Robert W. Bradford is one of Canada's most accomplished artists. He and his identical twin brother James were born in Toronto on December 17, 1923 (the 20th anniversary of Wilbur and Orville Wright's first powered flight). They grew up with similar interests in art and aviation. When they were 18 years old, both of the Bradford brothers enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and became pilots. James was a flying instructor in western Canada, while Bob served as a staff pilot with the Royal Air Force, stationed overseas on the Isle of Man.
From his early days as an R.C.A.F. pilot, to his days with the Easybuilt Model Aeroplane Co., A.V. Roe Canada Ltd. and the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Limited and then to his distinguished 23 year career with the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, he has been surrounded by flying machines and art. Having spent his entire "working" life with aircraft he knows them with an intimacy few can aspire to and more importantly he has the rare gift of being able to bring it to life on canvas.
While working at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, Mr. Bradford took an aviation collection in three old World War II hangars to new heights as a world recognized Aviation Museum housed in a new facility at the former CFB Rockcliffe in 1988.
Mr. Bradford has received many honours and international awards. In 1974, he was the first Canadian presented with the Artists Award of the American Aviation Historical Society and in 1981, he received France's Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Paul Tissandier Award for Artistic and Curatorial Accomplishment in Aviation.
A lifetime member of the Royal Canadian Institute, he was named patron of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society in 1988.
Mr. Bradford was awarded the Order of Canada in 1989 and was inducted into Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame in 1996.
Today he continues to paint and lives in Toronto, Ontario with his wife Rosemarie.
Canada Aviation and Space Museum.
The National Aviation Museum, led by its founding Curator Kenneth M. Molson first opened its doors on October 25, 1960 at the Uplands International Airport Terminal Building. Since its move to the CFB Rockcliffe in 1965; the Museum has changed more than just its name. Today with an expanded mandate which now includes space flight and under the direction of Stephen Quick, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum remains one of the premier aviation collections in the world, with about 130 flying machines in its collection, new buildings, an expanding learning center and engaging programming. The Museum today draws about 200,000 people, who come to experience and see and learn about our aviation heritage and flight.