Harvards fly in Remembrance Day ceremonies
Three historic Harvard aircraft from Tillsonburg flew above Toronto’s Old City Hall on Nov. 11 participating in the city’s annual Remembrance Day ceremony.
Bjarni Tryggvason, former Canadian astronaut and president of the all-volunteer Canadian Harvard Aircraft Association, led the three-plane formation leaving Tillsonburg about 10:15 a.m. Saturday with fellow CHAA pilots Scott McMaster and Percy Contractor at a speed of about 120 knots (222 km/h or 138 mph).
“Reasonably nice weather,” said Tryggvason. “Chilly, but nowhere near as cold as these planes were designed to take. On the ground getting ready, it’s chilly, but just dress for it. It’s fine, the airplane has a heater in it. These planes were used to train - through the war and after the war - all year round in the Prairies. If the temperature is cold, pre-heat the airplanes. The planes we used were inside a heated hangar overnight.”
After the Old City Hall tribute, the Harvards flew over the East York Civic Centre on Coxwell Avenue, past the Veteran’s Wing at Sunnybrook Hospital on Bayview Avenue, and over IBEW Local 353 on Lawrence Avenue East before returning to Tillsonburg about 12 p.m. continuing a CHAA tradition that goes back at least 18-20 years.
Funds raised will benefit both the Station and the Kinette Club of Tillsonburg.
“We have a unique home on the tour this year,” said Beard. “Seven Gables is joining us this year.”
Traditional stops include the Station, where the Tea Room will serve cider and hot beverages. Annandale National Historic Site, normally closed Saturdays, will be open to 9 p.m. on the 25th.
“It’s a unique situation for them,” said Beard.
“Theatre Tillsonburg asked if they could be on the tour again this year, decked out for the holidays. They haven’t been on the tour in many years, so we said ‘sure’.”
Three more homes give them a total of seven stops on the 2017 Tour.
“The nice thing about this year’s tour is that it won’t be piled on to a lot of other things that weekend,” said Beard. “People will be able to take their time and look around.”
The Kinettes and The Station are grateful to everyone who put their homes on the tour along with those who sponsored and donated door prizes to this event.