Toronto ‘Lanc’ for disposal

Avro Lancaster X FM104, which has been in storage at Toronto Pearson International Airport since the Toronto Aerospace Museum vacated its Downsview Park site in September 2011, has been put up for disposal by the City of Toronto.

The Victory Aircraft-built bomber was part-way through restoration by a team at the museum, the biggest issue with the airframe being that the floor and spars were cut before it was mounted on a pylon in the Canadian National Exhibition Grounds, close to Lake Ontario, in 1964. A steel girder was also installed through the length of the fuselage to stop it sagging, but by the time it was removed from the pylon in November 1999 the aircraft was near-derelict. The interior was totally stripped-out, and the restoration crew at Downsview was re-creating the pilot’s seats and other fittings.

With the City of Toronto now wanting FM104 off its books, there doesn’t appear to be any group in Toronto that would seem to want, or be able to take over, the restoration. The National Air Force Museum of Canada at Trenton, Ontario, is due to take delivery of Lancaster Mk10AR KB882 from Edmundston, New Brunswick soon, and it is understood that the Royal Canadian Air Force is taking an interest in the future of FM104.

The paint-stripped nose section of Lancaster FM104, currently in storage at Toronto Pearson International Airport. In the background is a full-size replica Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow.

The Edmundston Lancaster still retains the post-war, 40in extension to the nose, which accommodated navigation/ weather radar and equipment After arrival at Trenton it will go straight into the workshops for restoration in Mk10AR configuration, and be finished in an overall silver scheme. The work is expected to take about seven years, with a target to have the bomber — which flew 12 missions during 1945 with No 428 Squadron at Middleton St George — on display in time for the 100th anniversary of the RCAF on 1 April 2024.