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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.
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.