Many airports have shown imagination in devoting some of their scarce space for historical/educational purposes. Depending, some photos might be displayed and periodically rotated, or there are artifacts, models or complete aircraft on show. There might even be a museum adjacent to the airport, as at Victoria or Halifax. Whatever is on show, the airport authorities deserve credit for at least showing some interest in our aviation heritage.
Many years ago, when the new Terminal 1 at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport (“YYZ”) was in the planning stage, I wrote to the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (overseer of all things at YYZ), suggesting that it consider acquiring a dormant ex-Trans-Canada Air Lines Super Constellation. This was CF-TGE. I presented the “Super Connie” as a vibrant piece of aviation history and genuine modern art. The aircraft could be finely restored, then suspended from somewhere up in T-1’s wide-open ceiling vault. Such a display would add hugely to the ambiance in T-1, inspiring millions of travelers yearly. To this day, sadly, I’m still awaiting a reply from the GTAA about my crazy idea. In the meanwhile, the sharp-minded and visionary acquisitions people at Seattle’s Museum of Flight came along and scooped up CF-TGE. That’s where to go today to see this incomparably beautiful airplane appropriately displayed in TCA colours. We wrote about it here and here.
All is not lost, however. Thanks to the GTAA, YYZ does today have a small room that tells (in rotating displays) its story from pre-WWII times to the present. Late in 2015 this included a lovely cabinet set-up by local aviation history aficionado, Carl Mills. Carl spent years researching the history of the Trans-Canada Airlines Canadian-built Lancaster XPPs (sometime known as Lancastrians – the name that the British ascribed to their own civilianized Lancaster).
So … the next time you pass through YYZ T-1, ask any employee for directions to the GTAA history room and take a few minutes to enjoy its many displays. Too bad that you will not be awestruck by a full-size TCA Super Connie, but you will see a very lovely little model of one. Here are two views of Carl’s TCA Lancaster set-up, plus another featuring some of the locally-produced Avro Aircraft of Canada designs – the Jetliner and Avrocar.