Arrow RL-204 in late 1958 sits ready on the pad at the Downsview, Ontario A.V. Roe plant. (Don Rogers,wikimedia)

Avro Arrow: legendary jet replica languishes

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The CF-105 Avro Arrow retains a vivid place in the minds of Canadian aviation and aerospace buffs.

The sleek interceptor symbolizes Canadian innovation and what could have been, should have been, Canada’s leading place in aerospace.

After an outstandingly promising start, the flying models, those under construction and all jigs and tools were suddenly ordered chopped up and reduced to scrap in 1959.

But the plane has never been forgotten.

There was great excitement this week when the first of several 1/8 scale flight test models had been recovered from Lake Ontario. The models had been launched from rockets out over the lake to test supersonic flight characteristics of the designs and modifications.

Full scale model

The search for the scale test models was made to find some vestiges of this fantastic, almost mythological plane.  But in the 1990s’ a group decided the public should see an accurate full-scale example.  A group of about 140 volunteers, some of whom had in fact worked on the original, began work on a full-sized replica.

AFter years of painstaking work, the almost complete full scale replica is revealed in 2006. (CBC(

After seven years of painstaking work, the impressive replica, a full-sized model, was completed in Toronto near where the original plane had been created. It was rolled our for the public in 2006..

It was based on RL-203, the third and last flying Arrow, which was flown on the last day of testing prior to the destruction order.

The replica, with markings to identify it as RL-203, at the Toronto musuem (via City News-YouTube)

For years it was on display at the Toronto Aerospace museum (Canadian Air and Space Museum).

However the museum was evicted in 2013 from its Downsview site to make way for an ice-rink complex.

The plane was partially disassembled for transport to another site at Pearson Airport in Toronto about 18 kilometres away and almost just as soon forgotten.

Some of those volunteers recently contacted a Toronto news outlet to express their concern. They found that the once beautifully striking replica had simply been pushed to the side at the corner of a lot at the airport where it had been sitting for years, exposed to the elements and deteriorating.

The once painstakingly created replica now sits forlorn and deteriorating in the elements outside at Pearson International Airport, Toronto (City News-Youtube)

Toronto Mayor John Tory was contacted by the Toronto Sun news service in 2017 and said he would try to find a home for it.

A year later, and another year exposed to the elements Mayor Tory was contacted this year by City News and said much the same thing.

Meanwhile the once impressive replica sits exposed in a confined closed off corner of the airport.

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3 comments on “Avro Arrow: legendary jet replica languishes
  1. Avatar Guy Nicoletti says:

    I heard that a home was indeed found for it…one and a half hours down the road at the Jet Museum in London Ontario. Their efforts were turned down so instead it sits languishing and deteriorating in the elements. I would think that even if it was “loaned” for a few years and properly displayed would be better that the predicament it is in.

  2. Avatar Kyle Miller says:

    Count me in among those who find this ‘unbelievable’. A full scale replica, of a Canadian Icon of aviation prowess, the result of years of dedicated volunteer work, sitting outside in pieces covered with a tarp?

    I agree 100% with Jeff!

    Let’s find some floor space for it somewhere in the cavernous spaces inside the terminals at Pearson.

  3. Avatar Jeff Cooke says:

    I am appalled that most Canadians including our governments are so complacent about Canadian history.

    To see Torontonians lose their aviation museum, then Lancaster FM104 and now the potentially the replica of iconic Arrow is devastating. The Aerospace industry ranks amongst the tops when it comes to the type of business that a country would love to have to develop its economy.

    Simply said take this fine replica and place in some location that is prominent to all Canadians and visitors to Canada. Put our history and capabilities on display for all to see. Be proud of our heritage!

    I am at loss to understand why the Canadian Government, the Ontario Government, the City of Toronto and the GTAA can not find a home within the Toronto International Terminal structures to display the Arrow. I can not think of a finer attraction in the terminal for all to see and for Canadians to be proud of.

    Shame on you Canada, Ontario and Toronto if you let this one get away.