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Bruce McLeod covers the opening of this unique museum.


This year, as we celebrate Canada’s centennial of flight, a new aviation museum housed in a very unique building in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue (Montréal) opened its doors to the public for the first time.

Ten years ago, Godfrey Pasmore, founder of the CAHC, was offered a partially abandoned stone barn on the Macdonald Campus of McGill University. In 1999, renovation began on this heritage building. All manner of tasks awaited the volunteers: shovelling out knee-high bird dung in the silos, adding bathrooms, constructing new walls and electrical systems and installing a new roof, just to name a few. Currently, there are two aircraft workshops, a library, meeting room, show room and storage facilities. The main focal point is a beautiful aviation art gallery that will showcase Mr. Pasmore’s private art collection currently on loan to the Canada Aviation Museum in Ottawa.

No aviation museum would be complete without actual aircraft. Currently under restoration or reproduction at the CAHC are a 1909 Blériot XI, 1928 Fairchild FC-2, 1943 Bristol Bolingbroke and 1947 Fleet Canuck. Plans are to acquire a Fairchild Husky and Canadair Tutor, both types having been designed and manufactured in the Montréal area.

The Blériot reproduction is particularly interesting as it is being built as an airworthy example. The CAHC team headed by Richard Plante hopes it will be ready for 2010 in time for 100th anniversary activities related to the first powered flight over the city of Montréal (Count Jacques de Lesseps, July 2, 1910, during an air meet at Pointe Claire). CAHC member Marcel Deschamps is also financing the production of two airworthy Blériots (military version), and there is a possibility that all three could fly next year.

With an open house, official ceremony and good weather, the CAHC welcomed its first visitors on May 23, 2009. Many friends of the museum attended to help mark this milestone. In addition to the opportunity to view the CAHC’s displays and projects, some of the other participating organizations included the Montréal chapter of the CAHS, Fondation Aérovision Québec with its Québec Air and Space Hall of Fame display, the Air Force Association of Canada, Air Marcel of Ste-Hyacinthe, Shoreline Publishing, and CAHC member and author Marc-André Valiquette with a preview of his three-volume series on Avro Canada and the Arrow. All visitors enjoyed the abundance of information provided by the Centre’s supporters.

At 1 p.m. the official opening ceremony began with a warm welcome from Erika-May Pasmore, our founder’s daughter and member of the Board of Directors. She was followed with speeches by John Lawson, former President of the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame, Captain Robert Piché of Air Transat, the Honourable Francis Scarpaleggia, MP of the Lac St-Louis riding, Bill Tierney, mayor of Ste-Anne de Bellevue and Professor Chandra Madramootoo, Dean of Agriculture, McGill University. All then participated in the official ribbon cutting ceremony along with our founder. A flypast overhead led by Marcel Deschamps from Air Marcel was a special highlight. The seven vintage aircraft included a recently acquired Yak 18T, Globe Swift, Lancair, Beech Sierra and Fleet Canuck.

Thanks to Godfrey Pasmore’s dream, vision, commitment and tenacity, and to all of the volunteers who made this great day possible, Montréal now has its own aviation museum, situated on the grounds of one of the most prestigious Canadian universities and housed in a facility whose original intention was to educate young people. Every so often, a well-intentioned father arrives at the Centre with his young son or daughter hoping to see the cows, but is quite surprised at the barn’s amazing transformation.

The Canadian Aviation Heritage Centre is located on the Macdonald Campus of McGill University at 21,111 Lakeshore, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Québec. It is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and on most other days by appointment. Telephone: (514) 398-7948; e-mail:; web site:

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