold to the Town of Newmarket.
For the next year, the camp was used as a training centre by the 11th & 15th Infantry Battalions.  Several buildings at the former camp remain including the former drill hall, now the York Curling Club, and the Officers’ Mess, now the Royal Canadian Legion hall. Nine of the barracks on Wrigley Street were converted into residential bungalows. Others can be found on various streets such as Muriel and Lowell Avenues, along with Arthur and Newton Streets.
Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, the personal recollections of the author (2005-2013) and York Region News – www.yorkregion.com/news/article/1236805–for-king-and-county.

 

No. 24 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre / No. 24 Canadian Aroured (Basic) Training Centre:

Opened in Brampton in December 1941 at the corner of Queen Street West and McLaughlin Street, initially as No. 61 Military Detention Barracks but by June 1942, the camp converted to an army basic training centre.

From November 1943 until December 1944, the camp converted to an armoured corps basic training centre.

From most of 1945, the camp served as a Casualty Training Centre, but by December, the camp became the 14th Infantry Training Battalion until April 1946, when the camp closed.

Nothing remains of the camp today.

The Ontario Department of Reform Institutions took over the camp and later the Ontario Provincial Police Academy was established at the site, remaining until 1995 when it moved to Orillia. The site is now the Flower City Community Centre and sports fields.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.

 


 

No. 25 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre:

Originally opened in Simcoe in 1942 as No. 25 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre, the camp was re-designated ad No. 25 Canada Infantry (Basic) Training Centre. The camp had around 40 buildings including barrack, messes, drill hall and recreation centre. The camp had any where between 2 and 4 companies training at any one time.

The school closed in December 1945.

All that remains of the camp today are three h-hunts, now used as now storage buildings, and some building foundations.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak and the personal recollections of the author (1997).


 

No. 26 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre / No. 26 Canadian Armoured Corps Basic Training Centre:

Originally opened in 1942 in Orillia as No. 26 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre on farmland in the area roughly bordered by modern day Lawrence, Brant, West & North Streets.

The camp was re-designated No. 26 Canadian Armoured Corps Basic Training Centre in 1943, No. 26 Canadian Infantry Basic Training Centre in 1944 and finally the 13th Infantry Training Battalion from 1945-46.

Not the slightest trace of the camp exists today. A residential community now takes up the land once occupied by the camp.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak and the personal recollections of the author (2004).


 

No. 30 Officers’ Training Centre / Camp Brockville:

Camp No. 30 was originally established in 1940, its original purpose was to accommodate and train new recruits for the Canadian Army. The camp encompassed the area encompassed between Highway 401, Ormond Street, the Canadian Pacific rail line and North Augusta Road.

In early in 1941, the camp was converted to an officer’s training centre and renamed as No. 30 Officers’ Training Centre, Brockville Military Academy. It included a rifle range, a border range and many small training areas in the surrounding country side.

A French training wing was added in November 1941 for officer cadets from Quebec.  Officer cadet recruits trained initially at No. 44 CA(B)TC in Saint-Jérôme before being sent to Brockville for a further three months training.

The camp population at that time grew to 4,000, including women army corps personnel.

With the end of WWII, the Brockville Military Academy became the home station of the Royal Canadian Regiment (RCR), in November 1945, as well as a vocational school for returning servicemen. The next month, the King’s and regimental colours were brought from Wollsely Barracks in London, Ontario and marched through the streets of Brockville up to the camp. However this would be short-lived as the RCR was transferred to Camp Petawawa in 1950.

Nothing remains of the camp today. A small portion of the former camp, a greenbelt strip on the east side of Ormond Street from Central Avenue to Bramshot Avenue was dedicated as The Royal Canadian Regiment Park in April 2011. A memorial cairn was erected near the corner of Central Avenue, which used to be the main gate into the camp.

