During World War II, Canteens at British
Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP) stations were a place of happy
refuge for students, staff and civilians. They were a place where an airman
or airwoman could go to meet and socialize with friends, write a letter
home or play a game of cribbage while enjoying a favourite beverage and
munching on a sandwich or a doughnut. They were sanctuaries where ordinarily
rigid RCAF protocol was relaxed and one could forget, for a few hours at
a time, the rigours and stresses of training and a world a war.
With our restoration, we hope we have done justice
to the structure of this building and more importantly, the spirit contained
within. We wish that those who experienced BCATP canteens first hand, those
who now come to see what a BCATP canteen was all about and those who will
be utilizing our beautiful facility for business or social functions will
feel this spirit -- take a moment inside the canteen and see if you can
feel it too. We look forward to meeting our visitors and wish them many
more happy times in our newly re-opened canteen.
The Canteen restoration is a key component in
Phase I of the Commonwealth
Air Training Plan Museum Redevelopment Plan. Broadly speaking, we have
adopted the objective of replicating a British Commonwealth Air Training
Plan station through the restoration of our existing buildings and new
construction of other buildings typical of such a base.
Although we are situated on the site of No. 12
SFTS (Service Flying Training School), we take a generic approach to the
exhibition of artifacts with hope that a visit to our museum will conjure
the experience and feel of any and all BCATP stations during World War
To this end, we are building on the phenomenal
achievements of our volunteers since the museum opened to the public on
July 3, 1982. We are currently in the midst of Phase I of our $3,099,639
We are proud to be at the Commonwealth Air Training
Museum today for the dedication and formal re-opening of our Canteen Building.
The Canteen is one of three CATPM buildings which are original artifacts
of No. 12 SFTS of the BCATP. It and Hangar No. 1 sit in their original
"footprints" while the dental building, although authentic to the plan,
was formerly located on the west side of No. 12 SFTS.
Since embarking on Phase
I of the Redevelopment Plan, over $236,000 raised by the CATPM Capital
Campaign and thousands of volunteer hours have gone into rebuilding this
As the pictures on this page show, the Canteen
was temporarily moved off of its badly deteriorated foundation to be replaced
by a modern concrete pad complete with state-of-the-art geothermal heating
coils within. Great care was taken by our builders to ensure that the Canteen
was placed back in the exact location from which it was lifted. The restoration
of the canteen involved pretty well every component and system within the
building. Items restored, rebuilt and newly installed include windows,
doors, the lean-to, siding roofing, HVAC, plumbing, electrical and interior
In addition to the extensive work committed to
the Canteen, further restoration plans include Hangar No. 1 and the Dental
Building. Under the plan so far, a new building has been completed replicating
a World War II RCAF Motor Transport / Beam Approach Training Building.
Work continues on the restoration of an authentic World War II H-Hut building,
generously donated to the CATP Museum by Canadian Forces Base Shilo. Future
building projects included in the Redevelopment plan are new construction
of a BCATP hangar-inspired Interpretation Centre, a Guard House and the
Victory Memorial Garden to be located by the entrance to our facility.
To date $1,679,718 of the proposed budget for
Phase I has been received as cash donations, gifts-in-kind and volunteer
labour. It seems appropriate that half way through our 10 year redevelopment
plan, we have received actual contributions and commitments for more than
one half of our proposed costs.
The remaining $1,420,921 is yet to be found --
however, our fund-raisers and patrons are a dedicated lot. They are not
about to let us forget our obligations toward completion of this plan,
just as the CATPM is not willing to let us forget the contributions of
the BCATP to the world today.