Page 33 of 65
Canadian Forces College (Armour Heights):
Originally established as a training base for the newly formed
Royal Flying Corps in July 1917, one of three in the Toronto area. An
airfield was constructed near the site of the present Avenue Rd and 401
interchange, and early the following year, the School of Special Flying
opened. Student pilots received instruction on the basics of flight,
aerial reconnaissance and aerial combat. However, the school had a
short life as it closed around the time the Armistice was signed in
In 1919, Bishop-Barker Airplanes Limited, founded by World War I Royal
Flying Corps veterans William "Billy" Bishop and William Barker, took
over the Armour Heights aerodrome. This business venture was also
short-lived, closing in 1921, and one of Canada's busiest airfields at
the time was simply abandoned.
The property came back into military hands in 1942, when the
RCAF acquired the property for the RCAF War Staff College, which
officially opened on 1 August 1943. When the War ended in 1945, the
college was re-designated as simply the RCAF Staff College.
The college became a tri-service college in 1966, re-named the
Canadian Forces College (CFC). Today, the CFC teaches the Command and
Staff course to officers of all three service branches.
The Armour Heights property has changed greatly since 1917, and
is now completely surrounded by residential and commercial development.
Most of the college's original buildings have been demolished and
replaced with modern ones like The Ralston Residence, a 95 suite barrack
block and the Dextraze Fitness Centre. The only exception is the stone
building currently housing the Armour Heights Officers Mess, built in
1914 as the home of Colonel F.B. Robins, Honorary Colonel of the Toronto
Not the slightest trace remains of the airfield today.
Source Material: the Canadian Forces College web site:
http://www.cfc.forces.gc.ca/home_e.html, information supplied by Major
M.D. Pollard (Ret'd), Webmaster, Canadian Forces College (2004), the
Lost Rivers web site - http://www.lostrivers.ca/points/air.htm, the
National Archives of Canada -
http://www.archives.ca/05/0518/05180203/0518020303_e.html & the
personal recollections of the author (1998).
22 Wing North Bay:
22 Wing North Bay has it's beginnings when the RCAF began using the North Bay Airport as a refuling and meal-stop for it's pilots. By 1942, No. 124 Squadron, RCAF, set up a seven-man detachment at the airport to handle these services.
What is not 22 Wing North Bay was estabished as RCAF Station North Bay in 1951, a flying training school and
fighter base. Several fighter squadrons were established including 430
Day (Fighter) Squadron, re-formed at North Bay 1 November 1951,
transferring to 2 Wing Grostenquin a year later, 445 All Weather
(Fighter) Squadron, formed on 1 April 1953 and 443 All Weather (Fighter)
Squadron, who arrived from RCAF Station Cold Lake in October 1955.
419 All-Weather Fighter Squadron re-formed at RCAF Station North Bay on
15 March 1955 and shortly afterward moved to 4 Wing Baden-Soellingen.
445 All Weather (Fighter) Squadron also departed, re-locating to 1 Wing
Marville, France in November 1956. 443 All-Weather Fighter Squadron
moved to RCAF Station North Bay from RCAF Station Cold Lake on 15
November 1954. The squadron disbanded there on 1 August 1961.
With the establishment of the the North American Air Defense Command
NORAD) in 1958, RCAF Station North Bay was selected as the Canadain Air
Operations Control Centre. Beginning in 1959, an under ground complex
was constructed 600 feet below the ground. The control centre was
equipped with the Semi Automatic Ground Environment (SAGE) tracking
system to provide surveillance, identification, control, and warning for
the defence of Canada and North America. The initial computer used was
as big as 12 houses, weighing 275 tons, with a memory of 256 k. It was
replaced in the 1980s with a system the size of a single garage.
Air Defence Command Headquarters was established at the station in 1962.
With the introduction of the BOMARC missile to Canada, one of the two
sites picked was at a site north of RCAF Station North Bay on Highway
11. A small site was constructed to hold 28 missiles, held in storage
units known as "coffins". The "coffins' had a retractable roof that
allowed the missile, which was stored in a horizontal position, to be
elevated to the upright position for launch.
The BOMARC site remained operational until 1972 when the BOMARCs were de-activated and 446 Squadron disbanded.
No. 131 Composite Unit was former in 1962 as a transport unit for personel and equipment. The squadron disbanded in 1967.
From December 1967 until August 1972 there were no flying units at CFB North
Bay. The airfield portion of the base, at one time a thriving fighter
station, fell largely into disuse. One of its main hangars,
employed in the servicing and housing of heavily-armed jet
interceptors, was converted into an ice rink, and saw year-round use by
hockey leagues, figure skating clubs and various other civilian entities
in and around the City of North Bay.