There are several homes at the north end of the former camp property that are identical to PMQs but there don’t appear to be any records that any military homes were constructed. It appears more likely is that the builder simply borrowed the PMQ blueprints.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, “City’s military camp not forgotten”, Brockville Recorder – www.recorder.ca/2010/07/02/citys-military-camp-not-forgotten, The Royal Canadian Regiment web site -http://theroyalcanadianregiment.ca/news/rcrpark.html, information provided by Capt (Ret’d) Ray Fleming, Research Assistant, the RCR Museum (2015), Natalie Wood, Curator/Director, Brockville Museum (2015) and the personal recollections of the author (2015).


 

Camp Hagersville / No. 16 Service Flying Training School:

Opened on 8 August 1941 under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan near Hagersville, with Relief Landing Fields at Kohler and Dufferin. No. 16 SFTS closed on 30 March 1945.

The station was taken over by the Army on 21 September 1945.

Camp Hagersville, as it was re-named, was used by the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineer Corps as a maintenance facility, but the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps as a depot facility and by the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps as a driver training centre. Permanent Married Quarters were constructed for the families of soldiers posted to the camp.

In 1961, the camp was also designated the Target Area Headquarters (a nuclear contingency plan) for the Hamilton area.

In the early to mid 1960s, a reorganization and consolidation occurred within the Canadian Military. Several Army, Navy and RCAF bases were either downsized, merged or closed. As a result, Camp Hagersville closed in 1964.

The Department of Reform Institutions established the White Oaks School and a vocational training school, both for delinquent boys. The reforms schools both closed in 1978.

The former camp is now the White Oaks Industrial Park. Total Forest Industries occupies some of the former aircraft hangars for use in the production of treated lumber products.

All the hangars, the drill hall and the PMQs remain. The abandoned and crumbling airfield and the gunnery backstop also remain.

Both RCAF Detachment Kohler and Dufferin closed in 1945. Kholer is now home to the Hadimand Agriculture Centre, which is housed in the only remaining H-hut and the Toronto Motorsports Park, which uses old airfield as a drag strip.

Nothing remains of RCAF Detachment Dufferin.

Source Material: the personal recollections of the author (1997 – 2004), the Toronto Motorsports Park web site – http://www.torontomotorsportspark.com & “Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.


 

Camp Picton / No. 31 Bombing and Gunnery School:

Originally opened in April 1941 by the Royal Air Force as 31 Bombing and Gunnery School during WWII, a part of the BCATP.

Five bombing ranges were also created to allow the students to practice. The school offered six week courses in bombing, navigation and air gunnery until it was disbanded in November 1944.

After the Bombing & Gunnery School was disbanded, the RCAF established the No. 5 Reserve Equipment Maintenance Unit at Picton. This unit was responsible for aircraft storage and maintenance of the airfield itself. This unit operated until January 1946 when its the unit disbanded and its functions were taken over by RCAF Station Trenton.

The base was taken over by the Army for use as the Royal Canadian School of Artillery (Anti-Aircraft) (RCSA(A.A.)). The school provided training for anti-aircraft gunners, gunnery radar operators, technical assistants and artillery instructors. A number of operational artillery units were also located in Picton, including the 127th and 128th Medium AA Batteries, Royal Canadian Artillery (RCA) and the 2nd and 3rd Light AA Batteries of the 1st Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RCA. The RCAF also maintained a small detachment at the base to provide aircraft targets for the gunners.

In July 1960, the base was officially renamed Camp Picton and the RCSA (A.A.) disbanded a few weeks later. Two new units were formed later that year, namely the 1st Surface-to-Surface Missile (SSM) Battery and the 2nd SSM (Training) Battery of The Royal Regiment of Canadian Artillery. Both units were transferred; the 1st went to Europe in December 1961 and the 2nd was transferred to Camp Shilo in 1962. The 1st Battalion of the Canadian Guards then transferred to Camp Picton from their previous base in Germany.

With the Unification of the forces Camp Picton was renamed Canadian Forces Base Picton. However, reductions in the Canadian military meant that the base was no longer required and CFB Picton was closed in September 1969.

After CFB Picton was closed, the base housing was sold to the Ontario Ministry of Health, it was later transferred to the Ministry of Community and Social Services, and was named Prince Edward Heights, home to approximately 450 mentally handicapped individuals. The centre closed in 1999.

