Popular event comes in for a landing at Edenvale Aerodrome
Bryan Quickmire, president of the Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation, sits in the cockpit of the foundation's Tiger Moth biplane, one of the many airplanes and classic cars that will be on display during the Gathering of the Classics event on Saturday at the Edenvale Aerodrome, located at 5195 Highway 26 East, west of Barrie. Visit www.classicaircraft.ca for details. IAN MCINROY/BARRIE EXAMINER
CLEARVIEW TWP. — Eyes will be on the skies and on the ground on Saturday during the 28th annual Gathering of the Classics at the Edenvale Aerodrome.
The facility, located at 5195 Highway 26 East, west of Barrie, is home to the Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation, which is hosting the event.
Organizers say it is the largest wings and wheels event in Canada. Besides a myriad of vintage and unique aircraft, it also features classic and muscle cars from years past.
What started as a little fly-in to the Collingwood airport almost 30 years ago has evolved into a very special day, according to Bryan Quickmire, president of the Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation.
Vintage aircraft, such as the Lockheed 12 — similar to Amelia Earhart's Lockheed Electra when she was the first woman to attempt to fly around the world prior to the Second World War — can be seen alongside a B-25 Mitchell bomber and civilian aircraft from the 1930s, '40s and '50s.
There will also be homebuilt and experimental aircraft, static displays and lots of activities for youngsters.
But there will be plenty of four-wheeled land-locked excitement as well, including approximately 300 classic cars — including British roadsters such as MGBs, Triumphs and Austin Healeys and pre-Second World War Rolls Royces.
Quickmire said the Gathering of the Classics has snowballed over the years, adding the planes and the vehicles harken to another era.
"They all come from a time when cars and airplanes weren't so homogenized and cookie-cutter style," he said, standing next to the foundation's 1943 Tiger Moth biplane. "They were more individualistic, when people enjoyed the experience of driving on the open road.
"People who are coming now tend to be baby-boomers and older," Quickmire said. "They are younger people who come with their families and want to see how it was when everything wasn't so complex and being able to enjoy that experience.
"It's not the destination but the journey."
The foundation has many visitors throughout the year wanting to know more about Canada's aviation history and to get a hands-on experience, Quickmire said.
"We have flown a lady who was 100 years old and we get a lot of guys in their 80s and 90s from the Second World War or later who want to get that experience and relive the glory days," he said. "Some of them actually trained here. They have a personal connection to the airfield."
Edenvale was a busy airfield during the Second World War, buzzing with the sounds of the Harvard T-6 training aircraft that would help prepare Commonwealth pilots for their missions overseas.
With between 4,000 and 5,000 visitors expected to attend Saturday's event, organizers say they appreciate the help of the many volunteers to make the Gathering of the Classics happen, Quickmire said.
Young members of Camp Blackdown at Canadian Forces Base Borden will be on hand with their pipes and drums band and many of them are also volunteering.
More than 100 volunteers from the Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation — from teenagers to older folk who all have a love for flying — will also be taking part.
Everett Horner, of the No. 102 Barrie Silver Fox Royal Canadian Air Cadet Squadron, is one of them.
Horner got hooked at an early age when he "got a feel" for flying, he said on Thursday while leaning against the foundation's 1943 Fairchild Cornell, a Second World War trainer.
"I love being up in the sky and the feeling it gives you. It's freedom from the ground and its two dimensions," he said.
To learn more about the Gathering of the Classics, visit www.classicaircraft.ca.