Sunday, January 13, 2013

Parc Downsview Park is saving Canada's military and aviation history.

Parc Downsview Park, a federal Crown corporation, was proud of Downsview Park's history, and the cluster of historic aviation buildings that inhabit that space:
     "De Havilland Aircraft of Canada began operations in Downsview in 1929. With the onset of the Second World War, de Havilland manufactured aircraft for the RCAF and British Commonwealth Air Training Plan."
     INTO SPACE - In 1960, de Havilland's guided missile engineers and scientists constructed and tested Canada's first space aircraft, the Alouette 1 satellite, and developed its unique STEM antenna." (From: Our History/Downsview Park.)
The Billy Bishop Airport Terminal, a National Historic Site of Canada, was recently transferred from the Toronto City Airport to Downsview Park, near the aviation buildings:
The Billy Bishop Airport Terminal Building.
Parc Downsview Park made every attempt to save the vintage buildings and re purpose them:
                                                        THE PARK
     "The Cultural Commons is a 9.1 hectare (22.5 acre) area containing a number of small historic aviation buildings. These will be renovated and complemented with new infill buildings to create a pedestrian-scale village setting. Outdoor courtyards and public squares may feature the display of aircraft and a sequence of interpretive areas will describe the rich history of Downsview and its origins as a centre of aviation manufacturing and design innovation." (From: "Sustainable Community Development Guideline - Downsview Park - December 2007" Page 15.)
The City of Toronto is trying to save the built heritage at Downsview. Most of the Parc Downsview Park buildings are still standing, while the DND Buildings are being demolished; Buildings 55 and 58 are gone, and the 25 acre William Baker Park (former military housing) will be converted into a 3,200 unit private residential complex. (This document is from the "Downsview Area Secondary Plan - Heritage Building Conservation Review -E.R.A. Architects Inc." page 15.)

A 1969 image of the de Havilland Building, from "Canadian Armed Forces Review", a magazine created and edited by my father George Shaw.

In 2007,Parc Downsview Park owned 23 buildings. According to the Directory of Federal Real Property, the Crown corporation now owns 13 buildings.


  1.  Plant 3 - 35 Carl Hall Road.
  2. Building 100 - 70 Canuck Avenue.
  3. Fire Hall - 10 Carl Hall Road.
  4. Central Heating Plant #1 - 15 Carl Hall Road.
  5. Supply Depot #1 - 40 Carl Hall Road.
  6. Old fire hall - 55 Carl Hall Road.
  7. Cultural Commons - 60 Carl Hall Road, Bldg. 38/39.
  8. Plant 1 - 65 Carl Hall Road. (Note: Plant 1 is the de Havilland Aircraft Building, the former home of the Canadian Air and Space Museum, and a former Recognized Federal Heritage Building, see document below- savecfbrockcliffe.)
  9. Plant 2 - 75 Carl Hall Road.
  10. Sports Pavillion - 79 Carl Hall Road.
  11. Veterinary hospital and industrial space - 60 Carl Hall Road - Units 4-5.
  12. Park Maintenance Shop - 60 Carl Hall Road, Unit 3.
  13. Helicopter Hangar - 60 Carl Hall Road, Unit 1.
De Havilland buildings 1, 55, 58 and 2 were designated "Recognized Federal Heritage Buildings" by the Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office of Canada.

The Federal Heritage Building Review Office of Canada conducted a study of all the buildings at Parc Downsview Park. FHBRO wanted to see the eighteen buildings, on the above list, preserved. (Document mailed to A. Shaw by FHBRO.)

Buildings 38, 39 and 41, which are included on the list of heritage buildings at Downsview Park that should be preserved, see the above list.
Building 55, a former aircraft maintenance hangar, was demolished in March of 2010.



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