A developer has since purchased the homes, renamed the development “Macaulay Village” and resold them as individual properties. Much of the main base also remains, with some of the original buildings in use for assorted industrial and institutional purposes. The airfield remains in operation as Picton Airport.

The base and Point Petre were also used to film the movie Dieppe (1993), a TV movie by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC).

Some of the buildings, in particular the hangars, are leased to assorted manufacturers. The others remain empty. Current occupants include a skid factory, a hammock store, an archery club, a welding shop, a flying club and a marine shop. The volunteer fire fighters still make use of the old fire hall. Craig Barracks, a later addition built in the 1950s, was sold to the Ontario Government and converted into a hospital in Picton.

Although no longer a base, 851 Royal Canadian Air Squadron Prince Edward, which is part of the Air Cadet Program, has been making regular use of the facilities since the late 1970s. The camp is used for a variety of cadet activities for about 10 months of the year. During the summer Royal Canadian Air Cadets Central Region Gliding School uses the adjacent airfield for a six week course in glider training.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak and the personal recollections of the author (1997 – 2012).


 

Canadian Forces Station Cobourg:

Opened in 1952 in Cobourg as the new home of  No. 26 Central Ordnance Depot, which re-located from Ottawa.  The Depot all the amenities of a regular base including 6 warehouses, a central heating plant, firehall, permanent married quarters (PMQs) and administrative buildings.

With the Unification of the Forces, the depot became No. 26 Canadian Forces Supply Depot and the base was re-named CFB Cobourg, but by 1968, this designation was changed to Canadian Forces Station Cobourg.

On 1 November 1967, Cobourg assumed control of No. 15 Regional Ordnance Depot, making it a Detachment of No. 26 CFSD. However, this charge would be short-lived as the No 15 ROD closed 4 years later on 31 August 1971 as a part of a reorganization of the Canadian Forces Supply System.

By 1969, the Canadian Forces supply system was consolidated and Cobourg’s area of responsibility was split between Montreal and Toronto. As a result, CFS Coborg closed on 31 August 1970.

The Depot was originally sold to the Province of Ontario, but later to the Town of Cobourg.

Most of the former Depot remains as it did when it closed, including the PMQs, and is now known as the Northam Industrial Park.

Source Material: Cobourg: “Early Days and Modern Times” by John Spilsbury, “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontairo” by Paul Ozorak. and the recollections of the author (1998-2012).


No. 26 Central Ordnance Depot (Ottawa)

(Army Publications Depot (Ottawa))

(No. 1 Central Medical Equipment Depot)

Originally opened in 1941 at Plouffe Park as Ottawa Central Ordnance Depot, one of three Central Depots in the eastern region, with the other two being in Montreal and Toronto. The Depot issued items ranging from uniforms to typewriter ribbons and requisition forms.

At the time, the depot building was the largest war building erected in Ottawa at over an area of 295,000 square feet”. Unlike many buildings built during WWII, the depot’s building was meant to be a permanent structure, as a news article in 1942 quoted then Minister of National Defence Col James Ralston,  “it will be of substantial, permanent construction — steel and cinder-block”. It contains 800 tons of reinforcing steel, 130 tons of sheet metal, and, 200 tons of pipe. “It … will not only meet the requirements of war-time but will stand for many years”

Due to increasing demand, eventually additional sub-depots were opened in Ottawa at 111 Murray Street, 817 Wellington Street and various other locations.

The Ottawa depot remained open as a part of the post-war Army establishments and was re-designated No. 26 Central Ordnance Depot.  However, by 1953, a re-organization of Ordnance Corps bases resulted in the closure of the Ottawa Depot and the establishment of a new home base for 26 COD in Cobourg.

The depot then became No. 1 Central Medical Equipment Depot and later, the Army Publications Depot (Ottawa).

By the 1960s, part of the depot was taken over by the Department of Supply and Services, now known as Public Works and Government Services Canada.

The warehouse buildings were torn down over a 9 month period from October 2014 and July 2015.  All that remains is the administration building along Somerset Street West, still occupied by Public Works and Government Services Canada.

Source Material:  “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak, information provided by Judy M. Foote, PC, MP, Minister of Public Services and Procurement (2016) and the personal recollections of the author (2016).

