Entered Air Canada service with the delivery of Fin 301 in February 1971. Deliveries of Fins 302 to 306 continued through May 1974 (see 305 above in header). These giants were the class of the industry and replaced the DC-8 on growing markets from Toronto to London and Paris. Domestically they were used on the busy Toronto - Vancouver route.
Fins 301 and 302 were sold to Guinness Peat Aviation by 1985 and continued in service under various registrations until 1999. Fin 302 was operated briefly by Wardair Canada from October 1986 until June 1990. Fins 303 to 305 remained in service in the Air Canada fleet until retired 1998. Unfortunately, it seems that all five have been broken up and none remain in storage.
My favourite personal experience with this fleet was flying on Fin 303 from Toronto to Las Vegas. The aircraft was (at the time) configured for sun destination charters with 497 economy seats. I was seated on the bottom deck at the front of the aircraft when it was suddenly hit by lightning just at the beginning of the descent into Las Vegas. There was a Big Bang and then a fireball sped through the cabin. Everyone on board caught a glimpse of the “Bright Lights” before we even got to the Big City. Ironically, it happened so quickly that there was no time to be frightened. I flew on Fin 303 a few more times before it was retired and always felt a particular bond with this aircraft.
Sources: Air Canada OnAir and Planespotters.net. To view a “Classic” landing in Toronto please click here