Royal Flying Corps Hangars National Historic Site of Canada

CFB Borden, Ontario
Aerial photo of Royal Flying Corps Hangars, 1988. (© Agence Parcs Canada /Parks Canada Agency, 1988.)
Royal Flying Corps Hangars
(© Agence Parcs Canada /Parks Canada Agency, 1988.)
Address : Hangar Road, CFB Borden, Ontario

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1989-02-24
  • 1917 to 1917 (Construction)
  • 1920 to 1920 (Significant)
  • 1924 to 1924 (Significant)
  • 1916 to 1917 (Significant)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Royal Flying Corps  (Organization)
  • Canadian Air Force  (Organization)
  • Royal Canadian Air Force  (Organization)
Other Name(s):
  • Royal Flying Corps Hangars  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 1989-009
DFRP Number: 11022 02


Existing plaque: outside hangar, Air Force Annex Museum Hangar Road, CFB Borden, Ontario

The Royal Flying Corps hangars at Camp Borden are the oldest examples of this type of construction in existence in Canada. These hangars, which were an essential element of the first Canadian military aerodrome, were erected as temporary facilities in 1917, and housed various air training schools. They witnessed the birth of Canadas national air force, the Canadian Air Force in 1920, which became the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1924.

Description of Historic Place

The Royal Flying Corps Hangars at Canadian Forces Base Borden, near Barrie, Ontario, face the runway in a ribbon-like line. Of the original fifteen built on Canada's first military aerodrome during World War I, eight survive. Some of these single-storey timber-framed buildings have been rehabilitated for alternate uses, including a museum. The official recognition refers to the buildings on their footprints as of 1989.

Heritage Value

The Royal Flying Corps Hangars were designated a national historic site of Canada in 1989: by virtue of their place in the development of Canadian Military Aviation, because they are the earliest known surviving examples of their functional building types.

The Royal Flying Corps Hangars were built in 1917 as temporary quarters for Canada's first military aerodrome. Witnessing the transition of the Royal Flying Corps (1916-17) to the Canadian Air Force (1920) and then to the Royal Canadian Air Force (1924), the hangars have since housed air training schools and a variety of other uses, including a museum. The heritage value of the Royal Flying Corps Hangars NHSC resides in their associated history as illustrated by their functional design, form and composition and their siting as an assembled grouping.

Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, February 1989, November 2001.

Character-Defining Elements

Key features contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
the rectangular footprint of each hangar; their single-storey massing under a low bowed roof with a lower shed-roofed addition; access through huge four-panel horizontally sliding end doors whose rail extends beyond the façade supported by tripods or posts; their large banks of side windows supplying natural light; their shed-like addition for tool storage; their barrier-free interior provided by structural wood lattice-bow trusses supported on timber posts reinforced with diagonal timber braces; surviving evidence of the three hangar remains; the repetition of a similar element in a consistent pattern and spacing along the runway apron; continuity of longstanding access and circulation patterns; their setting in a ribbon-like line mirroring airfield contours; their site on the southwestern boundary of Camp Borden.