 


No. 15 Regional Ordnance Depot:

Established in July 1952 in Lakeview, then a part of Toronto Township, but now part of Mississauga, on Cawthra Road south of The Queen Elizabeth Way. The Depot took stock from various Central Ordnance Depots for distribution to local Regular and Reserve force units.

In addition to the Royal Canadian Ordnance Corps, the depot also housed companies of the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineers and the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps.

The Depot was re-designated as a Detachment of 26 Canadian Forces Supply Depot in Cobourg on 1 November 1967 as a part of the Unification of the Forces. However, this charge would be short-lived as the Depot closed 4 years later on 31 August 1971 as a part of a reorganization of the Canadian Forces Supply System.

No. 1 Canadian Forces Supply Depot at CFB Downsview assumed responsibility for the Depot’s area.

The Depot was later used by Canada Post, the Department of Supply and Services and Revenue Canada, but all the buildings were eventually demolished.

In 1972, Cawthra Park Secondary School was built in 1972 on the south end of the property and later the Cawthra Arena, now the Carmen Corbasson Community Centre.

Source Material:  “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak and the personal recollections of the author (2015).


 

Internment Camp No. 20:

Opened in 1940 on the site of the former Minnewaska Hotel in Gravenhurst as a Prisoner of War Camp for German officer detainees, the camp was also referred to as Camp Calydor and Muskoka Officer’s Club. The camp had a fenced-in swimming area on Lake Muskoka for use by the prisoners. By the end of the first summer, Camp 20 held 489 prisoners.

They were used for various construction projects- around Gravenhurst including a set of stone steps leading down to the waterfront at Gull Lake Park today (they remain today) and a light house in the park, as well as working at local lumber camps.

The camp also had its own small zoo and gardens for the prisoners to grow their own food and they were able to smoke sausages from the local animals.

One of the prisoners was Ulrich Steinhilper, a German fighter ace who shot down five RAF airplanes during the Battle of Britain before being shot down himself.

The camp closed in 1946 when the last of the prisoners had been repatriated.

The buildings were renovated an in July 1948, the camp re-opened as Leyland Holiday Village.

By the 1960s, the camp became a Jewish youth camp names Camp Aviv and offered Jewish youth a vacation area. Two fired in 1967 and 1968 destroyed the buildings and the camp was abandoned.

Today, all that remains of Camp 20 is concrete foundations, a fire hydrant, and parts of a fence. The site is now Ungerman Gateway Park.

Source Material: Ontario Abandoned Places web site – http://www.ontarioabandonedplaces.com/upload/wiki.asp?entry=2592.

 


Internment Camp No. 30:

Established in August 1941 on the grounds of the of a school for delinquent boys north of Bowmanville.

The camp was the site of “The battle of Bowmanville”. In October 1942, between 1,500 to 4,000 prisoners revolted against the POW guards after the were shackled as retribution to Germany’s new Commando Order.

The camp closed after the war and returned to civilian use, later becoming the Great Lakes College of Toronto.

Today the former camp is abandoned and the buildings are rapidly crumbling.

In 2013, Camp 30 was declared a National Historic Site. It remains unknown if the camp will be saved and restored or left to rot.


 

Internment Camp No. 31:

Established in 1940 at the historic Fort Henry in Kingston to house enemy merchant seaman and later soldiers.

The POW camp closed in December 1943, but in April 1945, the fort was used as No. 89 Military Detention barracks fro Canadian servicemen

The detention barracks closed in the summer of 1946 and the fort reverted to it’s pre-war status as a tourist attraction.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.

 


 

 

Internment Camp “C”:

Established at the Calydor Sanitarium in Gravenhurst in 1940.

The camp closed in June 1946. The Sanitarium burned down in the 1950s and nothing remains of the camp today.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.

 


 

Internment Camp “R”:

Established in 1940 at the former campsite for the Lake Sulphite Pulp and Paper Company, outside of Red Rock. The 48 abandoned bunkhouses that had previously housed construction workers became home to 1145 German prisoners-of-war. Guard duty was assumed by members of the Canadian Veterans Home Guard, a unit consisting of former WWI soldiers recruited back into uniform.

