If you plan to visit Ontario, Canada, and have an interest in military aviation, writer Jason Gray tells us you won’t want to miss The National Air Force Museum. On the grounds of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, it “houses one of the finest collections of military aircraft, uniforms and art in the world,” Gray wrote recently.
Only an hour and a half drive east of Toronto, the museum is home to Canadian Air Force planes, uniforms, models, artwork and many other artifacts, according to Gray. Uniforms include those of a World War I officer, an orange flight suit worn by CF-104 pilots, and the tunic and medals of former Air Marshall Leonard Birchall. Display cases are full of patches, models, pieces of air force equipment and rare photographs and diagrams, and a diorama depicting “The Great Escape.” Many paintings, by some of the world’s best known aviation artists, also adorn the walls of the main hall.
The next stop is the museum’s restored Halifax Mk VII bomber, one of only three remaining in the world. It was a huge hit with visitors to the Gathering of Mstangs and Legends, where it flew daily in 2007. It had been shot down toward the end of World War II lay in a Scandinavian lake until it was raised in 1995, returned to Canada, and painstakingly restored. The Halifax is displayed near a replica of a Burgess-Dunne floatplane. Bought by the Canadian government in 1914, it was the first military plane in Canadian history. A Spitfire also is on display, as well as an Auster observation plane flown by the Canadian Navy and Air Force in the post war years.
Outdoors is a 15 acre airpark, where 24 more restored aircraft are on display along with an anti-aircraft gun, an airport fire engine, many plaques and monuments dedicated to squadrons and personnel of Canada’s air force, a Labrador helicopter, a CF-104 Starfighter, and many other rare aircraft.
“The National Air Force Museum…does a wonderful job of preserving this heritage and honouring those who have served Canada,” Gray wrote.