Thursday, November 22, 2018

What Was Once the Canadian Air and Space Museum is Now the Canadian Air and Space Conservancy

          By Henry Stewart

Short weeks after being called out publicly in this blog regarding the failure to find itself a permanent home after a seven year search, the charity once known as the Canadian Air and Space Museum (CASM) has relocated to the Stayner, ON based Edenvale Aerodrome Airport, some 100 kilometres northwest of Toronto.

Try to ignore the typo above and on the website. According to the Edenvale Aerodrome Airport website, it's "set amongst the scenic landscape of Clearview Township, nestled between the picturesque hills of The Blue Mountains and the pristine shores of Wasaga Beach, Edenvale Aerodrome is a convenient 90 min drive from the GTA." The airport has three runways and is currently the home of the Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation, which has organized the annual "Gathering (not "Ghatering") of the Classics" auto and air show for over 25 years. Image c/o Edenvale Aerodrone.

It's also changed its name (again), modified its mandate to reflect a new focus on conserving the museum artifacts (instead of displaying them to the public) and accepted the fact that its not likely going back to being a functioning museum any time soon.

As outlined in the November 14th, 2018 Skies post, "Former Toronto Aerospace Museum secures new airport home," the "first truckloads of aircraft and artifacts started to arrive at Edenvale in early November and the museum’s full-scale Avro Arrow replica will move from Toronto Pearson International Airport to Edenvale at a later date."

Museum artifacts have been stored in twenty-one rented trailers at the Toronto ON based Pearson International Airport and at several other locations around the city since 2013, when CASM was finally evicted from its original facility in Downsview ON.

The original notice of eviction was received in September 2011.

Since then, the museum has been unable to secure a new home at a major airport in a large urban area, in order to support the traffic required to continue to operate as a museum.

According to the post.
"Many politicians and community leaders in Ottawa and the Toronto area offered to help the museum find a new home, but big metropolitan cities have hundreds of worthwhile projects competing for limited government funds," observed Ian McDougall, the chairman of the museum. 
“The circumstances demanded that we focused on asset conservancy as the core mission of the museum, knowing the unlikelihood of securing viable and stable display space in the short term,” said McDougall.
There was initially some hope among CASM members that the organization could one day morph into the North American equivalent of the Hong Hong International Airport Aviation Discovery Centre. The Centre includes over twenty interactive exhibits and graphics plus a flight simulator, where you can experience plane takeoffs and landings from the pilot’s seat and is a well known tourist spot. Photo c/o Trip Advisor

CASM, which several years ago changed its name to the Toronto Aerospace Museum because of a spat it got into with the Ottawa ON based Canadian Aviation and Space Museum (CASM), will now again change its name and become the Canadian Air and Space Conservancy (CASM) in order to more appropriately reflect its new role.
The museum recognizes that its future success will depend on partnering with similar community and national organizations such as museums in Ottawa and Trenton. 
In future, it will make artefacts from the collection available to other like-minded organizations and other venues on a loan or exchange basis, expand its aircraft, artefact and archive collection, and resume aircraft restoration activities once facilities become available.
According to a November 11th, 2018 update to the CASM website:
A Volunteer Association is also being re-established and invitations to apply will be circulated in the months ahead.
As noted in the October 29th, 2018 post, "The Former CDN Air and Space Museum Avro Arrow Replica is Still Sitting in a Parking Lot at Pearson Airport," the situation reached a crisis point last month with some CASM members feeling that the museum needed to be dissolved so that the board could donate the deteriorating museum artifacts to other not-for-profit organizations or museums, where they could be restored and protected.

In the earlier article, CASM curator Brian Keaveney insisted that the museum wasn't defunct and that a new partner "should" be coming aboard soon to help cover costs and assist with the opening of either a new facility or new facilities, where artifacts could again be displayed.

Henry Stewart is the pseudonym of a Toronto based aerospace writer.

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