Iconic Avro Arrow Subject of PAMA Exhibit in Brampton


This summer, an underwater search for Avro Arrow artifacts in Lake Ontario is now underway by a Canada 150 collaborative research and recovery project spearheaded by the OEX Recovery Group.

This search is timely, as Avro Arrow aficionados—and there are plenty of them—can learn more about the ill-fated project at a popular Brampton museum.

There is a growing interest in learning more about the famed Canadian Air Force fighter jet program - and aviation buffs don't have to get wet to find out more about the historic made-in-Peel jet. All summer, visitors can pop into the Peel Art Gallery, Museum and Archives (PAMA) in downtown Brampton to explore artifacts from the Avro Arrow project, including a shell of the mock-up of the cockpit of the production version of the jet created by Avro Canada engineers in the 1950s, as well as images, and digitized video footage. The piece is part of PAMA's extensive permanent collection of artifacts that help tell the story of the community.

Meanwhile in Toronto, as part of Canada 150 celebrations, a search has begun for Avro Arrow artifacts. A team of researchers from the Canada 150 collaborative research and recovery project spearheaded by the OEX Recovery Group have begun looking for nine Avro Arrow free flight models launched over Lake Ontario in a series of tests occurring from 1954 - 1957 that were submerged in Lake Ontario when the project was cancelled.

The models are one-eighth scale replicas of the famed flying jet and were part of the final flight design test work done prior to the production of the CF-105 Arrow. The Avro CF-105 Arrow was a supersonic jet developed to intercept enemy bombers from the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

There is, of course, a sad story associated with the arrow—and one that hits close to home.

Malton-based A.V. Roe of Canada employed 50,000 workers at the peak of work on the Arrow during the late 1950s, making Peel a centre of the aerospace industry. There were doubts as to whether bomber interceptors would be irrelevant before it was even built.

On February 20, 1959, Prime Minister Diefenbaker announced to the House of Commons that the Arrow project was terminated. In Malton, layoffs were announced immediately. All eight prototype planes were destroyed. Over 13,000 people lost their jobs.

"We were in shock. I could see it in their eyes - many of the boys had got themselves into debt - it really got to me. I tried to get them all jobs."—Burt Scott, Avro Test Engineer, Memoir, PAMA Archives

The Arrow display is part of an exhibition that includes selected pieces from PAMA's art collection, among them historical landscapes of the Peel Region, a sketchbook from artist Tom Thomson, sculptures, large abstract paintings and small format prints and drawings.

As well as enjoying the hundreds of artifacts, documents, images, and artwork, the exhibition also provides visitors with touchscreens that allow them to learn more, hands-on activities for kids and adults, and a chance to have their say about their wishes for the future. In celebration of Peel and Canada (and not to mention the 150th anniversary of the Peel County Jail and Courthouse in which PAMA is housed) they are also offering free admission for July and August.

All information courtesy of PAMA

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