I have always loved going to museums because I feel like they capture moments in time that allow us to get a peak into how things once were. I especially love learning more about Canadian history through visual and interactive opportunities any chance I can get. I had never heard of the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum until recently, and once I found out about it, we couldn’t wait to go. Located right next to Hamilton International Airport, it’s not a far drive for us, only about 35 minutes, which makes it a great day trip.
We had the opportunity to tour through this magnificent warplane museum that features more than 40 aircraft, from vintage WWII aircraft to modern jets that have been flown by Canadian military and civilians. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum aims to maintain and restore aircrafts which are displayed in their natural elements to help educate the public about the aircraft once used, and currently used.
A collection of over forty aircraft has grown through the friendship of Dennis Bradley and Alan Ness. Their love of aviation and their desire to maintain and preserve Canada’s aviation history saw restoration projects that were not only great pieces of workmanship but airworthy examples.
We were in awe when we approached the museum because it’s a fully functional hangar that features a CF-104 Starfighter directly outside near the entrance of the building. Upon entering, we were instantly blown away by the carefully crafted displays that featured models planes, medals, life size displays, artifacts, and lots of educational material to read throughout. A theatre room allows you to watch war movies to see some of the planes in action. Once we made our way through those displays, we entered into the warplane showroom. Wow. I wasn’t expecting SO many planes! All in immaculate and cared for condition, proudly on display, and some of them allowed for the public to tour through with a guide.
We had the opportunity to tour through the Douglas c-47 Dakota. This plane was active in WWII and the museum has acquired it from Environment Canada to restore it back to its original condition, which will be painted in camo colours. The guide was so informative and it was really neat for the kids to step inside the plane and see the workings of it.
The plane that blew us away was the Avro Lancaster MK X – a bomber plane. It’s huge! Very impressive and they allow tours through it for a fee of $5. It’s pretty amazing to think that this was an active aircraft that carried bombs at one point in time.
The crowd lingered around this plane much longer than many of the other planes. The kids were in awe. It’s a very intimidating piece of aircraft and definitely shines a little brighter than the rest in the museum!
I liked how the museum casually had donation boxes set up near many of the displays that were in restoration, so it gives people the opportunity to donate if they wanted to help bring many of the beautiful aircraft back to life.
We really enjoyed the various displays throughout and the attention to detail as it would be found when originally used. There were so many different aircrafts to admire, including these just to name a few:
- Avro Anson
- Fairey Firefly
- de Havilland Tiger Moth
- Fleet Finch
- Grumman Avenger
- Hawker Hurricane
- And MANY, many more!
You can also take a flight of stairs that lead you to a lookout on the roof where you can view the planes that are outside from up high. It was so neat. We also enjoyed the displays near the top of one of these stairs where the “Brick Bomber” was displaying a lot of his collectibles and they shared a cute story about the Brick Bomber being the only person to take down a Japanese plane because he threw bricks out of a plane to lighten the load, and wound up hitting one of these Japanese planes in the process! Such an amazing story, and amazing to see the actual Brick Bomber there with his amazing collection.
Vintage Aircraft Flights
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can actually fly in one of the aircrafts – the rare Fairey Firefly, Westland Lysander, or the Avro Lancaster. Would make for a great gift for someone you know who would love the experience!
They have fun things that the kids enjoyed, like the simulator area where you can use computers to feel like you’re operating a plane, as well as a mock pit to see all the fascinating buttons and dials that are used.
The cafe is a quaint section located in a different area from the aviation displays and is perfect for grabbing a bite to eat. We enjoyed fries, hamburgers, chicken fingers and sandwiches, as well as drinks. It had a wall of windows that showcased a car show being held at the time in behind the museum which was great to stroll through after we were done eating.
At the end of the tour, you exit through the gift shop which is full of aircraft collectibles and items that any aircraft lover would love to have. We actually spent quite a bit of time looking through the gift shop at all the neat items! Some of the stuff was truly unique and there’s die-cast model planes that I would love to get someday for my son to have for his room. You can conveniently purchase from their gift shop online as well!
Disclosure: I partnered with Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum for purpose of review. However, all views and opinions expressed are genuine and my own.
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