The CANAV Books Story Part 6 + A Long-Ago Visit to the USAF Museum + More Vintage TTC + A Few Old Toronto Aerials

CANAV Books from Y2K to 2007

With today’s short section, our on-going CANAV Books history reaches the end of our era of randomly publishing titles. The last of these was Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange. Then began our “Aviation in Canada” era, which numbers eight titles into 2021. For today we’re covering Y2K to 2007 starting with our 3-volume history of the RCAF. This had begun a few years earlier as a project to produce a single book honouring the RCAF in its 75th year. However, as usually happens, the project took on a life of its own, ending in 2000-01 as our 3-volume Canada’s Air Force at War and Peace with more than 1000 pages.

All things considered (text, illustrations and presentation) “CAFWP” is a grand Royal Canadian Air Force history that readily complements the 3-volume RCAF Overseas official history (1944-45), and the DND’s subsequent 3-volume official RCAF history published in 1980, ’86 and ’94. I regularly nag CANAV readers about building a foundational library of all such RCAF books. Some have done so, of course, but far too many (pitifully) have capitulated to the internet as the source of all they need to know about the RCAF. I hope you don’t know any of these intellectual sellouts.

In some 20 years, not a negative word has been published about “CAFWP”, other than that Vol.4 remains conspicuous by its absence. Circumstances in 2001-03 kept delaying Vol.4, mainly a lack of funds. Time inevitably passed the project by. Happily, much of the material gathered for Vol.4 (CF-5, CF-104, etc.) will appear in our forthcoming RCAF 100 th anniversary blockbuster.

Here are a few “CAFWP” comments from our always well- informed and critical reviewers. To begin, Scale Aviation Modeller International selected “CAFWP” Vol.1 as its “Book of the Month”: “Well, what can we say! This is a book that truly deserves the ‘must have’ title… one that all RCAF and Canadian aviation fans will want…” Writes Airforce: “…the most comprehensive history of Canada’s air force ever produced.” Canadian Flight called Vol.1, “The grand-daddy of all Christmas presents for air force vets … a superb work to delight all RCAF or CF veterans.” Many such reviews ensued. Re. Vol.3, for example, Air Pictorial observed: “Milberry has excelled in this volume by combining riveting personal experiences from air and ground crews with an unrivalled selection of llustrations… rarely does a book so handsomely exceed the most sanguine expectations as does this outstanding publication.”

There’s a special price now for a 3-volume set of CAFWP: Canada $75 all-in, USA CDN$90 all-in, oversea CDN$180 all-in. Payment can be send directly by PayPal or Interac to CANAV’s email address larry@canavbooks.com … or post a cheque or money order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E3B6

Fighter Squadron 2003

For Fighter Squadron: 441 Squadron from Hurricanes to Hornets (2003) we still are awaiting the first negative review. In one case the journal “Combat Aircraft” could only say in its review (regarding the difficulty of getting any book about a squadron right): “They are intrinsically difficult to write … the overriding need is to get the right balance… [Fighter Squadron] has achieved the elusive balance … Everything about this volume has the feeling of authority and authenticity.” Due to the steep cost in finishing this project, it had to be priced accordingly. As a result, Fighter Squadron joined the ranks of those books we have published that were born of red ink and are wallowing in it to this day. C’est la guerre. If one is in history and in book publishing for the long haul, be ready to take your lumps. For now you can order a copy of Fighter Squadron at a real bargain. Anywhere in Canada $30 all-in, USA CDN$45 all-in, Overseas CDN$60 all-in Payment can be send directly by PayPal or Interac to CANAV’s email address larry@canavbooks.com … or post a cheque or money order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E3B6

The Leslie Corness and Wilf White “Propliner” Collections 2005 and 2006

Years ago CANAV Books honoured two dedicated aviation photographers: Leslie Corness of Edmonton, and Wilf White, residing in Glasgow in the very house where he lived since a lad. I had known these stellar fellows since the 1970s, when we would exchange photos and airplane “gen” of all kinds. Sadly, both fellows long since have passed on.

