The Canadian Heritage Aviation Centre is appealing for donations to help fund a move to larger premises.
The centre is currently based in Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Que., on the western tip of the Island of Montreal, where volunteers work to raise public awareness of national and local contributions to aviation. But according to Carlo Malaguti, who is in charge of marketing and development for the centre, this task is complicated by its peripheral location.
The centre has more than 250 members, with many volunteering their time to work on the construction and preservation of historically-significant aircraft, including a reproduction of the Bleriot XI an aircraft designed and built by Frenchman Louis Bleriot in 1909. Piloted by Count Jacques de Lesseps, the Bleriot XI completed the first flight over a Canadian city when it soared over Montreal in 1910.
Other projects on the go include the restoration of a 1927 Fairchild FC-2, a 1942 Bristol Bolingbroke, and a 1947 Fleet Canuck. The work takes place in one of two workshops at the centre, which is also home to an art gallery, machine shop, library and artifact preservation area. Visitors to the centre can watch the construction and restoration take place, and the engineers, many of whom have worked or work at CAE, Bombardier and Bell Textron, are happy to discuss the work.
We have a lot of appreciation, a lot of positive comments from the community, said Malaguti. But we’re not linked to the tourist circuit. When people come here they say: Wow, this is incredible, we didn’t know.’ There are a lot of jobs attached to this industry here directly and indirectly, so why not push for a greater presence. There is a past, a present and a future.
Malaguti said the FC-2 and the Canuck should be completed this summer, while the Bleriot is scheduled to take flight sometime in 2013 if they can find a pilot.
The centre is open to visitors on Saturdays and Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., though other hours can be arranged with prior notice. To donate to the centre, visit cahc-ccpa.com
. The centre is also on Facebook