Canadian Air and Space Museum Downsview

Canadian Air and Space Museum done at Downsview

After news broke that the Canadian Air and Space Museum had been served an eviction notice last Tuesday, the museum thought it got some good news in the form of a six month extension to continue operations at Downsview Park. As it turns out, however, park management claims that the extension it issued was solely so that the museum could "wind down [its] operations."

In a press release distributed yesterday, the museum claims that this restriction of its use of the facilities runs counter to a verbal agreement that had been reached earlier this week. "The Park told media that the Museum could continue to welcome visitors and tours during the 6-months, when in fact they told the Museum to wind down their operations with no more public access," it reads.

The museum might have a point. Although a Toronto Sun article on the subject of the additional six-months is more self-congratulatory than helpful in clarifying the terms of the extension, a quotation from David Soknacki, Chair of the Board of Directors of Downsview Park, from an Inside Toronto article gives the impression that tenants would be allowed to do more than just close up shop.

"We understand the museum has artifacts that might be fragile and we said we will pay for the move, or store it at the park, when they decide what they want to do," Soknacki told the publication. "We are open to proposals from the museum to determine where they want to go and they can move to another area of the park if they want to. But we don't know what direction they want to go in. All affected tenants have six months to vacate. The locks have been changed but they can still access the site and hold functions."

I suppose it hinges on what exactly "hold functions" implies, but regardless of whether or not there was a change of heart on the part of the park, the museum's doors will remain closed at this location. The last visitors to pass through did so on Saturday, and now volunteers will look to find other homes for the artifacts, which include a replica Avro Arrow. After tenants have vacated the space, work will begin to re-purpose the building as a four-pad ice rink facility that's projected to open in fall 2013.

Photo by Petia Karrin


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