The Leslie Corness Propliner Collection was published in 2005, The Wilf White Propliner Collection in 2006. Each was splendidly received. The respected journal, Airways: The Global Review of Commercial Flight, was quick to react, describing “LCPC” as, “A photo album with style and intelligence … to be savoured.” Airways next wrote about “WWPC”: “Milberry’s treatment of his subject is personal and meticulous, the photo selection is … evocative, the captions knowledgeable and informative … thoroughly enjoyable.” Who put these bons mots together? None other than the beloved John Wegg, author of such world class books as Caravelle, Finnair: The Art of Flying since 1923, and General Dynamics and Their Predecessors. What an honour to be reviewed by such a “King of Aviation History”.

Then came Vol.39, No.11 of the UK’s beloved “Aircraft Illustrated” with another masterpiece of a review covering “WWPC”. Here is how UK book aficionado, Denis J. Calvert, lays the groundwork for his magazine’s review for November 2006: “A few weeks ago, a photo album arrived … which genuinely merits the title ‘Book of the Month’”. Denis concludes, “This volume, beautifully produced, offers the very highest quality … and comes confidently recommended.” Here is the full review. Also … you can order both of these outstanding books at: Anywhere in Canada $45 all-in, USA CDN$55 all-in, Overseas CDN$80 all-in. Payment can be send directly by PayPal or Interac to CANAV’s email address larry@canavbooks.com … or post a cheque or money order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E3B6

Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange 2007

When we published Canada’s Air Forces on Exchange in 2007, the usual string of top reviews appeared. In one case, reviewer Robert Merrick (RCAF ret’d), himself having had a USAF exchange on RF-4s, and at this time reviewing for the prominent “COPA Flight” journal, summed up his feelings: ““Truly an enlightening book … Those pondering the ideal Christmas gift for your local Fireside Aviator need look no farther.” “CAFEx” remains one of the best ever RCAF histories that focusses upon a specific (and rare) subject. No one who opens “CAFEx” is ever disappointed, other than at not finding himself listed in the index. Quite a few such fellows have contacted me over the years, the odd one being almost distressed. The best consolation I can offer is to suggest that he write the next book about exchange postings. What else is to be said? Although “CAFEx” lost CANAV a lot of money, I can’t imagine not having published such an important RCAF history. So ends today’s episode. Next time we’ll start into “Aviation in Canada”. For now you can order a copy of Fighter Squadron at a real bargain. Anywhere in Canada $40 all-in, USA CDN$55 all-in, Overseas CDN$70 all-in Payment can be send directly by PayPal or Interac to CANAV’s email address larry@canavbooks.com … or post a cheque or money order to CANAV Books, 51 Balsam Ave., Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4E3B6

The USAF Museum in 1964

For 1964 we local Toronto spotters didn’t do as much travelling as usual. I’d have to dig into the old files for a full explanation, but I’m pretty sure it was because the likes of Fred Guthrie, John Kerr, Nick Wolochatiuk and I were busy teaching school or doing university courses. Certainly, summer courses kept us grounded well into August. That’s when Nick and I decided to squeeze in a quick road trip the week before we returned to the classroom.

On August 26 we drove the Goderich airport on a rumour that there was a Lancaster to be seen. Good move, for we found ex-RCAF Lancaster FM213 recently arrived there to become a historic display. Happily, it still was on its own wheels, so was perfect for photography (it later went atop a pylon and today is airworthy with the Canadian Warplane Heritage). We also were happy to spot such planes as Fleet Finch CF-GER, Tiger Moth CF-IFB, Pitts Special CF-REH and Aeronca C3 N13886, but all were in the Sky Harbour hangar. We then pushed off for southern Ohio. Our mission? Visit the USAF Museum at Wright Patterson Air Force Base not far from Dayton. In the afternoon of the 27th we pulled in to a camp ground not far from “Wright Pat”.

