Aviation in Canada: The Pioneer Decades (2008) provides overview of Curtiss flying school at Long Branch, near Toronto

Aviation in Canada: The Pioneer Decades (2008) by Larry Milberry is described as “the first general interest book dedicated to Canada’s beginnings in flight.”

I became interested in the book as a result of receiving a JPEG file of a photo (see below) by Bob Lansdale of a photo of the “Y” Squadron air crew, Long Branch. I was interested as well to read a comment about the panorama by Colleen O’Marra. [To access an earlier blog post about the photo, click on the first link in the paragraph you are now reading. To read a follow-up blog post related to the photo, click on the second link in the paragarph you are now reading.]

The following photo is from Bob Lansdale, who’s given permission to post it:


PANORAMA AIR CREW 1917. Photo by Bob Lansdale of the original photo


Additional Long Branch photos

I look forward to tracking down additional photos related to the Long Branch First World War flying school.

I’m interested in any information you may wish to share regarding how to locate the following photos (see below), so I can arrange for permission to post them, if possible, in low-resolution format at this website. I mention this because I’m a writer not an archivist.

Soldaten (2011)

The history of the Long Branch flying school is part of an age-old story of fighting and dying in the course of military history.

Photos related to the Curtiss flying school at Long Branch (in Ontario not New Jersey)

Aviation in Canada (2008) includes some great photos related to Long Branch. One is on p. 6 with a caption that reads:

1. This unidentified group comprises mainly student pilots at the Curtiss flying school at Long Branch, near Toronto circa 1915, (DND PMR71-11)

2. On p. 53 of the above-mentioned book is photo showing an aerial view from July 1915 of the Curtiss school at Long Branch along with what appears to be the cover of a pamhlet entitled “Ceremony of Commemoration – Canada’s First Aerodrome and Flying School – 1915 – Long Branch – 1916.”

The caption reads as follows:

Aerial view of the Curtiss school at Long Branch taken by D.A. Hay in July 1915. The three adjoined hangars were the largest in Canada. Lakeshore Road, the main route into nearby Toronto, is in view. Then, the brochure describing a ceremony of September 21, 1969 when Curtiss graduates witnessed the unveiling of a plaque that reads in part: “In May 1915 Curtiss Aeroplanes and Motors Ltd. established Canada’s first aerodrome and flying school on this site.” The artwork, rendered by Robert W. Bradford, shows the Curtiss Canada over the field. By 1969 the site was partly occupied by Ontario Hydro’s Lakeview Generating Station. In 2008 it was largely built-up, or awaiting future development (Ontario Provincial Archives Acc.10497-12, Halford Col.)

[End of caption]

The book notes (p. 54) that Donald A. Hay of Owen Sound, Ontario, the photographer credited with the July 1915 aerial view of the Aerodrome, was one of the 10 original graduates of the Long Branch flying school. Hay was killed in action on Sept. 27, 1915.

The Long Branch Aerodrome heritage site is now in Mississauga

At one point Long Branch apparently extended westward beyond where its western border is now located.

It’s my understanding, from what I have read, that place names such as Long Branch Rifle Range and Long Branch Aerodrome are based upon the fact that, in the days when the rifle ranges and the aerodrome were given their names, it was convenient to name them as associated with Long Branch – because the Long Branch railway station was a landmark in the area.

That is to say, it’s my understanding that the rifle ranges and the aerodrome, located west of Etobicoke Creek, were never actually in the Village of Long Branch.

An additional topic of interest concerns the boundary between Mississauga and Toronto. Thee municipal boundary, between the City of Mississauga and the City of Toronto, is Etobicoke Creek – that is, if you are looking to the north of Lakeshore Road East and Lake Shore Blvd. West. (At the border as you travel east, Lakeshore Road East become Lake Shore Blvd. West.)

However, south of the above-noted roadway, the municipal boundary follows, in an approximate way, a line associated with where the western branch of Etobicoke Creek used to run. The boundary line, right at the Lake Ontario shoreline, is at a point a short ways to the east of where Applewood Creek exits into Lake Ontario.

It’s easy to assume that the current, channelized version of Etobicoke Creek, south of Lake Shore Blvd. West, must be where the Mississauga-Toronto border is not located. In fact, in this area, the border is considerably to the west of where a person might imagine it to be, were they not aware of where the western and southern branches of Etobicoke Creek used to run, before the eastern branch was channelized, and the western and southern branches were filled in.

If you know any historical or archival details related to these topics, please let me know.



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