(Submitted by Rob Hemmett)
Article from the Times Colonist, for full article
A historic Avro Lancaster bomber will soon be heading to its new home at the B.C. Aviation Museum in North Saanich. Toronto City Council voted Tuesday to transfer the vintage plane to the museum, where restoration will start immediately.
“It’s absolutely exciting,” said museum president John Lewis. “The Avro Lancaster is an iconic aircraft with a distinguished record in war and in peace. It was a major contributor to the strategic bombing offensive in World War II. After the war, it served for many years on both coasts in reconnaissance and search-and-rescue missions.”
This Lancaster, FM104, was built in Toronto in 1944 and stationed on the East Coast for 20 years. It was retired in 1965 and displayed on a plinth in Coronation Park on the Toronto lakeshore until 1999. The aircraft was removed, disassembled and partially restored, then placed in storage away from public view for several years.
The aviation museum’s long-term goal is to see the Avro Lancaster bomber take flight, a project Lewis acknowledges could take 10 to 15 years.
“It will be only one of three Lancasters in the world that are still flying,” Lewis said. “But we believe ultimately it can be restored to flying condition. We’re under no illusion this is a major project, larger than any we’ve undertaken before, particularly because every piece of the restoration has to be done to airworthy standards.”
Victoria Air Maintenance, an internationally known firm of vintage aircraft restorers, will have overall supervision of the project. A number of local aircraft manufacturing specialists and vintage aircraft enthusiasts have pledged their time and knowledge to volunteer on this project. “We’ve had a real upsurge of interest and pledges of support from a lot of other people around the airport,” Lewis said.
FM 104 on pedestal in Toronto near Ontario Place
FM104 being dismantled in Toronto before being moved to museum (1999)