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The last of the biplanes

It was 1939 and the Canadian Car and Foundry Company’s (Can-Car) new FDB-1 fighter-bomber had just demonstrated that it could out-climb a Hurricane or Spitfire.  After flying it, an RCAF test pilot extolled its dogfighting agilities, which he said would also challenge that of contemporary fighters. Aeronautical engineer Michael Gregor had earlier convinced Can-Car’s...
  • The great call-up

    August 7, 2018 by Graham Chandler
    What was it like to be conscripted during the First World War? In 1910, William Joseph Rowntree dropped out of school to work full time on his father’s mixed farm near Weston, Ont. So when Ottawa issued its Proclamation Calling Out Class 1 on Oct. 12,...
  • Into icy waters

    May 8, 2018 by Tom MacGregor
    Fifty years ago, the Ottawa River claimed the lives of seven paratroopers on a routine jump Every May, retired paratroopers, family and friends gather for a small ceremony in Petawawa, Ont., to remember those who died in the worst parachute accident in the history of...
  • War and the women’s vote

    March 7, 2018 by Valerie Knowles
    This year marks the 100th anniversary of not only the end of the First World War, but also the extension of the federal suffrage to most Canadian women, a development spearheaded by tenacious Canadian suffragists and abetted by the war itself. Like the Allies’ victory...
  • The smoke of war

    February 23, 2018 by Graham Chandler
    “Our Boys Want Smokes,” trumpets a First World War storefront window poster sponsored by the Over-Seas Club. “For 25 cents we send a dollar’s worth. Contributions received here for Canada’s Tobacco Fund.” It was happening all across the country: show your patriotism and support our...
  • The lonely fight of the tuberculous veterans

    October 8, 2017 by Tom MacGregor
    Time spent in the trenches of the First World War was miserable. Not only were chances of being killed or wounded high, but Canadian soldiers were in the line for days at a time in the same damp clothes, fighting over muddy grounds. It was...
  • The secret life at Camp X

    August 14, 2017 by June Coxon
    It was 1942 and one evening 20-year-old Winnifred Davidson, known as Davey to her friends, was whisked away from Toronto in an unmarked maroon car and driven to an undisclosed location. When she arrived there, she was instructed, “Don’t tell anyone where you are or...
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