In August 1972, 414 Squadron returned to North Bay from RCAF Station St Hubert,. Now an electronic warfare unit, 414 Squadron trained flying and ground air
defence personnel how to fight a war when an enemy has disrupted radar
systems and radio communications. The squadron earned
considerable renown and notoriety for its abilities, and its services
were frequently requested by the navy and by American armed forces. The squadron flew the CF-100, CC-117
Also re-locating were a detachment at CFB Ottawa (South),
and the Air Weapons Control & Countermeasures School.
In 1992, 414 Squadron was split into two parts with one part going to CFB
Comox as No 414 Composite Squadron and the other part going to CFB
Greenwood as 434 Composite Squadron.
In 1993 the squadron changed its name to No 414 Combat Support Squadron
when it was equipped with the CT-133 Silver Star, the CT 117 Falcon and
the EF 101 Voodo. The Squadron was disbanded in 2002 when its duties
were contracted out to a civilian company. In 2007, the squadron was
re-formed at 3 Wing Bagotville.
As a result of the Unification, the Station was re-named CFB North Bay in 1966.
By 1976, CFB North Bay's future was in doubt and the appointment of
Colonel Robert White as Base Commander was originally part of a plan to
close the base. However, Colonel White convinced Air Command and NDHQ
to instead upgrade and modernize the underground facility.
The introduction of the Wing concept at Air Force establishments resulted in the base being re-named 22 Wing North Bay in 1993.
In 1996, 22 Wing began the process of downsizing due to reductions in
Canada's Air Force. All flying squadrons departed and 22 Wing ceased to
be a fighter base.
In 1997, the Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters re-located to 17 Wing Winnipeg, but the operations centre remainded. The
Air Base Property Corporation took over the parts of the base now deemed
surplus and established a new Aerospace Park. Some of the tenants of
the Aerospace Park are Canadore College's School of Aviation, The
Integrated Transport Initiative International Intermodal Center and
Bombardier Aerospace. The airfield is now the Jack Garland Airport.
Although 22 Wing North Bay is no longer a fighter base, it remains
Canada's NORAD base. 21 Aerospace Control and Warning (21 AC&W)
Squadron, who moved to North Bay from CF Detachment St. Margaret's in
1988, provide monitoring of North America, including assisting the RCMP
with surveillance in drug interdiction operations involving aircraft
crossing Canadian territory. All NORAD information collected is
forwarded to the NORAD Headquarters in Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado. As
well, 51 AC&W (Operational Training) Squadron conduct training for
Aerospace Control and Warning at North Bay.
22 Wing even hosts a United States Air Force unit, 922 Support Squadron
and the Royal Canadian Air Cadets Central Region Advanced Aviation
Technology Courses operates at the airport.
The NORAD bunker was closed in October 2006. A formal march-out parade
was held on 26 March 2006, ending 43 years of operations in the bunker.
The personnel from 21 AC&W Squadron staff moved into a new, state
of the art 2-story above ground complex. The new installation was named
the Sgt David L. Pitcher Building, in honour of a Canadian Forces Air
Defence Technician who was killed in the crash of an E-3 Sentry Airborne
Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft, call sign Yukla 27, at
Elmendorf Air Force Base, Alaska, on 22 September 1995.
The Canadian Forces Housing Agency still maintains 184 PMQs (now called Residential Housing Units) for military members.
Source Material: 22 Wing North Bay web page -
http://www.city.north-bay.on.ca/22wing/22wing.htm, the Jack Garland
Airport Web Page - http://www.city.north-bay.on.ca/airport, the North
Bay Integrated Transport Initiative web site -
http://www.city.north-bay.on.ca/nbiti/index.htm, History of the 400
Series Squadrons -
Maple Leaf" magazine, dated 6 February 2002 and, information supplied by the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (2011), the personal observatios of the author (2012) & "Sentinel" Magazine
from July 1976.
Canadian Forces Detachment Mountain View:
Originally opened on 23 June 1941 under the British
Commonwealth Air Training Plan as No. 6 Bombing & Gunnery School
(No. 6 B&GS). The station was later re-designated RCAF Station
Mountain View when No. 6 B&GS became known as the Ground Instruction
School and was amalgamated with the Air Armament School No. 6 B&GS
from RCAF Station Trenton. Both schools moved to RCAF Station Trenton
In 1946, the RCAF Fire-fighting School moved to Mountain View
from RCAF Station Trenton and remained until it moved again to RCAF
Station Aylmer in 1951. That same year, Mountain View was reduced to a
detachment RCAF Station Trenton and remains so to this day.
Today, the main use of CFB Trenton Mountain View Detachment is the storage
and overhaul of older aircraft. This facility belongs to the Aerospace
and Telecommunications Engineering Support Squadron (ATESS) based at
Units located at Mountain View include Trenton's Aircraft
Development Maintenance Unit and the Royal Canadian Air Cadets Central
Region Gliding School, who operate one of eight summer Regional Gliding
Centre at the airport.