Next day we spent several happy hours at the museum. Due to a shortage of hangar space, many aircraft still had to be kept outside. Meanwhile, it was so dark inside, that photography was hopeless. By contrast, today’s museum at Wright Pat is magnificent. Even where galleries are dark, today’s digital camera technology allows for photography. It’s also well worth a visit to the museum website, where you can take wonderful virtual tours. You’ll be able to spot most of the airplanes shown here – you can make a bit of a game with that. Don’t miss this, simply google: https://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/Visit/Virtual-Tour/

For today on the CANAV blog, here are a few photos that I took on this trip. These are un-retouched, just basic scans from my old “2¼” b/w negatives. Unfortunately, over the decades many of these negs have suffered in their individual glassine envelopes. Most hadn’t even been looked at for more than half a century, so I was disappointed finding so many to be blotched. I’d always assumed that the “glassines” we used for negative storage were the best solution. It’s hard to say what happened. Perhaps it’s more a humidity issue than a glassine issue? Happily, however, my trusty Epson V700 pro scanner has come to the rescue – I’ve been able to get a good basic scan in most cases. Some PhotoShop pro easily could make any one of these photos really sizzle. Anyways, on the CANAV Blog it’s a case of “content over form” any day of the week. After all, this isn’t a contest, just a hobby.

A Few Single Engine Planes

This is a small, random selection, starting with some of the fighters sitting outside that day at the museum. Stunningly attractive was this Bell P-63E Kingcobra 43-11728. For those not familiar, the P-63 and its predecessor, the P-39 Airacobra, had their engines installed behind the cockpit. Of the 3303 P-63s manufactured, 2397 went to our wartime ally, the Soviet Union. Mainly, they contributed to Stalin’s defeat of Japanese forces in and bordering on the eastern USSR. This example was flown postwar by Bell Aircraft, whose main factory was in Buffalo, NY. Bell flew ‘728 on experimental postwar projects. It was briefly with the Honduran AF in 1948, but soon was back at Bell, where it worked into 1958, when Bell donated it to the museum. This is an excellent P-63 site: https://acesflyinghigh.wordpress.com/2019/11/20/the-bell-p-63-kingcobra-all-hail-the-king/
Here’s the museum’s rare Japanese WWII Kawanishi N1K Shiden Kai fighter. Known to the allies as the “George”, this advanced fighter appeared late in WWII. It was fast, agile and well armed. Only four examples survive, three being in the US.
Nick and I had never seen such a vast collection with so many aircraft types, so our USAF Museum visit was eye watering from start to finish. Here is the North American P-82B Twin Mustang – it literally was that. On his website, the great Joe Baugher notes of 44- 65168: “The plane (named ‘Betty Jo’) set a record by flying from Hawaii to New York City nonstop on Feb. 27, 1947, covering 5051 miles in 14 hrs 33 min at an average speed of 334 mph. This was the longest nonstop flight ever made by a propeller-driven fighter.” In 1950-57, ‘168 was at the Lewis Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio flying experimental ram-jet engine missions. It joined the museum in 1957.
One surprise after another. The sight of a Northrop P-61C Black Widow made our trip more exciting than ever. Delivered too late for wartime operations, 43-8353 found work starting in 1947 doing thunderstorm research from Clinton County AFB, Ohio (SE of WPAFB). In 1948 it moved to Wright Field near Dayton to work in experimental radar research. From 1949 – 53 it could be seen in Urbana, Ohio as a static billboard advertising the Boy Scouts. The Scouts donated it to the museum in 1958. With its limited resources, the museum put a standard night fighter colour scheme on ‘353. Everyone wandering by this day at WPAFB was much impressed by the awesome “Black Widow”. You can see how each of these aircraft looks today by spending some time playing with the museums virtual tours.
Several experimental fighters from early post-WWII days caught our eye at WPAFB. The Republic YF-84F and McDonnell XF-85 Goblin were totally exotic, having been designed as “parasite” fighters. As such, they would be appendages on SAC’s B- 36 global bomber – the epitome of “power projection” back in the day. You can see the special gear used to dock with the “mother” plane. Should enemy fighters threaten a bomber, it could launched its parasites to provide air cover, then recover and refuel them (all going well, which it never would, of course). The general idea from parasite fighters dates to WWI, then was pursued in the 1920s-30s using US Navy airships. Millions were spent on these R&D programs over the decades. In the end no practical use was found for parasite fighters. Happily, these examples have been preserved by the USAF Museum. You can find masses of info about all these individual aircraft on the web. Wiki is especially handy to get “the basics”.
The late 1940s engendered many advanced fighter designs including the long-range Republic XF-91 Thunderceptor. Prototype 46-680 first flew at Edwards AFB on May 9, 1949. It’s said that ‘681 burned in a crash, so it’s a bit confusing seeing ‘681 on the tail of the survivor of the two XF-91s. Check the entry for 46-0680 and ‘681 on Joe Baugher’s 1946 list of USAF serial numbers, also the excellent Wiki entry. Of the other great concepts from these days, the Convair XF-91 evolved into the F-102, then the F-106, while the McDonnell XF-88 evolved into the F-101 Voodoo.
The USAF Museum had two of its historic “X Planes” in the air park in 1964 – the Douglas X-3 Stiletto and the Northrop X-5. The sole X- 3, which looks like its moving at the speed of heat even though it’s sitting still, first flew at Edwards AFB on October 20, 1952. It was intended for Mach 2-Mach3 research, but was underpowered and hard-pressed to reach Mach 1. See the excellent Wiki X-3 page. The X-5 was the first aircraft having in-flight, variable-swept wings. Two X-5s were built, ‘838 being No.1 (first flight February 15, 1951). X-5 No.2 crashed fatally at Edwards AFB on October 14, 1953. No. 1 was used at WPAFB into 1958. The best books on this subject are Vols. 1 and 2 of The X-Planes by Jay Miller.
Another exotic fighter in the air park in 1964 was Convair F- 106 prototype 56-0451. As the YF-106A, it first flew at Edwards AFB on December 26, 1956. It was delivered to the museum from Convair in San Diego on March 27, 1960. In 1989 it was trucked from WPAFB to the museum at Selfridge AFB. There you can see it marked as 59-0082. The USAF Museum now has F-106 58-0787, which gained accidental fame for having landed in tact one day after the pilot ejected. ‘787 later returned to service. In 1986 it retired from the 49 th FIS at Griffiss AFB, from where it found its way to the USAF Museum.
