Monday, June 22, 2015

CLINTON ONTARIO & IT’S ‘WARTIME’ & ‘COLD WAR’ TOP SECRET RADAR BASE……SSSSHHHHHH, DON’T TELL THE RUSSIANS

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DID YOU KNOW CLINTON ONTARIO WAS ONCE KNOWN AS ‘CANADA’S HOME OF RADAR’ & THIS PIECE OF RADAR EQUIPMENT MOUNTED IN THE CENTER OF TOWN ATTESTS TO THAT FACT… CFB CLINTON

With the longest day of the year now behind us it is a slow but steady plod to the shortest day of the year which will occur on December 21rst later in the year.   Best part of that for me is increasingly ‘earlier in the evening’ sunsets. 

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SAW THIS LONG WIND TURBINE BLADE BEING TRUCKED THROUGH CLINTON’S MAIN INTERSECTION LAST WEEK

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A SAMPLE OF CLINTON’S DOWNTOWN CORE

Probably going to be a busy photo week.  The town of Goderich is host to an air show Wednesday organized by the Maitland Air Cadet Association with planes coming in to the Goderich Airport Tuesday & departing Thursday.  Also a static ground display Tuesday with the actual show starting late Wednesday afternoon.  Performing will be the CANADIAN FORCES SNOWBIRDS aerobatic team as well as the CANADIAN ARMED FORCES SKYHAWK parachute team.  Also participating will be the Royal Canadian Air Force CF-18 HORNET demonstration team.  Sounds like a good show….weather permitting of course. 

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FORGOT TO INCLUDE A FEW PHOTOS OF MY BIKE’S NEW TEARDROP MIRRORS A FEW DAYS AGO

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AND HERE’S THE TOP OF KELLY’S OLD SEWING CABINET SHE FOUND BUT LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING…YES THAT RED IS THE COLOR SHE PAINTED IT BUT THE PATTERN IS CAUSED BY MORNING SUNLIGHT SHINING THROUGH SOME LATTICE WORK ON THE SIDE OF OUR CARPORT

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HERE’S A COUPLE SMALL OUTSIDE TABLES SHE’S BEEN WORKING ON WHICH ACTUALLY ARE FINISHED NOW

For me years ago it wasn't the car or boat shows that drew my attention, it was the air shows.  My Uncle Fred took me to my first air show in Centralia Ontario some time back in the 50's. The main thing I remember that day in Centralia was Canada's aerobatic team the GOLDEN HAWKS.  They flew F86 Sabre Jets & of course for this young boy that became my favorite airplane of all time & oh what a show they put on.  I had never seen airplanes up that close or flying all together like that.  And the roar of those big jet engines just about lifted me out of my britches.  Also flying at that show was the 'Red Knight'.  Can't remember exactly the plane he was flying but I think it might have been a CF-100 & yes it was painted red.  I was just dazzled watching this fellow do all his twists & turns from low screaming passes to high rocketing out of sight loops & rolls.  I was hooked on airplanes that day & in later years especially during the late 70's I would always make it a point to attend both the London & Hamilton airshows each year.  Kelly & I attended an air show in Hamilton in 1994 & that was the last air show I can recall being to.  Knowing the large crowds air shows draw it will be our biggest challenge late Wednesday afternoon to find a reasonably good spot to see the show which will be performed out over the clear glistening waters of Lake Huron.  The whole Goderich beach area will be very crowded.

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THE GOLDEN HAWKS F-86 SABRE JETS & A LONE CF 100 (PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE INTERNET)

The airbase RCAF STATION CENTRALIA where I saw my first air show was a Royal Canadian Air Force aircraft training base during the Second World war.  In the same years during the war nearby Clinton Ontario was known as Canada's 'Home of Radar'.  In response to Britain's urgent request for 100 Officers & 1,000 Technicians to train as skilled radar operators Canada responded & in 1940 Britain's Royal Air Force agreed to build a radar training facility just a couple miles south of Clinton Ontario Canada.  It was known as RAF STATION CLINTON.  At the end of the war in 1945 many military bases were de-commissioned but not so Clinton's radar base.  The top secret facility remained active well into the Cold War days continuing to train personnel with the latest in electronic radar gear working in conjunction with military aircraft flying out of RCAF Station Centralia about 20 miles away.

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THIS CRUMBLING RADAR DOME GIVES TRIBUTE TO A ONCE TOP SECRET RADAR BASE HERE BACK IN THE 40’S, 50’S & EARLY 60’S.

