A former RCAF Lancaster surveillance aircraft that served as a gate guard in Toronto for decades may fly again if the B.C. Aviation Museum has its way. The museum, just north of Victoria on Vancouver Island, obtained the dismantled aircraft from the City of Toronto during the summer and the pieces arrived at Victoria Airport earlier this week. It took five semi-trailer transports to ship the massive aircraft. The plane is missing many parts and had been seriously vandalized during its time on a pole in a Toronto park but the museum says it has enough to restore.
“We’ve restored aircraft in worse shape than this, but not of this size,” said John Lewis, president of the museum. The B.C. museum was chosen by Toronto officials to take the Lancaster because of its experience restoring aircraft and because of the plan to put it back in the air. If they succeed, the plane will become the third flying Lancaster in the world behind one operated by the RAF in the U.K. and one regularly flown by the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario. The aircraft was built at Avro’s Malton plant in 1944 and was flown to the U.K. but never saw combat. After its return to Canada and converted for maritime surveillance. It patrolled the East Coast and North for 19 years before being mounted on the pole in Toronto’s Coronation Park. It was moved to the Canadian Air and Space Museum in 2011 but the museum was evicted from Downsview Park and the Lanc has been in storage since then. The restoration is expected to take 10 years and require millions of dollars. It cost $80,000 to move the parts to Victoria.