Early in 2002 I found out that the
Canadian Aviation Museum in Ottawa had acquired more than 14,000 photo
negatives from Hawker Siddeley Canada Ltd. in the early 1990s. These
recorded many aspects of the former A.V.Roe Canada Ltd. umbrella
organization that included Avro Aircraft Ltd. and Orenda Engines Ltd.
They are stored in many small boxes and drawers in several places around
Some sorting of these negatives had been done by volunteers soon after
their acquisition but only in a global way. I became a registered
volunteer and got the task of continuing this process. Was I in for a
surprise! Day after day I stared, like a Radiologist, at the lightbox -
passing my loop over the 4 X 5 inch negative with obvious delight,
sometimes boredom and yes, 'Eureka!' at times.
After several months I isolated approximately 3,000 negatives that
applied directly to the Avro Arrow and Orenda Iroquois developments.
Further sorting into Avro and Orenda, then into development,
ceremonial/events, people, and then further subsets of these, led to
being able to pick about 360 really superb photos. These photos relate
to important events that tie into a 45 year memorial possibility. They
are the Arrow's rollout, the Arrow's first flight and the Iroquois'
rollout...yes there was an Iroquois rollout celebration, albeit with
less fanfare than the Arrow. Many of these were new to me and a delight
BGM imaging in Ottawa is the designated photo processing house for the
After some time/price negotiations
with BGM's vice-president Rip Jones, the negatives were supplied in
three batches. Paul Latreille , their experienced darkroom man, was
assigned to the job. Both BGM and Paul are to be commended for the
effort they put into this project. One never knows the quality of the
positive that comes from an old negative. Many times several exposures
were made in order to balance grey scales and saturations of black and
white, so that later computer scanning would have the best possible
result. Furthermore, the work was completed in record time. The quality
of BGM's work coupled with the photo retouching skills of Joe VanVeenen,
our Graphic Designer, gives you these wonderful snapshots of an
unforgettable period in our aviation history.
Kingston, ON, Fall 2002