Heritage Toronto recognizes 'rich' aviation history of Trethewey Airfield

Community Jul 20, 2017 by Cynthia Reason North York Mirror

The “rich” aviation history of Mount Dennis was recognized this past weekend with a special Heritage Toronto plaque presentation at Harding Park.

The event, which was co-hosted by the Royal Canadian Air Force 400 Squadron Historical Society and the Toronto Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society (CAHS) on Saturday, July 15, included remarks on Trethewey Airfield’s historical significance from CAHS president Sheldon Benner, Lt. Col. Jillian Bishop of the RCAF 400 Squadron, and Russel Bannock, a Second World War vet and former president of de Havilland Canada.

Once the site of a 600-acre model farm owned by mining magnate W. G. Trethewey, the Jane Street and Eglinton Avenue area property became internationally known as the Trethewey Airfield after hosting Toronto’s first-ever flying exhibition in 1910.

The Ontario Motor League Aviation Meet — which ran from July 8-16, 1910 — also saw Trethewey Airfield become the site of the first distance flight over the City of Toronto on July 13 of that year, when French pilot Jacques de Lesseps flew his Bleriot XI monoplane the 20-mile circuitous route from the airfield to Humber Bay, to the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, to the Toronto Islands and back.

Following that historic flight, the airfield — which thereafter became widely known as "de Lesseps Aerodome"— became a licensed airfield and remained popular with early aviators.

The field’s continued use in aviation, said CAHS member Dr. Robert Galway, was thanks in large part to its inheritance in 1926 by Frank Trethewey — himself a Royal Naval Air Service enlistee from the First World War who had an extensive flying background.

“He established his own flying service on the field,” said Galway, who authored a book entitled Early Airfields of Toronto.

“It was also Frank Trethewey who, when he was approached by de Havilland (Aircraft Company of England) about the possibility of using the property, agreed to lease the land to them in 1928 — and that’s when de Havilland Canada was formed.”

Trethewey Airfield went on to become the site of de Havilland's first North American assembly plant and training field for its Moth aircraft.

Noting Trethewey Airfield’s “very rich history,” Galway noted that the site also served as the 1930s base for the Royal Canadian Air Force 10 Squadron — which would later become the 110 City of Toronto Squadron, then the 400 Squadron.

The squadron, he said, was formed in October 1932 as 10 Squadron and began flying at the Trethewey Airfield in 1934. It was adopted in April 1935 by the City of Toronto, and redesignated the 110 City of Toronto Squadron in 1937. It flew five basic types of aircraft — all biplanes — from Trethewey Airfield until late 1939, when it deployed for the war.

“It was the home originating airfield for the RCAF 400 Squadron, which today is based at Camp Borden, as is the main maintenance centre for the RCAF’s Tactical Helicopter Squadrons.”

Trethewey Airfield was then closed in the mid-1940s, to be built over with homes for returning Second World War veterans and their families.

Galway, who helped organize the fundraising efforts for the Trethewey Airfield plaque, called the Harding Park tribute a fitting one.

“I think it’s hard to believe that, given it represents over a 100 years of Canadian aviation history, that it’s been kind of unremarked upon in any physical way until now,” he said.

“I feel quite fulfilled for being able to help resurrect this effort to recognize the history here. To finally see it come to fruition is one of the happier achievements of my older years.”

Heritage Toronto recognizes 'rich' aviation history of Trethewey Airfield

Site of Toronto's first flying exhibition receives heritage plaque

Community Jul 20, 2017 by Cynthia Reason North York Mirror

The “rich” aviation history of Mount Dennis was recognized this past weekend with a special Heritage Toronto plaque presentation at Harding Park.

The event, which was co-hosted by the Royal Canadian Air Force 400 Squadron Historical Society and the Toronto Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society (CAHS) on Saturday, July 15, included remarks on Trethewey Airfield’s historical significance from CAHS president Sheldon Benner, Lt. Col. Jillian Bishop of the RCAF 400 Squadron, and Russel Bannock, a Second World War vet and former president of de Havilland Canada.

Once the site of a 600-acre model farm owned by mining magnate W. G. Trethewey, the Jane Street and Eglinton Avenue area property became internationally known as the Trethewey Airfield after hosting Toronto’s first-ever flying exhibition in 1910.

The Ontario Motor League Aviation Meet — which ran from July 8-16, 1910 — also saw Trethewey Airfield become the site of the first distance flight over the City of Toronto on July 13 of that year, when French pilot Jacques de Lesseps flew his Bleriot XI monoplane the 20-mile circuitous route from the airfield to Humber Bay, to the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, to the Toronto Islands and back.

Following that historic flight, the airfield — which thereafter became widely known as "de Lesseps Aerodome"— became a licensed airfield and remained popular with early aviators.

The field’s continued use in aviation, said CAHS member Dr. Robert Galway, was thanks in large part to its inheritance in 1926 by Frank Trethewey — himself a Royal Naval Air Service enlistee from the First World War who had an extensive flying background.

“He established his own flying service on the field,” said Galway, who authored a book entitled Early Airfields of Toronto.

