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, 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 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.
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.
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.
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
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 197s 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, athough they remain boarded up for
potential future use. Additionally, the far east side of the former
station is used as part of the National Research Council's campus. One
of the buildings even has the Royal Canadian Corps of signals emblem in
stone above a doorway. This building was once occupied by E Squadron of
the Royal Canadian Corps of Signals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Goderich Aircraft 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 (2001) & "The Canada Flight Supplement 1999".
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. The east-west runway 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.
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 (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 (RCAF 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
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
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
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
In 1950, the former RCAF Detachment Edenvale was sold to Summervale
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.
In 2002, Toronto businessman Milan Kroupa purchased Lots 13 & 14
from the Federal Government (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.
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 manufacturing facility was also build on the west edge of the property. Later a grass runway and fine dining restaurant were also added. As well, a hotel and rental car service are proposed as future additions.
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 and the hangar to Collingwood.
Nine other buildings were sold to a neighbouring farmer.
For many years, the original farmhouse was the Sweetbriar Lodge Nursing
home, but it now serves as the administration building for the aerodrome and the Edenvale
Flying Club. The communications bunker also remains, but was sealed up
in the late 1990s.
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 - 2012), 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 -
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
The end of WWI RCAF Detachment Alliston was abandoned. The former
aerodrome was sold and returned to its original function as farmland.
Today, not the slightest trace remains of RCAF Detachment Alliston.
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) & "Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II:
Quebec" by Paul Ozorak.
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: a local resident of the Alliston area (2007).
Brentwood Transmitter Site:
Opened in the early 1960s along with the bunker at Camp Borden, the site
consisted of a single steel frame building and 16 transmitter towers.
The site closed in early 1988. All that remains is the 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), the
personal recollections of Ken Copeland, CFB Borden (2001) &
"Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec" by Paul
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. 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.
Source Material: the personal recollections of the author (2001) &
"Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec" by Paul
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. The school closed in 1945.
The Gatineu Gliding Club, originally founded in 1942 in the Gatineau hills, north of Ottawa, moved to Pendleton airfield in 1950. The club officially purchased the airfield in 1961.
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 Gatineu 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
The school closed in December 1944. The airport is still in use as the Oshawa Airport.
All that remains are 2 former administration buildings, a quonset hut and a shed, which now houses the R. Stuart Aviation Museum.
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 to hold surplus war equipment, but closed in 1946. The site is now the Brantford Municipal Airport.
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. The taxiway and the outline of the runways are pretty much all that remain from the
As of 2009, the Ontario Realty Corporation was in the process of demolishing all buildings in anticipation of turning the property 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).
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, but 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 (2001), "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.
No. 16 Service Flying Training School / Camp Hagersville:
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 1940.
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.
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 former camp is now the White Oaks Industrial Park. All the hangars, the drill hall and the PMQs remain. The abandoned and crumbling airfield and the gunnery backstop also remain.
RCAF Detachment Kohler also closed in 1945. Today the former aerodrome has two new occupants: the Haldimand 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) & (2005), the Toronto Motorsports Park web site - http://www.torontomotorsportspark.com & "Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario" by Paul Ozorak.
No. 31 Service Flying Training School:
No. 31 Service Flying Training School opened in 1942 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
* 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.
Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Mohawk:
Originally opened in early 1917 on a 350 acre property by the Royal Flying Corps as as a training 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.
Today the site is known as the Mowhawk Airport. Several of the WWII-era buildings remain, including two hangars, the maintenance garage and two other buildings. One of the tenants at the airport is the Mowhawk Bus Lines.
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 (2004).
Royal Canadian Air Force Detachment Gananoque:
Opened as a Relief Landing Field No. 31 SFTS in 1940. The Detachment closed in September 1945.
Today, the airport is operated by the Gananoque Sport Parachuting Club. Only the airfield, with crumbling sections, and the hangar with the control tower perched atop, remain today.
Source Material: "Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario" by Paul Ozorak & the personal recollections of the author (2004).
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 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.
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. 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 and until recently, the Canadian Emergency Preparedness College.
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.
Also remaining are four former RCAF buildings, including one h-hut and the station HQ building. 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) & "Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol II: Quebec" by Paul Ozorak.
No. 5 Initial training School:
Opened in Belleville by the RCAF in Auguast 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 Grandview Correctional School for Giels in Galt, now a part of Cambridge, in 1942 for the purpose of training women of the Women’s Royal Naval Service. The school closed in March 1945 and reverted to its pre-war function, which was later expanded to include delinquent boys. This facility closed in the late 1970s.
Source Material: "Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I:
Ontario" by Paul Ozorak.
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.
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 PMQ houses, known as Surrey Park, were placed under control of CFB Downsview.
The only remnants of CFB Oakville that remains today is a building now occupied by the Oaklands Regional Centre, a residential care and support facility for people with developmental disabilities. The PMQ houses were demolished in 2009.
Source Material: "Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I:
Ontario" by Paul Ozorak and the personal recollections of the author (2011).
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.
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 Band, 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 officially returned the land the Stony Point Native Band.
Most of the camp's World War II era "temporary" buildings remain, some
still occupied by Stony Point Native Band and some in better condition
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, the personal recollections of the author (2001), "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, personal recollections of Nathan Brown (2009).
