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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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  • My Snowbirds Flight - Aide-Memoire

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail

danielle metcalfe chenail 300My first contact with the Canadian Aviation Historical Society was in Ottawa in late 2007. I had just begun researching the history of Laurentian Air Services, which had been based in that city, and I wanted to connect with people who had worked for them, or could steer me in the right direction.

The project had gotten its start that summer, when I had finished my MA at the University of British Columbia. While I could now call myself a trained historian and came from a family of airplane nuts, I actually knew very little about aviation. But I knew a good story, and an important one, when I saw it.

It turned out I was right to go to that CAHS meeting: I was immediately welcomed into the fold. Of course, I still had to prove my chops as an aviation researcher and writer (and rightly so), but the rivet counters were as helpful as they were rigorous.

When my book – called For the Love of Flying – came out in 2009, I was living in Wyoming. I came back to Canada, however, for a cross-country book tour. My husband, German Shepherd mix, and I drove from Quebec across the Prairies, and back down to the U.S. Along the way, I gave talks at CAHS chapters in Montreal, Ottawa, Winnipeg, and Calgary and did signings at museums and heritage centres in North Bay, Sault-Ste-Marie, and others. At every stop, CAHS members came out to support me.

In 2010, I had the opportunity to give something back. I had just gotten settled in my new home in Edmonton when I jetted off to Montreal for the annual CAHS conference. At that event, buoyed by the camaraderie and the group's passion for Canada's aviation heritage, I signed up to be the new national membership secretary and to organize the 2011 convention in Edmonton.

Then, after a series of events, I ended up the national president, the first woman to hold the position in the society's 50 year history. I was 28 years old and a little daunted at the prospect of heading up a national charity with a long tradition and over 1000 members worldwide. But there was an excellent team approach with the executive and board, and I knew it would be a group effort.

As an entrepreneur with a writing background, my focus during my presidency was improving communications. I was really excited to manage the redesign of the website, create and edit a monthly e-newsletter, and launch an online membership option and the CAHS Facebook and Twitter accounts. These have all helped members connect with each other, and helped the media, scholars, and enthusiasts find the society in cyberspace and beyond.

In 2011, I stepped down from the position as I got ready to introduce a new little aviator into our family. I've stayed involved, though, first as vice-president and now as a director of the society.

I tell people I became an aviation historian by accident, but got hooked because of the great stories and people. It's also in large part because of the encouragement I've received from the CAHS.

I'm currently writing a book called Polar Winds: A Century of Flying the North, and have a historical novel in the works called Chasing Skies, about a female bush pilot who goes to Great Britain to fly for the Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War. I also write aviation book reviews and often find aviation angles for my freelance articles and columns.

For more information on me and my projects, please visit or connect with me on Twitter or LinkedIn.