August 7 – Brantford and Hamilton

Our Monday morning found us continuing as tourists in Brantford. Very near where we were staying with my niece, Lyn, was an historic site of the First Nations people, H.M. Royal Chapel of the Mohawks.

The chapel was built well over 200 years ago while Canada was still a British Colony. There is a tomb erected to the memory of Thayendanegea, or Captain Joseph Brant, Principal Chief and Warrior of the Six Nations Indians. He served with the British Army and died at Wellington Square, U.C. in 1807. The tomb also contains the remains of his son, Ahyouwaighs, or Captain John Brant, who fought with the British Army in the war of 1812.

Around that time, Burlington was then known as Wellington Square, Upper Canada. The hospital in Burlington, Ontario is named the Joseph Brant Hospital. 

Nearby was also a Residential School in quite a state of disrepair, however, there appeared to be some restoration going on for the entrance of the building.

We just had to go to Hutch’s restaurant on the Hamilton Beach on Lake Ontario. Hutch’s is an iconic fish and chips restaurant that has been around since 1946. I used to go there on my bicycle in my early days as a very young teenager. That was when Hula-Hoops were the greatest thing on earth.

The old wooden restaurant is long gone but they managed to save the sign and it’s now on the new restaurant. Inside, the place is still as crowded as ever and the fish and chips still tasted pretty good.

Our time in Ontario was coming to an end so we had to make an important stop on our journey. We visited the cemetery where my parents are laid to rest in Burlington and also visited the cemetery where Valerie’s parents are laid to rest in Hamilton.

Tomorrow we fly.


August 6 – Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum – Hamilton

It was quite a full day today. We went out to the Brantford Airport early to get the airplane ready for our journey westward. After we topped up full fuel and add some oil it was then off to Hamilton, the airport where I learned to fly 50 years earlier.

Here is a view of the final approach to the runway where I had my first solo flight in a Piper Colt on July 19, 1967.

High on my list of priorities was to visit the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum. I had contacted them the day before to arrange for parking so we ended up with VIP parking in front of the museum. The on-duty marshaller guided us in and we were met by the museum’s Chief Pilot, Leon Evans. 

Pictured with us in front of the Avro Lancaster bomber is Leon and also James Bradley, the son of the founder of the CWH Museum, Dennis Bradley. 

There is quite a nice restaurant at the museum and many of the volunteers and pilots were just finishing their morning coffee. Leon arranged for one of them to be our guide, a nice follow, John, just retired from Air Canada. John ensured our access to the aircraft and other areas that would normally be restricted.

I had planned for this shot of the Lancaster with the Canada Flag hanging out of the pilot’s cockpit window for quite a while and was really pleased that it all came together.

In July, 1977 I flew from Hamilton to Goderich to see this Lancaster that had been on display, and neglected, for many years. With me was a student, Eric Grove, who had been a World War II pilot flying the Lancaster. Eric had been shot down over Germany, bailed out and was a prisoner of war for quite some time. After many, many years away from aviation Eric was now enjoying his training to obtain a Private Pilot Licence.

I took several photos that day, July 22, 1977, of this Lancaster prior to its restoration. On this day in 2017 I presented copies of those photos to the museum, and those photos are now on-board the Lancaster in the aircraft library.

The cockpit was rather small and required a bit of gymnastics to get seated without bumping any levers or switches.

Valerie made her way forward to find the “passenger compartment”.

Not the quietest seat on the airplane; note the hearing muffs and the lack of insulation on the cabin walls.

John escorted us to see several aircraft being readied for flight.

During World War II, many of these aircraft, the Consolidated Canso  were based in Victoria, BC at Patricia Bay, as maritime patrol aircraft searching far out across the Pacific Ocean.

Canso – Canada Flag out the cockpit hatch

Canso – John seemed so proud to be sharing the day with us.

Valerie was taking care of the photos. Note the B-25 Mitchell in the background along with a Harvard.

Valerie got a ride back to the museum on the “mule”.

Model of the Avro Arrow

F-86 Saber

Hawker Hurricane

Spitfire – one of my favourites

It was nice to see that the museum recognized also catered to their “Little Visitors”.

Back at the coffee shop we were talking to several of the volunteers and one person seem vaguely familiar, his name as well, Marc Ploffe. It turned out that I had met Marc many, many years ago when I was at the Mohawk College and we were both in the Mohawk College Flying Club. Small world.