The museum’s Douglas B-18A Bolo 39-0025. An offshoot of the DC-2, the B-18 was a modern bomber when delivered in 1937, but was hopelessly obsolete by 1941. However, it performed useful service with the USAAC flying coastal and anti-submarine patrols, and as a trainer and transport. It also served well in the RCAF as an early anti-submarine type on the East Coast, even sinking one U- boat. About 350 B-18s were built. Five survive in US museums. See the amazingly detailed history of this B-18 at Joe Baugher’s page for 1939 USAF serial numbers. ‘025 resides today in the museum at Lowry AFB, Colorado. Postwar, it even had been used by Castro revolutionaries to run guns from Florida.
The museum’s Douglas A-20G 43-2220 still looked fine in 1964 after its first few Ohio summers and winters spent outdoors. ‘220 had never been under fire, and actually had been a high speed USAAF transport in 1945. Postwar, it served a long list of companies as an executive plane, before landing at WPAFB for handover to the museum in the early Sixties.
Joe Baugher summarizes the museum’s B-24J 42-72843 in his 1942 USAF serial numbers list: “In August 1943 it was assigned to Herington Army Air Base, KS, for acceptance flight and training. On August 23, 1943 it began its flight to Egypt, via Maine, Newfoundland, Scotland, Cornwall, England, Morocco and Algeria, arriving at Deversoir Field, Egypt on September 7 th . After combat modifications, the plane was delivered to the 512th Bombardment Squadron, 376th Bombardment Group, at Benghazi, Libya. After two combat missions, the squadron moved to Enfidaville, Tunisia, from where it flew seven combat missions (on one of which it suffered damage from anti-aircraft fire). On November 11th it moved to San Pancrazio, Italy. It was there that it picked up its name, Strawberry Bitch, and Vargas Girl. From there it flew eight more combat missions, the last on being on February 2, 1944. Due to its age and obsolescence, the plane was sent back to the USA in April The year 1945 found the plane stored at Freeman Field, IL, intended for use as a museum aircraft. On May 9, 1946 it was flown to Orchard Park, IL (now known as Chicago O’Hare), and a month later to Davis- Monthan AFB, AZ for storage. On May 12, 1959 the plane was flown to the Air Force Museum at Patterson Field, OH.” Happily, the museum has seen fit not to bow to political correctness about having a “non-PC” name on a famous old bomber. It’s still displayed as “Strawberry Bitch”. Horror of horror, non! Beyond is one of the museum’s two B-36s — YB-36 42-13571. Later, the museum deemed ‘571 to be surplus and it was sold for pots and pans. We might shake our heads at this, but sometimes museums have tough decisions to make.
B-29 44-27297 ”Bocks Car” is the very aircraft that dropped a “Fat Boy” atomic bomb on Nagasaki on August 9, 1945. In 1964 it was looking a bit rough, but a glorious restoration lay ahead. Along with the bombing of Hiroshima two days earlier by the B-29 “Enola Gay”, these missions brought to war against Japan to a swift end. Although today’s history re-writers, anarchists, America-haters, etc. loath hearing such things, the alternative was many more months of fierce warfare that would have cost millions more lives. So … there’s no doubt about it to anyone who has a clue about the actual history of WWII — these two bombers are American heritage treasures par excellence. ‘297 is named for the skipper of its crew late in the war, Capt Frederick C. Bock. However, Maj Charles W. Sweeney’s crew flew “Bock’s Car” on the Nagasaki mission. The Wiki entry gives an excellent summary of all things to do with ‘297. It flew into WPAFB for the museum on September 26, 1961. “Enola Gay” resides at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. In modern years two other B-29s have been restored to flying condition in the United States.
Sitting in a distant corner away from the museum was a glorious sight — Convair B-36J Peacemaker 52-2220. It first had joined the 11th Bombardment Wing at Carswell AFB, Texas in January 1954. It later served the 42 nd BW at Loring AFB, Maine, and the 95 th BW at Biggs AFB, Texas. It flew in to WPAFB for the museum on April 30, 1959. This was the last ever B-36 flight. The Wiki B-36 site is well worth a visit. Some other good sites include: Six Turning Four Burning – Convair B-36 “Peacemaker” (HD) YouTube · Petittwo Nov 3, 2016, Inside The Convair B-36 Peacemaker, Youtube, The Flight of the last B-36 Peacemaker – Avgeekery.com, B-36: Bomber at the Crossroads, History
A one-of-a-kind transport on display at WPAFB in 1964 was YC-124A Globemaster II 42-65406. The prototype C-124, it had begun in 1946 as a C-74 Globemaster I. It first flew on November 27, 1949 and later operated as a day-to-day USAF transport until retired to the museum. Too bad, but the museum eventually decided that ‘406 was “too big”, so handed it over to the base fire department as a training aid. As such it was burned and re-burned in practice fires until no longer of any use. Most countries have such black marks in their aviation history records. Canada, for example, once had a chance to save the prototype Avro CF-100. 18101 eventually went for scrap from storage at Lethbridge. No institution wanted it, one museum “explaining” that it was not a representative CF-100, since it had used British engines. Talk about a disgrace! Of course, the inexcusable destruction of all six finished CF-105s remains the blackest mark on Canada’s aviation heritage. Once again … be sure to visit to USAF Museum website. By taking some of the virtual tours you’ll see how the aircraft Nick and I saw in August 1964 appear 57 years later.

