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About Us

Canada Aviation MuseumBuilding a Collection

The Canada Aviation Museum

When the Canada Aviation Museum (CAvM) first opened at Uplands airport in Ottawa, it was one of three major collections owned by the Canadian government.

At that time, CAvM’s focus was on bush flying and early aircraft manufacturers in Canada. A second collection, held by the Canadian War Museum, concentrated on military aircraft from World War I to the 1950’s, while the Royal Canadian Air Force collection emphasized military aircraft related to RCAF history.

Beginning in 1964, the three collections were amalgamated for public display under a new name, the “National Aeronautical Collection”, in new quarters at Ottawa’s historic Rockcliffe Airport. The arrangement, which gave visitors a better perspective on the development and use of aircraft in Canada over the years, proved to be tremendously popular.

Coming under the wing of the National Museum of Science and Technology in 1967, the National Aeronautical Collection continued to acquire both military and civil aircraft important to Canadian and world aviation history. It has since grown to include more than 130 aircraft and countless artifacts such as engines, propellers, instruments, armament, flying gear and wind tunnel models. In 2000, the National Aviation Museum was officially renamed the Canada Aviation Museum and remains a component Museum of the Canada Science and Technology Museum Corporation.

The Canada Aviation Museum has avoided the tendency to concentrate exclusively on the aviation accomplishments of a single nation, or on developments within one sector of the aviation industry. Instead, the Museum’s collection policy is to illustrate the development of the flying machine in both peace and war from the pioneer period to the present time. The collection gives particular, but not exclusive, reference to Canadian achievements. Consequently, aircraft from many nations are represented in the collection—a fact that has earned it a strong international following.

The Canada Aviation Museum is recognized as having the most extensive aviation collection in Canada and one which ranks among the best in the world. In 1988, the importance of the collection was acknowledged in the opening at Rockcliffe of the first phase of a multi-phase development program to serve as the new home of the collection.