It was time to head back to Brantford so after thanking the great folks at the museum we headed out. The big hangar on the right is where I worked as a flight instructor in the late ’70s.

After takeoff I circled around the Hamilton airport for an overhead view to show Captain Waypoint where I had learned to fly.

The evening was enjoyed sharing a family dinner with my niece Lyn and Randy, and also my brother Eric and Joanne and Valerie’s brother Bill and Provie.


August 5 – Ottawa (Rockcliffe) to Brantford, Ontario

The morning weather had changed significantly with mostly clear skies and some fair weather cumulus clouds.

After a good weather briefing we departed Rockcliffe airport flying  VFR to the village of Cumberland, just 12 miles down the Ottawa River. We lived there for five years so it seemed like a good idea to take a look at the neighbourhood and the house where we used to live. The new owners have added a pool; that sure would have been nice during the hot Ontario summers.

ForeFlight showed a much better picture than yesterday.

We filed IFR at 10,000 feet to Brantford. The cloud tops were at 6,000 feet later increasing to 8,000 feet so we were in the clear but there was a 25 knot headwind.

After passing Toronto ATC cleared us down to 3,000 feet and were bouncing around below the base of the clouds. 

Rocking and rolling on the approach to Brantford with strong gusty surface winds making the approach and landing challenging. We appreciated our earlier practice at Abbotsford on windy days.

Tied down at Brantford for a couple of days visiting family.


August 4 – Weather Delay in Ottawa

The afternoon weather in Ottawa seemed like a normal hazy summer day, with sunshine and lots of cumulus clouds. However, the situation in southern Ontario and at our destination in Brantford was quite different. A major system  was moving across the Great Lakes with heavy rain, strong winds, hail and lots of lightning. I called Flight Service for a weather briefing and considered going to Kingston. However, after hearing of a tornado watch in the area the decision was easy to stay on the ground. This gave us the opportunity to spend a little more time in Ottawa.

After checking in to the Lord Elgin we visited the National War Memorial, viewed the locks at the Rideau Canal and strolled through the elegant Chateau Laurier Hotel.


Later while having dinner the winds picked up quite a bit and it started to rain; the storm from southern Ontario was now reaching Ottawa.

August 4 – Parliament Buildings of Canada in Ottawa

We made it to Parliament Hill. After visiting the ten provincial capitals and their legislature buildings for a photo with our Canada Flag we flew to Ottawa to visit the National Capital. Our photo was taken by a Parks Canada Ranger with the Canada Flag that has just traveled across the country in the last month.

Mission Accomplished!

Rather than going in the main entrance, we went to the side entrance for the Senate. The security guards were expecting us with passes pre-printed with our names. We felt kind of special. A nice young woman kindly escorted us to the Office of the Speaker of the Senate to meet with the Chief of Staff, Mr. Stuart Barnable for our appointment at 10:30. This wonderful reception had been arranged by, David, the son of the Speaker whom we had met in the hotel in St. John’s.

Mr. Barnable welcomed us and provided an overview of his office and the buildings on Parliament Hill. He was very proud to show us a small wooden box containing the Canada Flag that had flow atop the Peace Tower on Canada Day, July 1st. Look back now I should have taken a photo with that flag and our flag that had just completed its journey across the country.

Then it was a VIP guided tour of the Parliament Buildings with one of Mr. Barnable’s Special Assistants, Jeremie. He provide a great tour and wonderful insights  at the Senate, then the House of Commons, the Library, up the Peace Tower to see the clock, then finally the Memorial Chamber, the chamber respecting Canadian losses in military conflicts.

Directly behind the flag is the seat for the Speaker of the Senate. Behind the Speaker is the tallest chair for the reigning Monarch and then their spouse.

The House of Commons is much less elaborate than the Senate. 

Jeremie was a great help getting around the Parliament Building and past all the visitors waiting in line. We felt very special.

Jeremie pointed out features that we would have missed otherwise. In the photo above are paintings that depict the last two Monarchs and above them on the upper gallery are paintings of their respective spouses.

The Library.


We are near the top of the Peace Tower and the mechanism for the clock.

In the Peace Tower, on the Mezzanine floor is located the Memorial Chamber. This Chamber is dedicated to the Canadians fallen in battle throughout Canada’s history. The book above lists airmen who gave their all. It includes the names of two airmen named Leroux. One I believe was my father’s first cousin, and I am unsure of the other.


August 3 – Canada Aviation and Space Museum

One of our most anticipated planned stops was to visit the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa. Kevin Psutka kindly provided transportation and was our personal guide in the museum. Kevin was the previous president of t the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association and for several years provided leadership for that great organization.