A Few More TTC Scenes

Have you had a look our earlier blog articles covering Toronto Transit Commission streetcars over the decades? If not, you can scroll back and have a look. After all, any grown-up aviation fan revels in all forms of transportation and the joys of photographing them.

Today, I’m adding a few TTC scenes that I captured long ago – photos of some unusual work cars plus some busses of the Sixties. The work cars were used on a host of duties including rail grinding, clearing snow and delivering supplies and equipment to track construction sites, etc. Many of these units were built around retired TTC passenger cars. The snow plowing cars disappeared by 1980, when city works took over the job, while the rail grinders made their final runs in 1999.

TTC snow sweeper S-41 at the Roncesvalles car barns at Queen and Roncesvalles on February 9, 1969. Twelve such cars were acquired in the 1940s. Note that these had a sweeper at each end. They also had double-ended controls. Any such car always caught the keen observer’s eye and excited any photographer, especially on such a bright winter’s day. What a sight so late in the game was such a “prehistoric beast” . The last I saw one of these at work was in the Sixties as it was sweeping the loop at Queen and Coxwell one night. Two such cars survive. S-36 is in the Shore Line Trolley Museum in Connecticut, the S-37 is in the Halton County Railway Museum in west of Toronto.
General purpose work cars with snow ploughs: W-1 at Russell barns at Queen St. East and Connaught Ave. on June 15, 1969; and W-5 at Hillcrest barns up Bathurst St. on September 19, 1969. Behind W-1 is TP-11, a car that specialized in snow clearing.
W-3 westbound on Carleton St. a bit west of Parliament St. in October 1975. Looks like it has some rails on its bed. Today W-3 resides at the Shore Line Trolley Museum (check out their website).
While snooping around at Hillcrest on June 7, 1969 I was lucky to catch crane car, C-2. You easily can envision C-2 craning heavy steel rails some place along the line where old rails were being removed and new ones laid. C- 2 is preserved with the Ohio Railway Museum in Worthington, Ohio.
The TTC’s famous rail grinder W-28 seemed to be endlessly out on the job. Here it is westbound at Queen and Simcoe streets leading a couple of PCCs in October 1975. W-28 today is with the Halton County Railway Museum.
Restored Peter Witt car 2894 on a tourist run westbound on Queen St. at Beech Ave. in September 1975. This famous type served the TTC from 1922 to 1965. Not counting trailers, there were more than 500 TTC Witts. This example is preserved with the Halton County Railway Museum. I often rode Peter Witts on Kingston Road, Queen St., Roncesvalles and Weston Road, when I was a boy in the 1950s.
This former TTC Peter Witt while in service on Toronto Harbour in the 1970s as the Seamens Mission. Visiting sailors were welcomed to drop by for a snack, to relax, read and socialize. Such landmarks always fade away. Does this historic “building” still exist somewhere else?
Naturally, photographing TTC busses always interested us. Life had much more to offer than plane spotting. Just as TCA had DC-3s, Viscounts, North Stars, etc., the TTC had an interesting variety of busses. Here is Twin Coach Model 41-S 1336 at the Castle Frank station on the Bloor St. subway line on March 27, 1969. Built in Kent, Ohio, the 41-S had 41 seats. The TTC acquired 75 of these in 1948, then got stellar service from them for many years.
GMC Model TDH-4507 at the Coxwell and Danforth TTC car barns in May 1975. It was part of a batch of 20 units acquired in 1948.
The TTC only ran 10 of these Mack C-50-Ts. Usually I saw them only on Spadina Ave. This was a 50-seat bus. Notice how each bus maker had its distinctive look. Check out the classic Mack logo.
TTC GMC bus 2155 was a “stretched” early-1960s iteration of the 1940s TDH series. I spotted 2155 in May 1971 as it waited on Gerrard St. E. in front of Riverdale Collegiate.
The City of Toronto Archives holds this excellent photo of 2155 taken during maintenance.
This is my first shot of one of the TTC’s GMC “New Look” busses. I saw 3126 at the docks around the foot of Bay St. on October 12, 1963. I shot it with my twin lens Minolta using “120” Ektachrome. The “New Look” series became Toronto’s most widely-used bus design. It has lasted into the 21 st Century.

For more info about the historic TTC fleet these are 3 of many excellent sites on the web: https://cptdb.ca/wiki/index.php/Toronto_Transportation_Commission#Streetcars

https://transittoronto.ca/bus/8510.shtml

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_streetcar_system_rolling_stock#Work_cars