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ONCE A THRIVING RADAR HUB MANY OF THESE OLD MILITARY BUILDINGS ARE DYING A SLOW DEATH

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CFB Clinton was finally de-commissioned in 1971.  During it's active years many military buildings dotted the site as well as housing for base personnel.  Today the old air base is known as a little settlement called VANASTRA. <<< THIS IS A PARTICULARLY INFORMATIVE LINK  Some of the military buildings are still standing with private enterprise having moved into some of them.  Others stand stark against the horizon as reminders of a different age well over 70 years ago.  Many of the buildings are in decaying ruin dying a long slow death as 7 decades of wind & weather have ravaged their old creaking bones.  Fires over the years have felled others.  Most if not all the small war time houses on the base have fortunately been bought up by private citizens over the years & been refurbished, remodelled, & brought up to current standards.   Vanastra has grown into it's own small community complete with Recreation Center & a pool as well as a small convenience store.  Not sure if they have their own Post Office but I do know Ontario’s Hydro One has a work yard on the old base.  I'm guessing there may be half a dozen or more business's operating in Vanastra now.  One company makes large roofing trusses & it's where I had 4 roof trusses made for a small wooden garden shed I built about 10 years ago.  It was all I could do to stand the boards up straight for the walls let alone try to figure out all the angles for making 2 x 4 roof trusses.

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OLD QUONSET HUTS REMAIN & I WONDER IF THAT IS A MILITARY NUMBER ABOVE THE DOOR ON THE HUT BELOW

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SOME OF THESE HUTS HOUSE SMALL BUSINESS’S

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I THINK SOME OF THE OLD BUILDINGS HAVE BEEN SAVED & MAYBE RENOVATED TO APARTMENTS

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THIS ROOF TRUSS BUSINESS WHERE I HAD MY SHED TRUSSES MADE SEEMS TO BE DOING WELL ON THE OLD RADAR BASE SITE

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ONE HAS TO WONDER WHAT EVER WILL BECOME OF THESE OLD BUILDINGS SOME DAY

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CFB CLINTON WAS ONCE A FINE LOOKING PLACE

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A FEW OF THE OLDER WARTIME HOUSES IN VANASTRA

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Knew it was going to be a hot humid day so I was out early with the vacuum cleaner, garden hose, & scrub brush to clean up the Jeep Liberty.  Pheebs & I had it in quite a mess again with our muffin eating ways & dusty gravel road travels.  Luckily it's a small vehicle & easy to clean up.  Of course any vehicle seems small & easily cleanable after one has owned a big Dinosaur of an RV.  Even an old boat of a Cadillac would seem like a breeze.  Had everything that was needing done finished up by 10 a.m. then hastily retreated into the house for some nice energizingly cool A/C breezes.

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When you click on the photo album a page of photos will appear.  Click on the top left photo making it larger.  Now you can choose to see the photos in a slide show format by clicking 'Play Slide Show' at the top or view them one at a time by clicking the arrow at the bottom.

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GROANER'S CORNER:((  A clergyman, walking down a country lane, saw a young farmer struggling to load hay back onto a cart after it had fallen off.  "You look tired, my son," said the cleric. "Why don't you rest a moment, and I'll give you a hand."  "No thanks," said the young man. "My father wouldn't approve."  "Don't be silly," the minister said. "Everyone is entitled to a break. Come and have a drink of water."  Again the young man protested that his father would be upset.  Losing his patience just a little, the clergyman said, "Your father must be a real slave driver. Tell me where I can find him and I'll give him a piece of my mind!"  "Well," replied the young farmer, "you can tell him whatever you like just as soon as I get this load of hay off him."

8 comments:

  1. Never knew much about the base at Clinton, though we've driven by that big radar antenna many times in the past.

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  2. Dennis was stationed in Saratoga Springs NY as a Radar Gap Filler specialist..They rotated through Mass and NY to keep all those Radar stations up to speed...During "Bay of Pigs" situation, they were issued guns...Love the history you post!

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  3. Just looked at the houses of Bayfield album. I noticed all of the trees - aren't they glorious. What a beautiful place you live in.

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  4. Very interesting posting. I wonder why the worst and unoccupied buildings haven't been removed. There is also a lot of potential for businesses in those quonsets.
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  5. Thanks for the tour and reminder of some local history.

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  6. Really enjoyed the post tonight, hope you get to see those wonderful Snowbirds. Thanks.

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  7. Glad at least some of the old buildings are being used, but it is sad to see so many structures being allowed to just waste away. Many of our military bases are dying the same slow death here in the states. Seems very wasteful. Your Bayfield homes are such a delight, it would be interesting to see them all at the next solstice in December :-)

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  8. The Red Knight was a Canadian air force aerobatic display aircraft that operated from 1958 to 1969. The red-painted Silver Star performed loops, rolls, Cuban 8s, horizontal 360s, inverted flight, and high speed passes at airshows around North America, often appearing as an opening act for or in conjunction with the Golden Hawks display team and later the Golden Centennaires, Canada's contemporary aerobatic teams. The Silver Star was replaced by the Tutor in July 1968.
    Hope that helps

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