During the 18 month life of the camp, several prisoners made escape attempts. One prisoner was able to make his way to the United States, but was captured and returned to the camp.

In October 1941, the camp was closed and all prisoners transferred to other POW camps.

Source material: www.redrocktownship.com/article/the-prisoner-of-war-camp-128.asp.

 


Internment Camp 100:

Established in 1941 near Neys.  The camp was originally intended to hold mostly German POWs, called “greys”, but some Japanese-Canadians, called “blacks”, were interned at Camp Neys, one of nine such camps in Canada.

 

 

 

At the end of World War II, Neys was turned into a processing camp for POWs in the northwestern Ontario region. It was then turned into a minimum-security work camp for civilian prisoners from the Thunder Bay area, and finally dismantled in the 1950s.

 


 

Internment Camp “X” (Internment Camp 101):

Opened in January 1941 outside of Angler on a Canadian Pacific Railway siding. The camp initially held German prisoners but by June 1943, the Germans were sent to other camps and the camp held only Japanese prisoners.

The Camp closed in July 1946.Nothing remains of the camp today.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.

 


Canadian Army Trades School:

The Canadian Army Trades School occupied the former Libby Owen plant on Kenilworth Avenue North. Several administration and barracks buildings were added to the property to house trainee electricians, blacksmiths, machinists, cooks, carpenters, wireless and motor mechanics, bricklayers and armourers for a 30-week training course.

The Canadian Army Trades School operated from April 1941 until the end of 1944, graduating over 15, 000 students. The building was used as a vocational training school for returning veterans from May 1945 to May 1949.

Nothing remains of the training centre today. The property is now a parking lot.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.


Standard Barracks:

Standard Barracks was located in the Standard Underground Cable Building on Sherman Avenue North near Imperial Street. It was opened in 1940 for use by the Dufferin and Haldimand Rifles, who trained at the barracks for a few months before they Allanburg Barracks in Niagara.

The Perth Regiment then occupied the barracks until April 1941. In 1942, the Standard building then became a pottery factory, but the building has since been demolished.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontairo” by Paul Ozorak.


Little Norway (Toronto Island Airport) – Royal Norwegian Air Force base:

The “Little Norway” camp was officially opened on 10 November 1940 at the Toronto Island Airport. In May 1942, the training camp was moved to much larger facilities at the Muskoka Airport.

The airport is now the Billy Bishop Toronto City Centre Airport. Other than the airfield, othing remains of the WWII training facilities.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontario” by Paul Ozorak.


Little Norway (Muskoka) – Royal Norwegian Air Force base:

In 1942, the Royal Norwegian Air Force re-located their “Little Norway” training camp from the Toronto Island Airport to the Muskoka Airport outside of Gravenhurst. Larger barracks and improved facilities were constructed at the camp, which officially opened 4 May 1942.

The RNAF also made use of the Emsdale Airport, a small airport in Perry Township, north of Gravenhurst.

By the end of WWII, around 3,000 Norwegian Air Force personnel trained at the camp. The airport reverted to being a civilian airport but a military presence remained the airport.

In the post-war years, the airport was used by 424 (Light Bomber) Squadron (Auxiliary) from RCAF Station Mount Hope for summer camps. In the early 1950s, the airport was also designated as an emergency landing field for Air Defence Command and as a result, the runway was expanded to 6000 feet.

Today, the only WWII-era building that remains is a small, non-descript building just outside the main-gate of the prison that served as the payroll office.

A memorial building dedicated to the wartime school was officially opened on 25 September 2007 by Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and the Honourable Tony Clement, Minister of Health in the Canadian government. The museum hosts many artifacts, paintings, articles, books and memorabilia that tell the story of Little Norway. The museum will also ensure that future generations never forget the contributions made in the name of freedom by the Norwegians who trained at “Little Norway”.

This memorial building hosts many artifacts, paintings, articles, books and memorabilia pertaining to the Second World War occupation of the airport. It also ensures that future generations never forget the contributions made for freedom by the Norwegians who trained and were stationed at “Little Norway”.

