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During the summer of 1962, George Morley and Jeff Burch met and discovered a mutual interest in Canadian aviation history. Both lived in Toronto and decided to seek out other local enthusiasts. Through letters, phone calls, and an ad in one of the city’s newspapers, they began accumulating members for what would be dubbed “The Early Bird Club of Canada.”

Many of these founding members went on to become influential in aviation circles and produce significant works of history. They include (among others):

  • John Beilby
  • Sheldon Benner
  • Harry Creagen
  • Charlie Catalano
  • John Ellis
  • George Fuller
  • Bill Wheeler
  • Doug MacRitchie
  • Al Martin
  • Larry Milberry
  • Paul Regan
  • Ross Richardson
  • Geoff Rowe
  • Larry Taylor
  • Boris Zissoff
  • Terry Waddington
  • Paddy Gardiner
  • John Griffin
  • Roger Juniper

The first formal meeting of the group was held in Jeff Burch’s basement in February 1963. Soon they were holding sessions regularly and hosting speakers like Jock Forteith, helmsman on the R-34 airship, which made the first west crossing of the Atlantic in 1919, and F/O Hugh Halliday, RCAF, now a successful author.

They realized, however, that their name was too similar to the “Early Birds” group of pre-World War I flyers, and so refashioned themselves the Canadian Aviation Historical Society. The nascent  “Early Bird Enthusiast” journal was also renamed  the
CAHS Journal. Annual dues were set at $2.

By 1963 the first official CAHS convention took place in Ottawa, which by then also had a chapter.


Learn more about the history of the CAHS and its Chapters:

CAHS National

"In the Beginning" by Bill Wheeler
CAHS at 50 by Gord McNulty

CAHS Chapters

Calgary
Manitoba
Montreal
New Brunswick
Ottawa
Prince Edward Island
Regina
Toronto
Vancouver