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
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 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).
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.
No. 10 Canadian Army (Basic) Training Centre / No. 3 Canadian Women's Army Corps (Basic) Traiing Centre :
Originally opened as No. 10 Non-permanent Active Militia Training Centre, later changed to CA(B)TC, in 1940 in Knollwood Park in Kitchener. The camp was transferred to the Canadian Women's Army Corps in 1942 for their use for the remained or the war, although men's training continued at the camp simultaneously until 1943.
The women's training program was a four-week training course offering first aid, administration, map-reading and military fundamentals.
When the camp closed in October 1945, it was the last of the CWAC training camps in Canada to close. The CWAC also disbanded at the end of WWII, as Army Headquarters had already decided against contination of the corps post-war.
The former camp was used as a vocation training centre for returning servicemen, and briefly, as a training camp for the 48th Field Squadron of the Royal Canadian Engineers.
Of the camp's 40 buildings, only 2 remain today, used by sea and air cadets
Source Material: "Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I:
Ontario" by Paul Ozorak.
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. 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 Srigley 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 and York Region News - www.yorkregion.com/news/article/1236805--for-king-and-county.
Originally opened in 1942 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.
Source Material: "Abandoned Military Installations in Canada Vol I: Ontario" by Paul Ozorak and the personal recollections of the author (2004).
Camp No. 30 / Camp Brockville:
Camp No. 30 was originally established in the Ormond Street area in 1940. Its original purpose was to accommodate and train new recruits for the Canadian Army.
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.
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. In 1950, the RCR was transferred to Petawawa.
Nothing remains of the camp today. A portion of the former camp is now The Royal Canadian Regiment Park, which was officially dedicated in April 2011.
Camp Picton / No. 31 Bombing and Gunnery School:
Originally opened in April 1941 by the Royal Air Force as 31 Bombing and Gunnery School durng 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.
Special Training School #103 (Camp X) / No. 2 Oshawa Wireless Station:
Despite the current mission in Afghanistan, many Canadians still think of Canada as a "peacekeeper nation". Our military personnel have served or are currently serving on numerous missions world-wide as members of United Nations and NATO peacekeeping forces. However, during the Second World War, Canada played a significant role in many aspects of the war effort and distinguished itself in numerous battles and campaigns during the war. Not well publicized though, was Canada's contribution to "Secret War": Camp X.
In 1940, Great Britain and the Commonwealth were on the brink of defeat. The United States had not yet entered war and it was looking very grim for the Allied Forces. The Royal Air Force had fought a brave battle, The Battle of Britain, and held off a German invasion of the British Isles, but defeat at the hands of the Nazi war machine was a very real possibility. British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill saw what was happening and decided something had to be done. He instructed his friend, the head of the British Security Co-ordination (BSC), Canadian born World War I hero Sir William Stephenson, otherwise known as 'The Man Called Intrepid", to establish a training camp in Canada for the purpose of training secret operatives in the art of espionage.
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.
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, Montreal, 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.
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 Camp X Historical Society 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 call for the building to be moved back to Intrepid Park as part of a proposed museum and interpretative centre complex that will finally pay an overdue tribute to Camp X veterans. At the end of the war, there were no parades or official recognition. The Camp X veterans 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.
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 famous Camp X alumnus:
James Bond author Ian Fleming, who reportedly based the character of "M" on Sir William Stephenson. Fleming, a Royal Navy Intelligence Officer, initially didn't seem to have the cold-blooded ability to be a covert agent. While at Camp X, Fleming reportedly was set up to shoot a "captured enemy spy". Not knowing that the "spy" was actually an instructor and the pistol contained blanks, Fleming refused to shoot an unarmed and disadvantaged opponent. One could say that sadly, he later learned to do just that. Such was just one of the harsh realities of war and perhaps one reason why some veterans are reluctant to talk about their experiences.
Paul Dehn, who later became a noted Hollywood screenwriter of films such as Murder on the Orient Express, The Spy Who Came In from the Cold and the James Bond film Goldfinger.
Author Roald Dahl, writer of such children's books as James and the Giant Peach, Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory and Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Captain William Fairburn, a former Shanghais Policeman, who was brought aboard as a self-defence instructor. Fairburn was the creator of the "Fairburn Style", a hand-to-hand fighting style that he developed while working the mean streets of Shanghais. The "Fairburn Style" was essentially a "win at all cost" style, as Fairburn had a "dislike of anything that smacked of decency in fighting." (Quote taken from the book "The True Intrepid" by Bill MacDonald). Fairburn was also the co-creator of the double-edged commando knife.
No. 26 Central Ordnance Depot:
With the outbreak of the Cold War, came a need for new bases and additional ordnance depots.
Opened in 1952 in Cobourg, the Depot had all the amenities of a regular base including 6 warehouses, a central heating plant, firehall, permanent married quarters, and administrative buildings.
A reorganization and consolidation of the Canadian Military in the 1960s resulted in several Army, Navy and RCAF bases were either downsized, merged or closed. As a result, No. 26 Central Ordnance Depot closed on 31 August 1970.
Most of the former Depot remains as it did when it closed, now known as 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 (1998-2010).