Only two of the World War II era hangars remain (hangars 1
& 6), which were designated Federal Heritage buldings in 2003. Hangars 2, 3 & 5 were torn down in 2007. The airfield
remains in use, but all the barracks are long gone.
On 8 September 2000, the Canadian Parachute Centre at 8 Wing
Trenton opened its new drop zone at Mountain View. Drop Zone Hodgson was
dedicated to the memory of Chief Warrant Officer Robert Hodgson, MMM,
CD, who died of cancer in November 1999 after 29 years service with the
Royal Canadian Regiment. CWO Hodgson had served as the first Regimental
Sergeant Major of the Canadian Parachute Centre after its move from CFB
Edmonton to 8 Wing Trenton in 1996. The CPC is now known as the Canadian Forces Land Advanced Warfare Centre.
In 2006, a new gravel runway was constructed parallel to the
existing runway provide Hercules aircraft crews a venue to hone
essential skills of landing on austere landing strips such as in
Source Material: "Sentinel" Magazine from July - August 1969,
pg 17 & November - December 1971 pg 2, information supplied by the
Camp Borden Museum, "Wings For Victory - The Remarkable Story of the
British Commonwealth Air Training Plan in Canada" by Spencer Dunmore,
DND news release -
http://www.8wing.trenton.dnd.ca/news/2000/11/cfbpec.htm, the Central
Region Cadet Gliding School web site -
http://www.8wing.trenton.dnd.ca/crhq/central-e.htm#top The Garrison.
Newspaper from 18 October 2000, information supplied by Capt. Beth
Wakulczyk, Public Affairs Officer, 8 Wing Trenton, information supplied
by Drew A. Craig, 8 Wing Trenton, Wing Environmental Officer (2008) and
the "RCAF Station Trenton" web site at www.rcaf.com.
Canadian Forces Reserve Barracks Hamilton:
Commissioned on 1 October 1941 on the dockyards of Burlington
Bay as His Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) STAR, this was once the third
most important Naval training facility in Canada and the fifth largest.
As the new home for the Hamilton Half Company of the Royal Canadian
Naval Volunteer Reserve, later re-named HMCS STAR Naval Reserve
Division, this was the first place many naval recruits saw during the
Second World War.
In 1952, STAR's importance as a naval training facility
bolstered by the establishment of the Great Lakes Training Centre. Two
reserve training ships, HMCS Porte St Louis and HMCS Porte St. Jean,
were permanently stationed at HMCS STAR. The following year the
Commander of Naval Divisions (COND) moved to the STAR from Ottawa.
In 1953, a Naval Reserve air squadron was established at HMCS
York in Toronto. Although HMCS STAR was not agiven its own squadron due
to its close proximity to HMCS York, the unit maintained a support unit
for ground crew and maintenance. No. 1 Training Air Group sent STAR
one Hurricane and two Seafire aircraft for their use at RCAF Station
Hamilton (now known as the Hamilton International Airport) and the unit
conducted joint training with HMCS York at RCAF Station Downsview.
The Unification in the mid 1960s brought change to HMCS STAR.
The Hamilton Service Battalion and The Hamilton Medical Company, later
re-named 23 Service Battalion and 23 Medical Company, moved to the site
after the closure of the Burlington Street Armoury in September 1967,
taking over the COND building. COND moved to HMCS Stadacona in Halifax
along with HMCS Porte St Louis and HMCS Porte St. Jean. The Great Lakes
Training Centre was disbanded, as was the Air Arm maintenance unit (in
1964). HMCS STAR Naval Reseve Division was now simply a tenant on the
The name of the establishment was changed to Canadian Forces
Reserve Barracks Hamilton in 1969 and was placed under control of CFB
Toronto, an Air Force Base. The physical size of the base was reduced,
with STAR's former sports field being turned over to the City of
Hamilton. It is now known asEastwood Park. Later the Hamilton Militia
District Headquarters moved to the site and stayed until it disbanded in
In the mid-1990s, CFRB Hamilton began to feel some of the
effect of the Federal Government's commitment to revitalizing the
neglected Naval Reserve. In May 1997, HMCS STAR officially opened their
new state-of-the-art building, replacing all of the original World War
II era "temporary" buildings that had housed the Division since its
commissioning in 1941.
On 30 August 2003, CFRB Hamilton became the new home for HMCS
Haida, the last of the 27 Tribal Class destroyers built for the Royal
Canadian Navy between 1937 and 1945. HMCS Haida had been moored as a
floating museum in Toronto Harbour since 1965.
Source Material: "HMCS STAR - A Naval Reserve History" by
Commander Robert J. Williamson, CD, Commanding Officer, HMCS STAR -
1985-1988, "Sentinel" magazine from October 1966, HMCS Haida web site -
http://hmcshaida.ca & the personal recollections of the author