Prior to the Canadian International Air Show, there was the National Aircraft Show at the CNE. In 1928, its inaugural year, distinguished aces from Canada and the US dazzled spectators over the 14-day Exhibition. There was parachute jumping on the waterfront and breath-taking trick flying. The Aircraft Building (formerly Machinery Hall) displayed many types of small to large “heavier-than-air” machines.
The Canadian International Air Show & its History
The CIAS began in 1946 at the De Havilland Canada manufacturing plant, at what was known then as the De Havilland Airport (today’s Downsview Airport). The air show attracted overflow crowds and just three years later was moved to Exhibition Place. It became a regular feature of The CNE in 1956. The world-class display showcases the advancements in aeronautical technology, various types of aircraft including high performance jets and vintage aircraft as well as precision and stunt flying.
The Canadian International Air Show regularly includes Canadian and US military along with private and civilian performers. A few popular military teams include the CF Snowbirds and Blue Angels. Plus, there have been many notable appearances by other Canadian Armed Forces, US Air Force and US Navy aircraft. The skies over the lake have also seen the Red Arrows, Breitling Jet Team, British Airways Concorde, search and rescue displays, parachuting, heritage aircraft and much more.
Over the years, there has been opposition to the air show. Not only due to the noise levels, but also the sound of the fighter jets to those who have experienced the trauma of war. Because of the dangers of performing the precision manoeuvres and stunts, there have also been accidents related to and during the air show.