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CFB Borden marks 100 years since RCAF took flight with unveiling of new monument, museum

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The Royal Canadian Air Force's (RCAF) storied history was marked across the country on Tuesday, including at one of its most important military bases,  CFB (Canadian Forces Base) Borden.

CFB Borden celebrated the 100th anniversary of the RCAF with a monument unveiling and reopening of its Hangar 11 museum, inviting members of the public and Canadian Armed Forces to attend the festivities.

Hangar 11 was the first stop on the day, with the museum featuring pivotal artifacts of the RCAF's history at the base, which includes even the hangar itself, as one of the best preserved wartime hangars in the country.

A plane inside the newly reopened Hangar 11 museum at CFB Borden, taken on April 2, 2024 (Christian D'Avino/CTV News) According to the museum's director, Andrew Gregory, the museum pays special tribute to those who never made it overseas.

"The British government decided that it needed a Canadian training program and so Borden was the first site selected. So consequently, a Lieutenant Colonel showed up here on January 27, 1917 and immediately decided that an aerodrome should be built here and it becomes the first built military aerodrome in Canada," Gregory said. "Training began within weeks of the decision to build, the first casualty occurs on April 8. I think of the thousands that died during the first World War, we don't realize that in two years that the RCAF was operating here at Borden, 149 trainee pilots and instructors were killed."

CFB Borden officials then transitioned to the unveiling of its latest monument, the Ad Astra Monument near the entrance of CFB Borden.

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Ad Astra, meaning "to the stars" in Latin, points to the sky to honour all those who've served for Canada through the air.

"It joins several other installations created to ensure the service and sacrifice of Canada's military members are not forgotten," said Lieutenant-General Eric Kenny, Commander of the RCAF.

The museum and the monument are now both open to the public to attend and visit.(opens in a new tab)

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