Now they have are settled into their new permanent location, a city aviation museum is back open for business.
The Northwestern Ontario Aviation Heritage Centre officially held a grand reopening ceremony on Sunday, as they moved into their new Waterloo Street location directly across the parking lot from the Da Vinci Centre.
NOAHC secretary Denise Lyzun said now that the centre is open to the public they can showcase the vibrant
“Now that we have a permanent space one of our wishes is that people will come out and see what a rich aviation history this area has,” NOAHC secretary Denise Lyzun said. “I think people are often surprised at what we do have and how this area was explored.”
Exhibits at the centre include various books, fighter pilot helmets, aircraft equipment, models and other pieces of history.
The organization also features interviews with various people involved in the region’s aviation past, including former Canada Car factory workers and bush pilots.
Those who visited the site on Sunday shouldn’t necessarily expect to see the same exhibits present if they make repeat visits.
NOAHC president James Milne said the organization plans to get comfortable in their new digs, and intends to have the centre always evolving.
“This will be changing constantly with new items coming in and changing around,” Milne explained.
“You have to do that in a museum. People will come once and they see, if they come a second time fine, but they won’t come back a third time if you don’t change it.”
While still in the same building as before, the executive members of the centre now feel they are in a space that is much more conducive to their cause.
“I’m really happy with the space,” Lyzun said. “It’s a much better space than we had before, and it provides us with an opportunity to set up more displays and just make it more pleasant for people to visit and get more information.”
Looking at the relics from a past era takes Milne back in time.
He thinks back to the late 1930s when he saw his first aircraft.
“It takes me back to when I was eight-years-old and saw my first airplane,” Milne said. “I’ve been involved in aviation for most of my life.”
The centre coincided the grand reopening with the celebration of member Elizabeth Wieben winning an Elsie MacGill Northern Lights Award for her teaching career.
After spending a lifetime in aviation, Wieben spent from 1986 to 2005 working as an instructor at Confederation College.
She said knowing she made an impact on future pilots, and helped blaze the trail for females in the industry, form the highlight of her professional life.
“I was once asked by someone the most significant thing I did in aviation, and really I think it is my college career and my students I flew with and what they’re doing now,” Wieben said. “In particular, the women I encouraged because they saw someone else doing it.”
The aviation centre will be open on Sundays from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. and can be open upon request during weekdays. Lyzun said they hope to have special events for schools and children, and would welcome interest from seniors groups.
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