The Emsdale Airport is still in operation as a private airport, with 2 grass runways in a X-pattern, one 2500 feet and the other 2000 feet. The WWII-era hangar also remains.

Source Material: “Abandoned Military Installations of Canada Volume I: Ontairo” by Paul Ozorak, the Little Norway memorial page of the Muskoka Airport – www.muskokaairport.com/memorial, Perry Township web site – www.townshipofperry.ca/history.html and the personal recollections of the author (1998-2009).


 

Little Norway Detachment (Emsdale) – Royal Norwegian Air Force base:

When the Royal Norwegian Air Force outgrew their training camp, Little Norway, at the Toronto Island Airport in 1942, they briefly moved the school to the Emsdale airport near Burk’s Falls, before establishing a permanent training camp at the Muskoka Airport near Gravnhurst. The Elmsdale Airport remained in use as a Relief Landing Field for Little Norway.

The school and the detachment closed in 1945.

All that remains of the is the airfield and the hangar, now in use as the Elmsdale Airport.

Source material: Past Forward Perspectives web site – http://www.pastforward.ca/perspectives/may_242002.htm, information provided by Fritz Deininger, Elmsdale Airport Authority (2015) and the personal recollections of the author (2012).

Permanent link to this article: http://militarybruce.com/abandoned-canadian-military-bases/abandoned-bases/ontario/

19 comments

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  1. Don Pitman

    A fantastic bit of work! The information is extensive and covers a lot of places I never heard of. Question: Have the old RADAR sites been listed elsewhere or did I just miss them?

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Don,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. The radar stations, Pinetree Line, Mid-Canada Line and the Distant Early Warning Line all have their own sections, although for the latter two, I haven’t completed histories on every station yet. This web site has been a 17 year work-in-progress. Just scroll down on the main “Military Bases” page and you should see them.

      Bruce

  2. Jaret Spencer

    Hey Bruce I didn’t see anything about the RCAF trades school in St. Thomas ON at the site of the Ontario Hospital
    south of town

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Jaret,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. Funny that you mention the trades school as I was thinking it was about time that I added it. For years, I have been concentrating on the major bases/detachments. I’ll add sometime soon.

      Bruce

      Bruce

  3. Shane

    Re: Royal Canadian Airforce Base.

    I just wanted to inform you before it closed down in the early 80s, it was called CFB Falconbridge. You are correct that is was a secondary landing strip for North Bay ‘ s CF100 Cunuck’s. But it’s primary purpose was its strategic position in participation of NORAD. It cover the James Bay Hudson Bay and polar north areas until it was shut down in the mid 80’s. It was moved to the cavern at North Bay with better and modern radar equipment. Regards Shane Cusack. From Falconbridge. And thank you. Great job keeping our military heritage alive

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Shane,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site and for the good words.

      Bruce

  4. herman bolger

    enjoyed reading about the abandoned bases.. very interesting.. was there not a base in Bracebridge Muskoka, when I lived there that was the story about our local airport, that it was a training base or something.. and that the Beaver Creek correctional facility in Gravenhurst was the barracks?? any truth to these stories ?? Thanks , it was an interesting read.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Herman,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. You are right that there the Muskoka Airport was a WWII training base. It was in fact, a Norwegian Air Force training station, Camp Norway, which replaced the original Camp Norway at the Toronto Island Airport (one that is also missing from my web page). I specifically left these ones out as they weren’t “Canadian” military bases, but perhaps I should add them to my web site since you have shown there is an interest in the history of these bases.

      By the way, I used to work at Beaver Creek and can tell you that the only WWII-era building that remains is a small, non-descript building just outside the main-gate of the prison that served as the payroll office (I’ll confirm if that is still so). I’ll add a photo of it, along with a brief place-holder entry as soon as I can.

      None of the current inmate units are WWII-era buildings. I originally thought that the inmate gym building was a WWII-era building, but I was told that was not true. One of my former co-workers was working a midnight shift when the last of the old hangars collapsed. He said it was quite a loud noise.

      Thanks for you interest and suggestion.

