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  • Plaque Celebrating Aviation History in Mount Dennis

    Saturday, July 15 - 10:45 am

    Hearst Circle and "The Wishbone" (Opposite Harding Park in Mount Dennis)

    Reception to follow at The Atrium, 12 Division Police Station, 200 Trethewey Drive, North York

    This event is a joint function of Heritage Toronto, CAHS (Toronto Chapter & National) and 400 Squadron Historical Society.  The plaque is honouring the airfield that hosted 1st flight over Toronto in 1910, the startup location of DeHavilland Aircraft in Canada in 1928 at this airfield and in 1932 the first operational base of the RCAF 400 "City of Toronto" Squadron as 10 Sqn and later 110 Sqn.

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    Background on the William G. Trethewey Property

    By Dr. Robert Galway

    This property was purchased by William Trethewey following his sale of two Silver mining properties that he discovered in Cobalt, Ontario on 1904. He and his brother Joseph O. Trethewey made millions in this transaction. William Trethewey came to Toronto and purchased 600 acres in Weston, near present day Jane St. & Lawrence Ave. in 1907 The Royal Automobile Club of Canada and the OML of which Trethewey was a member, asked for permission to use a portion of the property for an exhibition Air Meet. This took place July 9-16th, 1910 following closely on the heels of the initial Air Meet held in Pointe Claire, PQ.

    During the Toronto meet, French Aviator Jacques de Lesseps completed the first flight over the city of Toronto as he had done two weeks previously in Montreal. The Toronto flight occurred on July 13, 1910. This is the basis for recognizing Jacques de Lesseps on the Heritage Toronto Plaque that will be unveiled this summer on July 15, 2017.

    However, this is not the sole reason for recognizing the contribution that this plot of farmland made to Canadian aviation history.

    Following the Air Meet of 1910, the property became the center of early aviation activity in Toronto. Indeed, it became known as de Lesseps Field. In 1928 de Havilland UK decided establish a manufacturing center in Canada. They were persuaded to do so because of the success they had met in selling the DH60 Moth to the Ontario Provincial Air Service. In their search for a suitable property, they were put in touch with Frank Trethewey who had inherited the property on his father’s demise in 1926. Trethewey leased a parcel of the land to de Havilland and with the incorporation of de Havilland
    Canada was appointed to the DHC Board.

    Consequently, the Trethewey property became the first manufacturing site of de Havilland. In fact the first building used to assemble the DH60 series was the Trethewey Canning Shed made famous by the sketch completed by famous aviation artist, Robert Bradford.

    Frank Trethewey was given the opportunity to purchase DH aircraft at a significant “favored” price. He and his brother were RNAS veteran pilots. In the 1930's he was Chairman of de Havilland Canada.

    The establishment of de Havilland Aircraft on this property in 1928 is the second reason to grant historic recognition to this property.

    Frank Trethewey not only over time purchased three aircraft from DHC but went one step further and joined the RCAF. This led to the establishment of the RCAF Squadron 10/ 110 on Trethewey Field. Frank Trethewey was one of the first four flying officers appointed to the Squadron. In 1940 he was appointed commanding officer of Base Trenton.

    The squadron was formed in October 1932 as 10 (Army Cooperation) Squadron and began flying in 1934 at the Trethewey Farm airfield (aka de Lesseps Field) in Toronto. In April, 1935, the City of Toronto adopted the squadron which then became officially known as “10 (City of Toronto) Squadron”. In 1937, the squadron was re-designated “110 (City of
    Toronto) Squadron”.

    The squadron flew five basic types of aircraft, all biplanes, from Trethewey until late 1939 when it deployed to Rockcliffe. During the Trethewey era, the squadron was involved in recruitment and flight training. At Rockcliffe, the squadron underwent conversion to the Canadian-built Westland Lysander until mid-February 1940. The squadron then deployed to the UK as the first RCAF squadron to enter the Second World War.

    In the UK, the squadron was initially equipped with the Lysander III and was involved in the Army Co-op and photo reconnaissance role. The squadron was active in the Dunkirk evacuation (27 May - 3 June 1940) but not directly involved in the Battle of Britain (10 July - 31 Oct. 1940). In mid-1941, the squadron was re-designated “400 Squadron”.

    Today, the Squadron is located at Camp Borden and is the main maintenance centre for maintenance of the RCAF's Tactical Helicopter Squadrons.

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Vancouver History

Written by Jerry Vernon, with files from Andy and Ernie Harrison.

History of the CAHS Vancouver Chapter

The Vancouver Chapter was founded in 1968 when Ernie Harrison (CAHS Member #12) moved from Toronto to Vancouver. Another co-founder was Andy Anderson, who is now the President of the PEI Chapter. At that time, Andy was the Manager of the Richmond Arts Centre, which is where the Chapter has met for 44 of the past 45 years!! One year, they tore the old Arts Centre down to build a new one, and we were gypsies for a year.

Other founding members included Dr. Ted Hill (wartime RCAF doctor in Iceland), Eric Drinkwater (Production Engineer at Canadian Vickers on the Stranraer), Dale Molstad (veteran CPAir Captain) and Dean MacLagan (PWA Herc Captain, killed in their Herc crash in Africa). The founding meeting was attended by 25 local CAHS members (surely the most we have ever had at a meeting for a long time since then!!)

9 September 1978 was one of our most interesting evenings over the years; co-hosted with the Quarter Century in Aviation Club, our speaker was Punch Dickins, who spoke on the 50th Anniversary of the completion of his famous Barrenlands Flight. In 1983, Bill Wheeler allowed the Chapter to put together an entire issue of the CAHS Journal (Vol. 21 No. 2), which included an article specially written by CAHS Patron Punch Dickins on his 1928 flight. Another year, one of our members organized a two-day trip to the Boeing factories at Paine Field (Everett) and Renton, where they treated us royally, as if we were a group interested in buying some airliners!!

The current Chapter membership includes several former RCAF Sabre pilots, several retired airline Captains and retired Transport Canada people, as well as pilots, AMEs, aviation artists, writers, photographers, historians, and just plain enthusiasts. We meet 10 times a year, and our current meeting agenda offers a variety of interesting speakers, digital and slide shows on air museums and air shows, and the occasional video.

One of the more interesting speakers in the past year (twice) has been new Chapter member Colonel (Ret'd) Bud White, a Member of Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame. In 1967, Bud set a Canadian altitude record, which still stands, in the RCAF F-104A that is on display at Rockcliffe. He also had an interesting exchange posting with the U.S. Mercury and Gemini manned space programs. His posting to the Empire Test Pilots' School trained him for duties as an Avro Arrow test pilot, before it was cancelled. We look forward to more interesting evenings with Bud.

Chapter Presidents over the years have included Andy Anderson, Dale Molstad, Norm Penny and Jerry Vernon (since 1993).

Our program for the coming season will include a couple more visits through UK aviation museums with the Chapter President, more air show pictures and hopefully more adventures of our resident test pilot and perhaps another episode on the wartime experiences of Typhoon pilot and Chapter member Harry Hardy.