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Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum

attraction 300 Commonwealth Way, Brandon, Canada

The massive Commonwealth Air Training Plan Hangar is situated amid a prairie landscape of flat open fields along Highway 10, one kilometre north of Highway 1 (Trans Canada Highway). Located on the east side of Brandon’s municipal airport, the double land-plane structure was built in 1941, at a cost of about $1 million. The facility opened officially on 19 July 1941. Two relief fields, one north of Chater and the other a few miles east of Brandon, provided alternate places for aircraft to land if they could not do so at the main runways here.

The Commonwealth Air Training Plan (CATP) Hangar, an intact utilitarian wood-frame complex, is a tangible and rare structural reminder of one of Canada’s major contributions to the allied military effort during the Second World War. The CATP Hangar is one of the few that remain out of 700 hangar-type structures erected for the plan from standardized designs. Built by Bird Construction Company of Winnipeg as one of five hangars serving No. 12 Service Flying Training School at Brandon, the facility housed Cessna Crane and Anson aircraft for pilot training.

The hangar is now occupied by the Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum, Canada’s only museum dedicated solely to preserving the Plan’s history and artifacts, including vintage aircraft and equipment. It is designated by the Manitoba government as one of its Signature Museums. In the 2000s, the museum participated in the Manitoba Prairie Icons Program. Commemorative plaques on the museum grounds were placed there by the Manitoba Heritage Council and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. A Memorial Wall, unveiled on 10 September 2014, pays tribute to those who were killed during military service, in Canada and elsewhere.

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Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum

Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum

Photo: Gordon Goldsborough

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