Located on a former military air base, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum traces Canada’s fascinating aviation history, from Canada’s first powered airplane flight in 1909 to modern aircraft and space exploration.
History comes to life as you wander through Canada’s different eras of aviation in housed in the spacious museum. Not sure where to start your visit? Here are four things to see and do on your next visit to the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. (Hot tip: Whether you’re a first-timer at the museum or a frequent flyer, CAA Members save 25 per cent on single admission tickets and 10 per cent on Ingenium memberships.)
Explore the museum's aircrafts
The museum is home to more than 130 civilian and military aircraft and artifacts. Walking through the Main Exhibition Hall, you’ll find planes from the beginning of Canada’s aviation history, like a replica of the AEA Silver Dart. The Silver Dart was Canada’s first powered airplane and had its maiden voyage on February 23, 1909.
A few steps along, you’ll find yourself in the eras of World War I and World War II, when flight really took off. The collection also includes early Canadian passenger planes and modern helicopters. Take note of the Curtiss HS-2L La Vigilance which was used in forestry patrols for the pulp and paper industry in Quebec.
Amongst the aircraft artifacts like propellers and engines, you’ll also spot a large nosepiece, the only remnant of the ground-breaking and controversial Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow 2. Built and designed in Canada and ordered to be disassembled in 1959 over political uproar, the Avro Arrow is the stuff of legend in Canadian aviation engineering.
Learn about life in space
Ever wonder what life at the International Space Station (ISS) is like? Find out with “Life in Orbit: The International Space Station” exhibit. Learn about the effects of space on the human body, how astronauts stay entertained, and see an actual space suit.
The exhibit is an interactive experience that space enthusiasts will love. Try your hand at completing tasks with pressurized gloves and see the ISS through the eyes of astronauts. You can even take a selfie from the station’s Cupola. You’ll discover how the ISS stays in orbit, the critical research conducted by astronauts, and the role of Canada in space research and exploration.
How do astronauts stay fit and healthy in microgravity? The “Health in Space: Daring to Explore” exhibit has the answers, courtesy of audio from astronaut Dr. David Saint-Jacques, who acted as a crew medical officer during his time at the International Space Station.
The Canadarm goes into outer space
First deployed into orbit in 1981 and retired in 2011, the first Canadarm is now on display at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum. During its years of service, the Canadarm was designed to act like a human arm in response to NASA’s need to unload a space shuttle’s payload bay. The Canadarm was also used since its first mission in 1981 to aid astronauts on spacewalks, send satellites into orbit, and assemble the International Space Station.
You can see the Canadarm and other artifacts from Canada’s time in space throughout the “Canada in Space” exhibit. You can see the Canadarm and other artifacts from Canada’s time in space throughout the “Canada in Space” exhibit. You will find replicas of Marc Garneau’s flight suit and Chris Hadfield’s Sokol space suit worn on the way to and from the ISS for his five-month stay in 2012-2013. There is even an engineering model of Canada’s first space satellite, Alouette-1, intended to serve as a backup in case the rocket carrying Alouette I blew up and destroyed the satellite.
Check out the REX Rover
Much like the NASA rovers currently exploring Mars, REX is a Robot Explore designed to collect data and samples on Mars. REX is one of 13 rovers that the Canadian Space Agency has developed. The prototypes are essential for research, allowing scientists to test the equipment’s operation before a rover goes on a mission. In 2010, REX was a part of trials run by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).
Explore the skies with CAA
Did you know that your CAA Membership helps you save on ticket prices at Ottawa’s Ingenium museums? CAA Members save 25 per cent on single admission tickets, and 10 per cent on Ingenium memberships.