Canadian International Air Show – Thrilling Aerobatic Performances

2010's - CF Snowbirds at the Canadian International Air Show
2010’s – CF Snowbirds at the Canadian International Air Show (The Ex)

The Canadian International Air Show (CIAS) has been taking place at The CNE since 1949. Highly skilled pilots have been performing thrilling aerobatics over Lake Ontario while crowds watched in amazement.

The National Aircraft Show

Before the Canadian International Air Show, the National Aircraft Show was at the CNE. In 1928, its inaugural year, pilots 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 small to large flying machines.

The Canadian International Air Show & its History

1972 - The Air Show at the CNE from Lake Shore Blvd W, looking over Lake Ontario
1972 – The Air Show at the CNE from Lake Shore Blvd W, looking over Lake Ontario (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 96, Item 78)

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 moved to Exhibition Place three years later. 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.

Labour Day Weekend at the CNE

The air show takes place on Labour Day weekend in the skies over Exhibition grounds and Lake Ontario. See the Canadian International Air Show for details.

Canadian International Air Show Photos

2010's - Jet Team performing in the Canadian International Air Show
2010’s – Jet Team performing in the Canadian International Air Show (The Ex)
September 3, 2022 – Northern Stars Aeroteam performing at the Canadian International Air Show
September 3, 2022 – Northern Stars Aeroteam performing at the Canadian International Air Show
September 3, 2022 – Northern Stars Aeroteam performing at the Canadian International Air Show
September 3, 2022 – Northern Stars Aeroteam performing at the Canadian International Air Show
1950's - Canadian International Air Show at The Ex
1950’s – Canadian International Air Show at The Ex (CNE Archives)
1959 - Air Force Pilots at the Canadian International Air Show in front of the Princess Margaret Fountain
1959 – Air Force Pilots at the Canadian International Air Show in front of the Princess Margaret Fountain (CNE Archives)
1972 - The Air Show at the CNE from Lake Shore Blvd W, looking over Lake Ontario
1972 – The Air Show at the CNE from Lake Shore Blvd W, looking over Lake Ontario (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 96, Item 78)
1953 - Royal Canadian Navy helicopter at the CNE
1953 – Royal Canadian Navy helicopter at the CNE (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 536, Item 106)
2010s - The Canadian International Air Show at the CNE
2010s – The Canadian International Air Show at the CNE (The Ex)
1919 - Junkers J-1, aka the "Sheet Metal Donkey" at the Canadian National Exhibition
1919 – Junkers J-1, aka the “Sheet Metal Donkey” at the Canadian National Exhibition (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 4544)
1974 – A rear view of an airplane and the Zipper and Alpine Way rides in the distance at the CNE Midway
1974 – A rear view of an airplane and the Zipper and Alpine Way rides in the distance at the CNE Midway (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 95, Item 27)
1972 – A Crowd along Lakeshore Blvd waiting for the air show with Ontario Place in the background
1972 – A Crowd along Lakeshore Blvd waiting for the air show with Ontario Place in the background (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 96, Item 57)
2010s - Breitling Jet Team at the Canadian International Air Show at the CNE
2010s – Breitling Jet Team at the Canadian International Air Show at the CNE (The Ex)
1959 - Royal Canadian Air Force jet aircraft at The Ex
1959 – Royal Canadian Air Force jet aircraft at The Ex (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 96, Item 9)
1961 - Canadian International Air Show at The Ex
1961 – Canadian International Air Show at The Ex (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 96, Item 29)
1972 - Parachutes landing during Air Show at the CNE, Ontario Place is in the background
1972 – Parachutes landing during Air Show at the CNE, Ontario Place is in the background (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 96, Item 67)
1959 - Spitfire aircraft on display at the CNE
1959 – Spitfire aircraft on display at the CNE (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 96, Item 11)
1957 – A re-fueling demonstration at the CNE air show
1957 – A re-fueling demonstration at the CNE air show (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 96, Item 2)
1928 - The front of the Exhibition's Aircraft Building
1928 – The front of the Exhibition’s Aircraft Building (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 14683)
1972 - Lake Shore Blvd and helicopters in the Canadian International Air Show, at the Exhibition
1972 – Lake Shore Blvd and helicopters in the Canadian International Air Show, at the Exhibition (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 96, Item 70)
2010's - CF Snowbirds at the Canadian International Air Show at the CNE
2010’s – CF Snowbirds at the Canadian International Air Show at the CNE (The Ex)
1958 - Canadian International Air Show program cover
1958 – Canadian International Air Show program cover (CNE Archives)
1957 - Royal Canadian Air Force Rescue helicopter over Lake Ontario, during the CNE
1957 – Royal Canadian Air Force Rescue helicopter over Lake Ontario, during the CNE (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 96, Item 4)
1928 - US Air Squadron in flight at the Exhibition
1928 – US Air Squadron in flight at the Exhibition (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 14702)
1907 - Air Show at the Canadian National Exhibition
1907 – Air Show at the Canadian National Exhibition (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 1461)
2010's - CF Snowbirds at the Canadian International Air Show
2010’s – CF Snowbirds at the Canadian International Air Show (The Ex)
1960s – A display at Canadian National Exhibition
1960s – A display at Canadian National Exhibition (CNE Archives)
2020 - Canadian International Air Show heritage plaque
2020 – Canadian International Air Show heritage plaque
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