Here’s a sampling of the many aircraft on display:

Avro Arrow
I couldn’t resist having a photo since the aircraft carries my initials.


Avro Lancaster Bomber
I first saw this aircraft in 1968 when I was here with the Air Cadets.

de Havilland Beaver
Here is a remarkable Canadian aviation icon; the de Havilland Beaver Serial Number 1. I flew this type of aircraft on amphibious floats when I was with Transport Canada in Vancouver.

MacDonald Douglas CF-101 Voodoo
Kevin was in the Canadian Armed Forces as a fighter pilot and he flew this very CF-101 on operations.

Douglas DC-3
When we lived in Ottawa my son, Chris, was in Cubs and for one of their outings we bicycled to the museum along the Ottawa River Parkway. There were various fun activities, we watched an aviation movie then slept overnight in the museum. We could pick any place for our sleeping bags so we chose under the wing of this aircraft. It was a real fun experience for a bunch of little boys.


August 3 – Fredericton to Ottawa, Ontario (Rockcliffe) – RCMP Stables

On the way to the Fredericton airport this morning we made a diversion to the Legislature Building for a photo with the Canada Flag. Again, the photo was kindly taken by our taxi driver. There had been a “technical glitch” with one of my SD memory cards so this was a retake.


 The weather was marginal VFR with some broken to overcast conditions along the way so we were again IFR at 8,000 feet. The conditions in the Ottawa area were 2,000 feet broken and since Rockcliffe does not have an instrument approach procedure we flew the Ottawa RNAV (GNSS) RWY 32 approach. When we brok out at around 2,000 feet I cancelled IFR and proceeded to Rockcliffe VFR.

 Waiting to greet us was a friend and colleague from my days in Ottawa at Transport Canada and more recently from the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA), Kevin Psutka. Kevin was the previous President of COPA and he became our guide and host for a couple of days. Thanks Kevin.

After lunch with Kevin it was on to the RCMP Stables to see where the horses for the Musical Ride call home.


It is likely not well known but there is an interesting museum at the stables.


The groomers and riders are regular RCMP officers and most have very little or no horse experience. 

 I couldn’t resist a photo when I saw the name of this horse. 

 All chores are done by the RCMP officers including cleaning the boots after being in horse *&%$. 

 They didn’t want me to take a photo of the horses faces just in case they are used on covert operations and need to remain incognito.


August 2 – Confederation Building in St. John’s then to Charlottetown and Fredericton

The early morning was not too much better than yesterday. Yesterday, the issue was frontal weather and thunder storms, and today the issue was air mass weather with a northeast wind off the Atlantic Ocean giving very low clouds and very limited visibility. 

We had planned to fly north along the Great Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland to St. Anthony then cross the Strait of Belle Isle to Blanc-Sablon in Quebec. From there we planned to fly along the north shore of the St. Lawrence River to Sept-Iles. That routing wasn’t very favorable today. The weather was improving to the south so we decided to return the same way we had come.
(After all, we had “come from away”.)

So, our departure was delayed by several hours.

On the way to the airport we visited the Newfoundland Confederation Building and met with the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry, and Innovation. We had a 09:30 appointment and the Minister greeted us at the main entrance then gave us a VIP in-depth tour of the House of Assembly. 

Our photos of the Canada Flag in the Legislature were kindly taken by our taxi driver.

The Royal Newfound Regiment has been in existence in one form or another for over 200 years. The Regiment fought in World War I at the Battle of the Somme and was all but wiped out.  On July 1, 1916, of the 780 men who went forward only about 110 survived unscathed, of whom only 68 were available for roll call the following day.

The Newfound Legislature was quite impressive and I noted several items recognizing the indigenous people of the land.


The weather had improved enough by noon for a safe departure so I filed IFR at 8,000 feet St. John’s to Charlottetown. We were on top by 6,000 feet in the clear blue sky. As we flew westward along the southern shore of Newfoundland the clouds below us began to break up and by Port-aux-Basques the sky was clear.

For the over water portion to Charlottetown it was up to 10,000 feet to give us better “options”.

On the 60 nautical mile leg from Port-aux-Basques to Cape Breton Island we were within gliding distance of St. Paul Island some of the time. About 10 to 15 minutes from either side we were not within gliding distance from land.

There really isn’t much to St. Paul Island; but it does offer an option, only if just to find a dry place rather than being in the cold water.