“It was also Frank Trethewey who, when he was approached by de Havilland (Aircraft Company of England) about the possibility of using the property, agreed to lease the land to them in 1928 — and that’s when de Havilland Canada was formed.”

Trethewey Airfield went on to become the site of de Havilland's first North American assembly plant and training field for its Moth aircraft.

Noting Trethewey Airfield’s “very rich history,” Galway noted that the site also served as the 1930s base for the Royal Canadian Air Force 10 Squadron — which would later become the 110 City of Toronto Squadron, then the 400 Squadron.

The squadron, he said, was formed in October 1932 as 10 Squadron and began flying at the Trethewey Airfield in 1934. It was adopted in April 1935 by the City of Toronto, and redesignated the 110 City of Toronto Squadron in 1937. It flew five basic types of aircraft — all biplanes — from Trethewey Airfield until late 1939, when it deployed for the war.

“It was the home originating airfield for the RCAF 400 Squadron, which today is based at Camp Borden, as is the main maintenance centre for the RCAF’s Tactical Helicopter Squadrons.”

Trethewey Airfield was then closed in the mid-1940s, to be built over with homes for returning Second World War veterans and their families.

Galway, who helped organize the fundraising efforts for the Trethewey Airfield plaque, called the Harding Park tribute a fitting one.

“I think it’s hard to believe that, given it represents over a 100 years of Canadian aviation history, that it’s been kind of unremarked upon in any physical way until now,” he said.

“I feel quite fulfilled for being able to help resurrect this effort to recognize the history here. To finally see it come to fruition is one of the happier achievements of my older years.”

Heritage Toronto recognizes 'rich' aviation history of Trethewey Airfield

Site of Toronto's first flying exhibition receives heritage plaque

Community Jul 20, 2017 by Cynthia Reason North York Mirror

The “rich” aviation history of Mount Dennis was recognized this past weekend with a special Heritage Toronto plaque presentation at Harding Park.

The event, which was co-hosted by the Royal Canadian Air Force 400 Squadron Historical Society and the Toronto Chapter of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society (CAHS) on Saturday, July 15, included remarks on Trethewey Airfield’s historical significance from CAHS president Sheldon Benner, Lt. Col. Jillian Bishop of the RCAF 400 Squadron, and Russel Bannock, a Second World War vet and former president of de Havilland Canada.

Once the site of a 600-acre model farm owned by mining magnate W. G. Trethewey, the Jane Street and Eglinton Avenue area property became internationally known as the Trethewey Airfield after hosting Toronto’s first-ever flying exhibition in 1910.

The Ontario Motor League Aviation Meet — which ran from July 8-16, 1910 — also saw Trethewey Airfield become the site of the first distance flight over the City of Toronto on July 13 of that year, when French pilot Jacques de Lesseps flew his Bleriot XI monoplane the 20-mile circuitous route from the airfield to Humber Bay, to the Canadian National Exhibition grounds, to the Toronto Islands and back.

Following that historic flight, the airfield — which thereafter became widely known as "de Lesseps Aerodome"— became a licensed airfield and remained popular with early aviators.

The field’s continued use in aviation, said CAHS member Dr. Robert Galway, was thanks in large part to its inheritance in 1926 by Frank Trethewey — himself a Royal Naval Air Service enlistee from the First World War who had an extensive flying background.

“He established his own flying service on the field,” said Galway, who authored a book entitled Early Airfields of Toronto.

“It was also Frank Trethewey who, when he was approached by de Havilland (Aircraft Company of England) about the possibility of using the property, agreed to lease the land to them in 1928 — and that’s when de Havilland Canada was formed.”

Trethewey Airfield went on to become the site of de Havilland's first North American assembly plant and training field for its Moth aircraft.

Noting Trethewey Airfield’s “very rich history,” Galway noted that the site also served as the 1930s base for the Royal Canadian Air Force 10 Squadron — which would later become the 110 City of Toronto Squadron, then the 400 Squadron.

The squadron, he said, was formed in October 1932 as 10 Squadron and began flying at the Trethewey Airfield in 1934. It was adopted in April 1935 by the City of Toronto, and redesignated the 110 City of Toronto Squadron in 1937. It flew five basic types of aircraft — all biplanes — from Trethewey Airfield until late 1939, when it deployed for the war.

“It was the home originating airfield for the RCAF 400 Squadron, which today is based at Camp Borden, as is the main maintenance centre for the RCAF’s Tactical Helicopter Squadrons.”

Trethewey Airfield was then closed in the mid-1940s, to be built over with homes for returning Second World War veterans and their families.

Galway, who helped organize the fundraising efforts for the Trethewey Airfield plaque, called the Harding Park tribute a fitting one.

“I think it’s hard to believe that, given it represents over a 100 years of Canadian aviation history, that it’s been kind of unremarked upon in any physical way until now,” he said.

“I feel quite fulfilled for being able to help resurrect this effort to recognize the history here. To finally see it come to fruition is one of the happier achievements of my older years.”