Toronto from the Air

I started shooting aerial views of Toronto in 1961 and have never missed a chance to keep up on this exciting sideline. My first few photos really were “accidental” in that I was shooting air- to-airs of airplanes, where Toronto happened to be in the background. Here is (by far) my favourite such shot. Joe Reed of AIRGO (based at Toronto Island Airport) had asked me to shoot some of his planes for publicity reasons, but AIRGO soon was broke, so I doubt that my photos were of much use. The date for this scene was March 10, 1961, the view is NNE as we flew westward over the city across the Lake Ontario shore. I was up in AIRGO Ce.172 CF-LWE. We had the door off, so it was great fun in the open air on a fine day as we formated on Cessna T-50 CF-HXW. Its paint job? A very nice powder blue and white. The T-50 looks super and the Toronto background is astounding for its breath and detail. I especially love how the central business district stands out with the Bank of Commerce especially prominent – it still was Canada’s tallest building at 34 storeys. You can see how the city spreads out from the CBD. Check out the Don River Valley cutting north-south with the Bloor Street viaduct spanning it. The viaduct had opened up great new stretches of land for urban development especially along the key new thoroughfare – Danforth Avenue. The urban-rural divide at this time looks to be about where today’s 401 Hwy cuts east-to-west. That’s likely the new 401 corridor stretching away to the east just beneath “HXW’s” tail. Down in the bottom right you can see a hint of Toronto’s vast railway yards. (I’ll dig out some other Toronto CBD aerials for future use here.)
On an earlier trip, on February 12 Joe Reed put me in Luscombe CF-LVV to photograph AIRGO’s new (1960) Cessna 172, CF-MTT. Someone will be able to write a paragraph about what’s below, as we flew parallel to the “The Queensway” just a bit west of High Park. Looks like the Humber sewage plant on the lower right, and the north edge of the Ontario Food Terminal below us across the bottom. The Humber River meanders just under the tail. Talk about getting the camera-perfect angle on a 1-72, no! In 2021 “MTT” was based near Pembroke, Ontario with Laurin Jones, who recently spent three years restoring it. Total time on “MTT” since 1960 is about 5000 hours.
A more recent scene: I took this westward view across Toronto Bay towards the CBD and beyond on November 20, 1972. For some dumb reason I didn’t log this flight, so can’t say from which plane or chopper it was taken. There are so many features here, from the foreground showing how industrialized the eastern harbour still was. Today? Very few of these features remain, certainly the tank farms all are long gone. However, there still are mountains of road salt stored along the ship channel. Look at all the ocean-going ships, at least ten. These were the days when Toronto would welcome 700+ large freighters a year. Today? Maybe 30 will visit in an entire year. Check out the skyline. Things definitely were starting to happen. Today, skyscrapers stretch westward from the CBD in a solid wall of concrete and glass as far as you can see. Notice the lovely old Bank of Commerce — it’s there to this day.
Here’s a close-up of one of the ships that day. This was 49 years ago, the Greek-registered MV Ioanna was in from China with a load of electronics and medical supplies. Getting a shot like this makes me think I must have been in a chopper this day. There are several outstanding Great Lakes websites. A good one to check out is http://www.greatlakestoday.org
Going on foot in this part of Toronto Harbour, all sorts of great subject matter met any photographer any day of the week. Snooping around along Unwin Ave. on March 10, 1972 I came across a mountain of ex-RCAF F-86s and T-33s ready to go into the melting pot at Bristol Metals. What a sight, eh! I wish I’d kept closer tabs on this operation over the days, but at least I took a few shots this day. Another day I spotted a ship at one of the Toronto terminals that had a deck cargo of T-6 Texans from some African country. They were headed up the lakes to Chicago. I’ll dig out some more such photos for future use on the blog.
A nifty June 26, 1970 north-looking view of the Richard L. Hearn hydro generating station at the east end of Toronto Harbour’s shipping channel. The two ships are tied up in the “eastern turning basin” at the head of the channel. You can see that this part of the city mainly was an industrial cesspool in 1970. The Hearn was burning coal upwards of 3 million tons of which were stored here at a time. The new Hearn 70-foot stack is almost finished in this scene. The three stacks pumping it out in mid-view pinpoint a city incinerator. It’s also long-since closed. Cutting across the middle is the Gardiner Expressway. This stretch since has been removed in favour of an improved version of Lakeshore Blvd. You wouldn’t recognize this area today if it weren’t for the Hearn, which still stands as a giant industrial era ghost. Opened in 1951, it closed for good in 1983.
For wider perspective, here’s a view back down the shipping channel looking west. The new stack by this time was in service. In the distance is the Eastern Gap, Toronto Bay and the Toronto Islands. I caught this view on November 10, 1973.
Here’s the Hearn on July 27, 1993 as photographed from a Cameron Air Cessna 206 while Rick Radell and I were returning to Toronto Island after doing an air-to air shoot with a Sunderland flying boat. You can see the beginning on urban renewal vs the previous shots. The Hearn is closed, so is the incinerator across the street. Several grubby old factories by now are vacant lots, but the eastern Gardiner is still standing. Vast changes have taken place since, so I look forward to another photo flight down this way.
Two closer-in views over the CBD (probably from a helicopter). In these photos, taken on June 8, 1970, you can see the famous Royal York Hotel, the twin Toronto Dominion Centre towers (the first modern skyscrapers in the CBD) and the Bank of Commerce tower under construction. Many of the old buildings seen here long-since have been demolished.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s