Prince Edward County’s Newspaper of Record
May 17, 2024
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Arrow Trail to highlight aviation history in time for RCAF centenary

County Museums presented a new driving trail to Council last week. The Arrow Trail will commemorate Canada’s legendary contribution to military aviation, the Avro Arrow, which has strong PEC roots. From the mid to late 1950s various miniature test models (about 3 metres long) of this advanced aircraft were launched from Point Petre, from which they would fly at supersonic speeds, transmitting data, until they ran out of fuel and sank in Lake Ontario.

Ultimately, when the US government announced it had different priorities, it pressured Canada to scrap the Arrow project, requiring the destruction of its piloted and test models as well as the blueprints. As Councillor Roy Pennell noted, “It was an exciting time for Canada, but there’s a sad part to that story and how it ended. Hopefully we’ll be able to expand on that part. I hope both sides of the story can be told.”

The test models that had sunk off Point Petre remained so, despite a variety of search attempts, until the “Raise the Arrow” project discovered one in 2017. It is now housed in Ottawa’s Aviation and Space Museum. Another was discovered in 2020.

Chris Palmer, Supervisor of Museums & Cultural Services addressed Council regarding The Arrow Trail Project, the 150 kilometre driving route that connects key elements of Canadian history to its aviation theme. It runs from the National Air Force Museum in Trenton to the Mariners’ Park Museum, which places the efforts of “Raise the Arrow” in the context of other Lake Ontario salvage projects, the Monarch Point Conservation Reserve (the location of the test model launches), Base31, where the test models were housed. There are additional stops at Macaulay Heritage Park and the Regimental Museum in Belleville, which commemorates the WWII contributions of the Hasty P’s of Camp Picton.

The trail, which draws in a great breadth of Canadian history and culture under the name of the Arrow, also connects different places, including Belleville and Quinte West. Councillor Kate McNaughton commented, “it’s wonderful to see municipalities and entities working together.”

Mr. Palmer asked that Council staff coordinate with these municipalities in preparation for the launch of the Arrow Trail in Spring/Summer 2024, in time to coincide with celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Council voted to support this project.

Mayor Ferguson summed up the enthusiasm for the idea when he said, “this looks really exciting. I know that there’s a lot of fascination with the Arrow and the flights down at Point Petre, and the mystique of the whole project. I very much look forward to driving the trail, walking the trail … not flying the trail.”

This text is from the Volume 193 No. 49 edition of The Picton Gazette
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