Toronto rejects Warplane Heritage bid for Lancaster FM 104

AvatarBy Skies Magazine | July 17, 2018

Estimated reading time 2 minutes, 17 seconds.

The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum’s offer to restore Toronto’s Avro Lancaster FM 104 to running taxiable condition over a 10-year period has been rejected by Councillor Michael Thompson, head of the city’s economic development committee.

Lancaster Mk. X bomber FM 104 is seen here in service in 1961. Toronto International Aerospace Photo

According to Warplane Heritage president Dave Rohrer, Thompson said during a July 16 phone conversation that his committee “would not entertain our amended CWH submission to restore Toronto Lancaster FM 104 and keep it in the Golden Horseshoe Area and GTAA, at no cost to any taxpayers.”

In an email to Skies, Rohrer said Thompson considers the plan to send FM 104 to the British Columbia Aviation Museum (BCAM) a “done deal.”

On July 9, Toronto’s municipal economic development committee voted to remove Lancaster FM 104 from its artifact collection and transfer it to the BCAM at Victoria International Airport.

If the B.C. deal somehow falls through, the committee favours transferring the bomber to the Edenvale Aviation Heritage Foundation in Stayner, Ont., where the aircraft is currently being stored.

Rohrer believes the Lancaster should remain in the Toronto area to honour the 10,000 local Victory Aircraft workers who built 430 of the bombers during the Second World War. The warbird was prominently displayed along the city’s waterfront from 1966 to 1999, before being moved to a museum at Downsview Park. When that facility closed in 2011, the plane was put into storage.

While Toronto city council must still approve the deal, Thompson told Rohrer that only a “motion in council” from another city councillor could prompt a delay and further review of the plane’s fate.

“At this point it is really up to the Toronto politicians to stand up and represent the wishes of their constituents with respect to the disposition of FM 104, if they are so inclined,” concluded Rohrer.

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  1. RE rejected by Councillor Michael Thompson.

    This aircraft must remain here in our area order to represent the brave men and women that served in WWII including those who built these beautiful aircraft. If council allows the transfer of it to BC or any other location other than CWH in Hamilton then all I can say is PLEASE GIVE YOUR HEAD A SHAKE!

  2. I think the Councillor in question should give his head a shake or two. He also needs to read up on our RCAF history to find out what the workers did to support the war effort at that time. Then he should read up on how the aircraft was flown during the war, a lot of RCAF men lost their lives. A good number of the guys that flew the Lancaster lived because of how it was built. It was a solid aircraft, it could take punishment from the machine guns and cannon’ s from German aircraft and keep on flying.
    I don’t understand why people such as this councillor in question not want to keep this aircraft here where it was built? He has little understanding of what happened back then. We need to keep our heritage here in Toronto not British Columbia.
    I am a RCAF veteran who served our country for 26+ years. I am proud to say that, I wish the councillor could also say that he is proud of the accomplishments made by the people that serveres this country who gave there lives so that we can live in this great land we call Canada!

    With respect to the fallen.


    Jeff Tengg

  3. I can sympathize with your loss, but there are still 4 Lancasters for viewing in Ontario within a 4 hr drive of Toronto, including one of only two in the world that is flyable. We on the West Coast would also like to display and honour this iconic aircraft that served our nation in war and in peace. The Lancaster was based in Comox in the 1950s & 60s and there is no example in British Columbia. Sharing and compromize are Canadian values that make us a model for the World Community.

  4. Only in Toronto, would the politicians decide against this the City has a long record of placing no importance on history. For example, they lost the Haida. The people of Hamilton are pleased to have the ship. The Lancaster FM104 needs to be relocated to Hamilton at CWHM. I hope the people out West will take care of the plane.

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