In Charlottetown we had a quick lunch, refuelled, then departed for an uneventful flight to Fredericton at 8,500 feet in very good smooth VFR conditions.


August 1 – Weather Delay in St. John’s – Matthew Pike

We have been in St. John’s for a few days and have seen lots of interesting things and met a lot of interesting people so it’s time to move on, heading for Ottawa. Today started off with a careful check of the weather; not good. A weather system is moving across Newfoundland so we decided to spend another day in town. This gave us time to take care of some logistics, such as having business cards printed for NavPath and for our Canada 150 Anniversary Flight, and working on the Blog.


Valerie and I were sitting in the lounge at the Delta Hotel where we are staying when a nice young man, David, stopped by for a chat. It turned out that David works at the concierge at the hotel.  When he heard our story about flying across the country and our Canada Flag he wrote down our contact information telling us that he would get back to us with some interesting arrangements. Interesting indeed, as he had arranged for a meeting the next day with the Honourable Christopher Mitchelmore, Newfoundland Minister of Tourism, Culture, Industry and Innovation at the Newfoundland legislature, the Confederation Building. Now that’s amazing. But wait, there’s more!

David’s father is a politician in Ottawa, the Speaker of the Senate, the Honourable George J. Furey. Dave informed his father’s office of our planned visit to Ottawa and Parliament Hill on our return westward. His father will not be in Ottawa when we get there, however, his father’s Chief of Staff is expecting us to contact them on arrival in Ottawa in a couple of days.

We had dipped our Canada Flag in the water in Victoria Harbour on July 1st at the beginning of our journey, so now in St. John’s on August 1st at the end of the journey, it was time to dip the flag in the water in St. John’s Harbour. 

David suggested that we should go to a small park on the harbour front to visit the Terry Fox Memorial where we could access the water. This marks the spot where Terry dipped his foot in the Atlantic Ocean and began his run across Canada, The Marathon of Hope, to raise cancer awareness and funds for cancer research. Sadly, Terry never made it to Vancouver and the Pacific Ocean.

We walked to the park but were not able to access the water, however, we had a very pleasant surprise. There was a group of people gathered at the Terry Fox memorial, surounding a young man with a bicycle. This man, Matthew Pike, from Happy Valley-Goose Bay, had just completed a bike ride across Canada, beginning in Vancouver on June 6th. Matthew was riding to raise funds for the Children’s Wish Foundation, in recognition of his cousin, Craig, who lost his battle with  Spina Bifida a few years ago. 

From left: Stan Pike (Craig Pike’s father), Matthew Pike, Lyndon Pike (Matthew’s brother), Murray Pike (Matthew’s father) and in front is Mabel Hancock (Craig’s mother).

Details of his journey are available at:

We were introduced to Matthew and Craig’s mother and told them of our journey across Canada.

Matthew was very interested about the flying and asked several questions about our airplane. It turns out that his father worked at the Goose Bay airport and Matthew grew up around airplanes.

I was very pleased when Matthew asked to have a photo with our Canada Flag.

Today, August 1st would have been Craig’s birthday. It became somewhat emotional when Craig’s mother began to sing Happy Birthday.

So it was a truly interesting and amazing day indeed.

Tomorrow we fly!


July 31 – Cape Spear-St. John’s Harbour-Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi Bay-Confederation Building

We tried to rent a car but there were none available. It seems there are not very many rental cars in St. John’s and they were all booked up for several weeks. Now what do we do?

David at the Delta concierge arranged for a local taxi to drive us around to see the sights and the driver would also be our guide. Sounds good to me.

Our first stop was Cape Spear located on the Avalon Peninsula just a bit south of St. John’s. It is the easternmost point in Canada, and North America.






A short walk up the hill to the lighthouse keeper’s house


Parks Canada has placed a pair of red Muskoka chairs in National Parks across the country. We came across these at Cape Spear.

This is the oldest lighthouse in Newfoundland. I couldn’t imagine being out here in such a remote location but I am glad someone did it. The fog horn still works and there were several signs warning that if the horn sounded it could cause a hearing loss, proceed at your own risk.

Just over the hill from the lighthouse is the remains of a gun emplacement from World War II. There is restoration work taking place to be better display the gun for its historical significance.

St. John’s Harbour – some of the fishing fleet

 Colourful buildings

Terry Fox Memorial at Mile 0



Harbour entrance


Signal Hill


Quidi Vidi Bay


Confederation Building


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