Canadian Forces Base Borden
16 Wing Borden
|Owner||Government of Canada|
|Operator||Department of National Defence|
|Commander||Colonel L.P. McGarry|
|Occupants||No. 400 Squadron RCAF|
|Time zone||EST (UTC-05:00)|
|o Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-04:00)|
|Elevation AMSL||729 ft / 222 m|
Canadian Forces Base Borden (also CFB Borden, French: Base des Forces canadiennes Borden or BFC Borden), formerly RCAF Station Borden, is a Canadian Forces base located in Ontario. The historic birthplace of the Royal Canadian Air Force, CFB Borden is home to the largest training wing in the Canadian Armed Forces. The base is run by Canadian Forces Support Training Group (CFSTG) and reports to the Canadian Defence Academy (CDA) in Kingston.
At the height of the First World War, the Borden Military Camp opened at a location on a glacial moraine west of Barrie in 1916 to train units for the Canadian Expeditionary Force. It was named for Sir Frederick William Borden, former Minister of Militia. In May 1916, the Barrie and Collingwood companies of the 157th Battalion (Simcoe Foresters), CEF (perpetuated today by The Grey and Simcoe Foresters), under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel D.H. MacLaren, began construction of the camp. Camp Borden was selected in 1917 for a military aerodrome, becoming the first flying station of the Royal Flying Corps Canada.
During the inter-war period, the aerodrome was used as the training location for the nascent Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) and was renamed RCAF Station Borden. Camp Borden's training grounds were expanded in 1938 to house the Canadian Tank School. The Siskins were a RCAF aerobatic flying team that was established in 1929 at Camp Borden.
During the Second World War, both Camp Borden and RCAF Station Borden became the most important training facility in Canada, housing both army training and flight training, the latter under the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan (BCATP). The BCATP's No. 1 Service Flying Training School (SFTS) was located here until 1946. Relief landing fields were located at Alliston and Edenvale. A third landing field, known locally as Leach's Field, was operated by Camp Borden from the 1920s to the 1950s. The L-shaped airstrip was rudimentary; the "runways" at Leach's Field utilized the existing ground surface. It was primarily used for touch-and-go flying.
During the Cold War, Borden's importance as an RCAF facility in Ontario declined in favour of CFB Trenton, CFB Uplands and CFB North Bay. However, its use as an army facility stayed consistent until 1970 when a major reorganization of the combat arms' schools resulted in the transfer of the Infantry School and Armoured School to CFB Gagetown in New Brunswick. On the other hand, numerous "purple" (i.e. tri-service) schools were established or expanded from existing service training establishments, including the Canadian Forces School of Administration and Logistics, the School of Aerospace Ordnance Engineering and the Canadian Forces Health Service Training Centre. The February 1, 1968 unification of the RCAF with the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army resulted in the creation of the Canadian Forces. The military facilities consisting of Camp Borden and RCAF Station Borden were grouped under a new name, Canadian Forces Base Borden (CFB Borden). The aerodrome was closed in 1970 and the base saw use as a regular and reserve training facility for Canadian Forces Land Force Command (the army), as well as hosting various land-based training courses for Canadian Forces Air Command (the air force).
In a 1990s reorganization of the Canadian Forces following the end of the Cold War, CFB Borden's air force training facilities were grouped under the name 16 Wing Borden. The eight surviving Royal Flying Corps hangars at the base have been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
The Ontario Heritage Foundation, Ministry of Culture and Recreation erected a plaque in 1976.
Camp Borden was established during the First World War as a major training centre of Canadian Expeditionary Force battalions. The Camp (including this structure) was officially opened by Sir Sam Hughes, Minister of Militia and Defence, on July 11, 1916, after two months of intensive building. This military reserve, comprising over twenty square miles, was soon occupied by some 32,000 troops. Training facilities were expanded in 1917 with the institution of an air training programme under the Royal Flying Corps, Canada, and the construction of the first Canadian military aerodrome, regarded as the finest military aviation camp in North America. Following the armistice Camp Borden continued as an important army and air force centre and became one of the largest armed forces bases in Canada.
Although originally an air force training base, CFB Borden is now a training base for several elements of the Canadian Forces:
In approximately 1942, the aerodrome was listed at with a variation of 8 degrees west and elevation of 730 ft (220 m). Three runways were listed as follows:
|5/23||3,500 ft (1,100 m)||550 ft (170 m)||Hard surfaced|
|11/29||3,500 ft (1,100 m)||550 ft (170 m)||Hard surfaced|
|18/36||3,500 ft (1,100 m)||550 ft (170 m)||Hard surfaced|
At some point after the Second World War, runway 11/29 was abandoned and the other two runways were shortened. Just prior to 2004, the runways were listed as follows:
|5/23||830 m (2,720 ft)|
|18/36||1,000 m (3,300 ft)|
In 2004, the decision was made to close the remaining runways to all aircraft other than helicopters. Only the taxiway and a small section of runway 05/23 remain today (the rest is covered with grass). A helicopter pad is still active at the base of the former runway.
The main units of Canadian Forces Base Borden are:
The aircraft control tower is dedicated to the memory of Royal Flying Corps Cadet James Harold Talbot. Talbot became the first fatality at Camp Borden when his Curtiss J.N.4 'Jenny' aeroplane crashed on April 8, 1917. The Air Force Annex of the Base Borden Military Museum is dedicated in memory of First World War Victoria Cross recipient Lieutenant Alan Arnett McLeod, the youngest Canadian airman to receive the award. Worthington Park, a part of the Base Borden Military Museum complex, is named after Major-General F. F. Worthington (Frederic Franklin Worthington), the father of the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps. General Worthington is buried in Worthington Park.
On specific days, the CFB Borden organised air shows. For example:
The Building O-102 at CFB Borden was recognized as a federal heritage building in 1995. Constructed in 1948 to plans prepared in 1945, Building O-102 is associated with the massive construction and modernization program undertaken by the Department of National Defence at the end of WWII.
CFB Borden has several Federal Heritage buildings on the Register of the Government of Canada Heritage Buildings: