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Toronto preparing to part ways with a piece of aviation history

Last Updated Jul 22, 2018 at 11:49 pm EDT

An iconic World War II-era bomber that was a staple on the Toronto waterfront for 34 years appears set to take flight for a new home.

City Council is expected to approve a motion on Monday that would give up possession of the historic Lancaster bomber which had resided in Coronation Park up until 1999. The plane is expected to be transferred to the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island, partly because the city cannot afford to restore the bomber.

The aircraft, which was built in Malton, Ont. in 1944, was used for maritime patrols and search-and-rescue operations by the Royal Canadian Air Force once the war was over. Upon its retirement in 1964, it was displayed at Coronation Park until 1999 and later moved to the Canadian Air and Space Museum at Downsview Park until that facility was closed and transformed into a hockey rink.

The dismantled plane has been stored in a hangar at the Edenvale Aerodrome near Barrie, at a cost of $25,000 a year to the city, as there are no suitable spaces within Toronto to house the aircraft.

Earlier this year, the Economic Development Committee delayed a decision on the future of the aircraft in order to give groups more time to find a way to fund the restoration. One of those groups, #SaveLancasterFM104, had been trying to put together a proposal to restore and keep the plane in the city. However, despite a valiant effort – including a last minute bid from the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton – this piece of Toronto history is likely headed west.

If negotiations to transfer the Lancaster to B.C. fails, the aircraft will be transferred to the Edenvale Aviation Heritage Foundation for continued resotration and displayed until a suitable home can be found.