5 of Mike's log
13 August 2004 4:58am (CDT)
The "Jaws of Death". Epilogue
Well, after much deliberate avoidance, the inevitable finally happened
on August 7, 2004 at approximately 1400hrs when I was showing my friend
and in this instance, my driver, Mr. Jason S. Eldridge the locations
of some Avro heritage areas in Malton.
The "inevitable" came in the form of the drive that took us
right past the former A. V. Roe Canada site. All that remains south
of the railway tracks is one single solitary off-white painted building
adjacent to Airport Road that still seems to be utilized as some type
of storage facility. The rest of the Avro site has been reduced to several
huge piles of red bricks, concrete and other assorted debris. Lying
on the ground beside what was once the fence that divided the south
parking lot from the manufacturing bays of Avro is the faded red and
white smokestack from the steam generating plant and a peculiar looking
pale green metal box that is about 10' x 10' x 20' long that I can only
assume may too have come from the steam generating plant that was adjacent
to Bay 1. For those of you who may not have been familiar with the Avro
site, Bay 1 was the manufacturing area where the famous CF-105 Avro
Arrow was born. It was also where the Avro Arrow met its demise in the
hands of a thoughtless Canadian government in what has become known
as the "greatest act of vandalism in Canadian history.
On that fateful cold winter day in 1959, with one foul swoop of a pen,
John Diefenbaker, then Prime Minister of Canada, destroyed the Arrow,
destroyed the dream, crushed the lives of 14,000 Avro and Orenda people,
decimated the thriving town of Malton, Ontario and put another 31,000
employees who supplied parts to Avro out of work too. Many employees
and their families simply walked away from their homes unable to pay
the mortgages while others were quickly scooped up by American companies'
desperate to acquire the brilliant engineers and trades people who were
part of A. V. Roe Canada. Some employees however, like Jim Floyd returned
to their homeland to work on the SST (Concorde) project with a government
that wanted to see supersonic transport have a future in aviation, not
At the beginning of 2004, we still had our memories of opportunities
lost with the CF-105 Avro Arrow and before that, the Avro C-102 Jetliner
as we could still visit the site where there were it all took place.
Unfortunately however, that too became a distant memory when the GTAA
and Boeing Toronto gave the destruction order (yes, another one), this
time to Murray Demolition and A. V. Roe Canada came crashing down. All
that remains from the "Jaws of Death" now is debris, dust
and our memories.
Michael J. Deschamps, Freelance Writer.