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Sat, Nov 12, 2011

Canadian Air And Space Museum Chair Stresses Importance Of History

Remembrance Day Speech Decries Slated Demolition Of Museum Building

Canadian Air & Space Museum chairman Ian A. McDougall used a Remembrance Day speech at the museum to stress the importance of the country's aviation history, and to call for the preservation of the building that houses the museum. The museum building is the original de Havilland Canada hangar in Toronto, and though certified as a ‘Heritage Building’ by the Canadian Federal Government, it is slated for demolition, to be replaced next year by a hockey rink.

"The generations that follow you are being cheated if they have no more than your pictures as you grow old," McDougall said in his prepared remarks. "They need texture. Texture is the Jewish Lancaster pilot from Toronto who risked death in the air and an even worse fate on the ground every night he flew over Nazi Germany. Texture like the engineers that found a way to make the world's premier fighter bomber out of wood. Texture like the factory workers who toiled without regard to factory conditions or job descriptions or overtime rules day after day to make Tiger Moths, Mosquitos and the Lancaster bomber you see before you, or the scientists who figured out how the cathode ray direction finder might be adapted to work as radar in a night fighter over London.

"This Museum is the purveyor of your stories," he continued. "We tell of what you did. People cannot leave this place without knowing of your contributions. Nobody passes through these portals and leaves only with a picture of a face. They see the machines, the battlegrounds, the factories, and hear the stories through the flow of the history that is represented within the Canadian Air & Space Museum. We exist to deliver on the promise "Let Us Never Forget". We exist to ensure future generations have the opportunity to see, touch, feel and hear the tracings of your lives. What can be said of a Government that wants to destroy the only museum in Canada's biggest city that is dedicated to you and demolish the historic building in which it lives?  We are the custodians of your stories for the generations that will forever remain in your debt.

"Every museum lost is a thousand stories a week in the dustbin of history and makes for a poorer country. We are trying to save this place in honor of what you stood for."

The museum had suffered financial hardship when a fundraising effort stalled, and it fell behind on its rent. The museum board had recently installed new management, and was working towards a payment schedule to pay off the arrears when an eviction notice came in September.

FMI: http://casmuseum.org/

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