Day 101: I have passed the location for today’s shot many times and always wanted to stop and get a closer look. Near Long Branch, on the Lakeshore is a 100 acre abandoned site that was once Canada’s first aerodrome, and Canada’s first flying training school. The aerodrome was opened on May 20, 1915 by Curtiss Aeroplanes and Motors Company for the Royal Flying Corps. Aircraft such as the Curtiss JN-4 soon became a common sight at the airfield, which included 3 aircraft hangars.
“In January 1917, the newly designated Royal Flying Corps, Canada, the forerunner to the Royal Canadian Air Force, opened the RFC Training Centre at Long Branch. The Long Branch training centre also provided instruction on flying boats at nearby Hanlon’s Point in Toronto Harbour, the first seaplane base in Canada.
By July 1917, the flight school re-located to the Armour Heights Aerodrome. Long Branch became the Cadet Ground Training School for the Royal Flying Corps. Both the school and the aerodrome closed in 1919.
Not the slightest trace remains of the airfield today. From 1962 - 2005, the property was Ontario Power Generation’s Lakeview Generating Station. The only remnants of the aerodrome’s facilities are the water tower, a concrete wall (possibly one the backstop for the small arms range) and some wooden walls (possibly part of an obstacle course).
The water tower now dominates the property, and was the focus of my visit, though I wouldn’t mind locating what else there remains….