      Bruce

  5. Brian Lawrence

    Didn’t see CFB London on your list. First downsized in 1992 to a GSU and again in 1996 to an ASU. Highbury complex tore down and the footprint left in Wolseley BKS. ASU London was closed in 2013. Almost all the civilians were work force adjusted and those remaining along with regular force members were absorbed into 31 SVC BN as a technical platoon.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Brian,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. You can find CFB London in the “Closed Bases That Still Have A Military Presence – Ontario” section. I’ll add your information about the remaining Reg members becoming a Tech PL of 31 SVC BN.

      Bruce

  6. Jean macKay

    Love to see all this, but didn’t see Edgar Ont. I was there for four yrs. 1952- 1956. A lot of memories there. This site is wonderful, didn’t know so many stations were in Ont. didn’t see North Bay but must go over this site again, see what I missed. We were all so young. We are still having FCOs reunion after all this time. Memories, memories. Thanks.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Jean,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. You can find Edgar in the “Pinetree Line” section and you can find North Bay in the “Downsized Bases or Bases That Have Changed Their Function” section. I’m glad I brought you some good memories.

      Bruce

  7. John Broughton

    Great job, Bruce. I have only glanced over some of the closed bases and stations. Looked for St Catharines which was one of the BCATP training stations but did not find it. My Mom was an aeroengine mechanic in the RCAF reserve there during WWII. I followed in her footsteps and spent 32 years in the RCAF/CF much to the chagrin of my Dad who was a WWII army vet.

    John

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi John,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. You can find St. Catharines in the “Abandoned Bases – Ontario” section, No. 9 Elementary Flying Training School. That’s commendable that you spend 32 years in the RCAF. Did you serve at any of the bases listed on my web site (closed or downsized)? My Dad spent 51 years in the Army Reserve, but I joined the Navy Reserve. My Mom was RCAF Reserve in the 50s, so we had all 3 service branches covered.

      Cheers,

      Bruce

  8. Jim Harvey

    Hi Bruce

    BRAVO ZULU, Great Info.

    With regards to the former RCAF Station CENTRALIA, Prior to Centralia International Training Academy and Conference Centre occupying the former RCAF Station. It was the home of Centalia College of Agricultural Technology where I worked as a Commissionaire until its closier but I don’t recall the dates. Also, the Drill Hall as you called it was actually the Recreation Centre. The building had an annex for functions as well as a Bowling Alley, a double size gymnasium and a swimming pool that is no longer there. The recreation centre was also the home of 2923 Middlesex-Huron Army Cadet Corps. At some point a local company wanted more space so the Cadets where put out and the company took it over. The Cadet Corps now uses The Royal Canadian Legion in Exeter for their parades and training.

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hi Jim,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site and for the information. I’ll add it to the site. I’m usually at the mercy of my source material and I always appreciate hearing from people who were there and can add or make corrections to the information already posted.

      Bruce

      Bruce

      Bruce

  9. D.Hamilton

    Hello Bruce I was perusing your page when it brought to mind a point in my personal history and something that was told to me when I was younger and at camp I was at a camp run by The Sacred Heart Children’s Village …which is now demolished which was at St.Clair & Warden in Toronto but the camp was said to have been a Norwegian air force base or camp …..I was just wondering where it was located I was 6-10 years old and although I remember the lodge being made out of logs and the surrounding bunk houses I was to young to remember where this was in Muskoka …if you might know or have info on the camp and if it is still around that would be very cool to know as I would like to visit it before I get to old to ……thanks oh I was al this camp from around 1974-1977 from my memory ….wow look at that makes me feel old 🙂

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Hello,

      Thanks for stopping by my web site. The only Norwegian Air Force training camps in Ontario that I am aware of were on Toronto Island and in Muskoka (as you will see in the on the Abandoned bases – Ontario page). I’m not aware of any camp at St.Clair & Warden.

      Bruce

      1. D.Hamilton

        I’m sorry I was telling you that Sacred Heart Children’s Village was at those crossroads ….the supposed airbase was beside a lake in Muskoka nut i don’t remember that camp being big enough to launch aircraft …..lol sorry about the confusion

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