Bombardier’s final Global 7500 from Downsview takes flight 

Avatar for Skies MagazineBy Skies Magazine | March 26, 2024

Estimated reading time 5 minutes, 17 seconds.

The final Global 7500 business jet manufactured at Downsview, Ont., flies over central Toronto. Patrick Cardinal Photo

On a snowy Saturday that marked the end of an era, the final Bombardier Global 7500 manufactured at the decades-old Downsview factory took to the skies.  

Toronto plane spotters gathered in sub-zero temperatures near the city’s centre on March 23, 2024, to capture photos of the flight of the unpainted aircraft (C-GYIN, s/n 70193).  

Bombardier is in the process of shuttering its Downsview plant and moving production to a new state-of-the-art facility at Toronto Pearson airport in Mississauga, Ont.  

The Downsview plant dates to the 1960s and is showing its age. Bombardier has said the new 770,000-square-foot plant at Pearson will reduce its energy consumption by nearly 60 per cent, by using natural gas, more efficient lighting, and newer heating methods.  

Updated processing systems will also lower the new plant’s greenhouse gas emissions, the manufacturer has said.  

“Considerably less water will be used in the manufacturing process thanks to the modifications implemented in the processing shop workflow,” the manufacturer said in a statement ahead of construction. 

Andy Cline Photo

“In parallel, electric vehicles will be favoured for onsite transportation and three Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) tanks will provide fuel for departing aircraft.”  

At the time, Bombardier said its new Global Manufacturing Centre at Pearson would cost US$400 million and would provide continued employment to its 2,000 employees from Downsview. 

Northcrest Developments acquired the land from Bombardier in 2018 and has told local media it plans a massive transformation of the land.  

In December 2023, the developer told CityNews its vision calls for 10 distinct districts, with around 45,000 units and 100,000 new residents.  

Construction is expected to begin in 2026 and to continue in various phases until 2050.  

Bombardier plans to continue its involvement at Downsview through the Downsview Aerospace Innovation and Research (DAIR) consortium, which it cofounded with Toronto’s Centennial College. 

“It is our continuing strategy to further support local innovation, harness the ingenuity of future aerospace professionals and enrich our local supply chain. Our involvement with DAIR enables us to realize this vision and it is one that we value greatly,” said Éric Martel, president and CEO of Bombardier, in a statement announcing the plans.  

Patrick Cardinal Photo

Prior to Bombardier’s involvement, Downsview was home to de Havilland Aircraft of Canada (DHC) and included the development of innovative fixed-wing aircraft like the de Havilland Mosquito. The plant also several models of the de Havilland Moth family, including the Cirrus Moth and Gypsy Moth. 

The company opened an airfield at Downsview in 1929 to assemble and test the Moth. Canada’s Department of National Defence purchased the property in 1947 and created Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Station Downsview. It was later renamed Canadian Forces Base (Downsview) and operated until the base closed in 1996.  

DAIR has said its innovation and research hub will cover over 15 acres of land at the iconic property. 

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