Estimated reading time 3 minutes, 39 seconds.
In April 1929, De Havilland Canada (DHC) purchased a 70-acre property in Downsview, Ontario – just north of Toronto. By the end of that summer, a 20,000-square-foot plant had been constructed and Moth biplanes were being produced. Almost a century later, DHC is saying farewell to Downsview as the land is due to be redeveloped for residential and commercial purposes.
On June 11, DHC held a special event to honor the thousands of employees who had designed, built, and flown the generations of aircraft produced at Downsview over the past 93 years. To assist in the celebration, the company convinced the owners of many iconic models to bring their airplanes back to the place where they had been built for one last visit.
Upon arrival, the 10 aircraft were parked on the ramp beside the oldest surviving hangars at the manufacturing facility. Hundreds of former and current employees, members of their families, and guests were able to walk amongst the aircraft and speak with their owners. Inside the delivery hangar, a detailed account of the company’s history by decade was posted along with many memory-prompting photographs. Meanwhile, an informative video provided a thorough review of the history of each aircraft family built at that historic location.
While the sun blazed until early afternoon, the clouds quickly moved in while the 10 aircraft departed, five minutes apart, in chronological order. As the last aircraft, a Dash 8-400, completed its high-speed pass and turned on course for Calgary, the rain came down. It was a poignant moment for those watching an historic Canadian aviation organization fly west.