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Canada’s first aerodrome – Royal Flying Corps Camp Long Branch

April 2012

Residents of the Port Credit area of Mississauga will remember Ontario Power Generation’s Lakeview Generating Station on Lakeshore Road, which operated from 1961 until 2005.  Many will not know that the property has the distinction of being the first aerodrome in Canada and home to the first flying training school.

Camp Long Branch was situated on a 100 acre property on Lakeshore Road, just west of the current Dixie Road, in Toronto Township.  The aerodrome was officially opened on 20 May 1915 by Curtiss Aeroplanes and Motors Company as a flying training school.  Aircraft such as the Curtiss JN-4 “Jenny” soon became a common sight at the airfield, which included 3 aircraft hangars and a grass strip for landing.

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

By July 1917, the flight school had re-located to the Camp Armour Heights in the present Yonge Street/Highway 401 area. Long Branch then became the Cadet Ground Training School for the Royal Flying Corps. Both the school and the aerodrome closed in 1919.

Today, except for a historical plaque erected at the site in 1969, one would not know the roll that the property played in the history of aviation in Canada.

The Lakeview Generating Station was once famous in the area for its landmark four emissions stacks, known as “The Four Sisters, which could be seen from as far away as Burlington.  The stacks were demolished in 2006 and the rest of the complex in 2007.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/long-branch-aerodrome/

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