Hangar 12 at Hangar Line

Classified Federal Heritage Building

Borden, Ontario
General view of Hangar 12, 1987. (© Department of National Defence / ministère de la Défense nationale, 1987.)
General view
(© Department of National Defence / ministère de la Défense nationale, 1987.)
Address : Hangar Road, CFB Borden, Borden, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Treasury Board Policy on Management of Real Property
Designation Date: 1989-01-06
  • 1917 to 1917 (Construction)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • British Royal Engineers  (Organization)
  • Royal Flying Corps  (Organization)
Other Name(s):
  • Hangar 12  (Designation Name)
Custodian: National Defence
FHBRO Report Reference: 87-109
DFRP Number: 11022 02

Description of Historic Place

Hangar 12 is located on the southwestern boundary of the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Borden, as part of the Hangar line set on the apron of the airfield. Erected as a temporary structure during the First World War, it is a simple, one-storey, timber-framed building with a low, bowed roof. Its rectangular massing features a hangar door on the southern end, a lean-to shed on the eastern façade and varying fenestration. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Hangar 12 is a Classified Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.

Historical Value
Hangar 12 is an excellent example of a building associated with the development of organized military aviation in Canada. Constructed in 1917 as one of several aircraft hangars on the base, it was used to train Canadian recruits for service in the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service and subsequently the Royal Air Force. During the Second World War, Hangar 12 provided facilities for the nation-wide British Commonwealth Air Training Program. It also illustrates an important stage in the development of CFB Borden as a principal training establishment.

Architectural Value
Hangar 12 is valued for its good aesthetic design. Built from a standard plan with a very good functional design, the building is characterized by its modest, bowed-roof volume of simple appearance. Distinctive lattice wood trusses on timber posts reinforced with diagonal timber braces span the interior, creating curving lines that give shape to the building’s roof. Its wooden structural system and the buildings’ on-going use attest to its good craftsmanship and materials.

Environmental Value
Hangar 12 enjoys an unchanged historical relationship with its sitting on the apron of the Borden airfield, directly to the east of the runways. It establishes the visual military character of its setting within CFB Borden and is a distinctive landmark in the area.

Sources: Ian Doull, Borden Hangars Bo. 3-13, CFB Borden, Ontario, Federal Heritage Building Review Office Building Report 87-109; Borden Hangars Bo. 3-13, CFB Borden, Ontario, Heritage Character Statement, 87-109.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Hangar 12 should be respected.

Its good aesthetic design, very good functional design and good craftsmanship and materials such as: its simple, one-storey rectangular massing with a low bowed roof; its standard plan design and modest scale; its varying fenestration; the lean-to shed on its eastern façade; the hangar door on its southern façade; its original structural design of lattice bow trusses supported on timber posts reinforced by diagonal timber braces.

The manner in which Hangar 12 has an unchanged historical relationship with its site, establishes the present character of its military setting and is a familiar landmark within the area, as evidenced by: its location within CFB Borden, on the apron of the airfield, directly to the east of the runways; the original spacing of the hangars, 36.3 metres (119 feet) apart for purposes of fire safety; its spatial and historic relationship with the other surviving aircraft hangars within the Hangar Line, forming a visually cohesive group; its alignment and scale, which make it a familiar landmark on the base and within the area.

Heritage Character Statement

Disclaimer - The heritage character statement was developed by FHBRO to explain the reasons for the designation of a federal heritage building and what it is about the building that makes it significant (the heritage character). It is a key reference document for anyone involved in planning interventions to federal heritage buildings and is used by FHBRO in their review of interventions.

Hangars No. 3-13 are the 11 remaining of 15 from a hangar line built early in 1917 for training Canadian recruits for the Royal Flying Corps, Royal Naval Air Service and subsequently the Royal Air Force. The hangars reverted to Canadian government ownership at the end of WWI and have been the property of the Department of National of Defence or its predecessors since then. The hangars retain their original form, construction and general appearance despite alterations. See FHBRO Building Report 87-109.

Reasons for Designation
On June 9, 1988, the hangar line was designated Classified because it illustrated the origins of organized Canadian military aviation and because the line and adjacent runway apron as a complex are largely unchanged since WWI. It was recognized that the hangars illustrated an important stage in the development of CFB Borden.

The excellent design of hangars, a product of the Royal Engineers, was proven in their rapid construction and continued use. The structural system employed lattice bow trusses on timber posts and reinforced with diagonal timber braces.

The hangars, in general, maintain their historic integrity despite alterations to the fenestration, removal of some lean-tos, addition of siding and filling in of end walls. The lattice bow trusses, which were probably prefabricated, are noteworthy.

The visual impact of the hangar line has not been affected by minimal changes to the buildings or site, which retain much of its original form. The hangar line is a coherent group forming a distinctive landmark on the base.

Character Defining Elements
An important aspect of the complex is the repetition of a similar element in a consistent pattern and spacing along the taxi-way. This aspect should be retained and any interventions should reinforce the linear massing of the hangar line. Certain hangars, #9 and #11 for example, retain most of their original attributes; hangar doors, lean-tos, fenestration; these attributes, in particular, should be retained. The roof lines and lean-tos (if they exist) are important for defining the massing of the hangars and should be maintained.