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2010 Air Shows

Canadian International Air Show at the CNE, Toronto 2010

Location: South of the Canadian National Exhibition grounds on the waterfront west of Ontario Place.
Admission: Included with the CNE admission, but can be viewed for free from the lake front shore line parks, in the "spectator" area. VIP tickets available on line in advance, in a reserved section where performing pilots can be met.
Parking: At the CNE or directly at the lakeshore parks $25.00. While public transport (TTC) is available to the CNE, none exists to the free areas. 1/2 to 1 mile walk from and to public transit each way. Due to construction along Lake Shore Boulevard in Toronto to replace the structures over the Gardiner Expressway be prepared for additional delays.
Value: Excellent if watched from the "Free Area", Very Good if included in the CNE admission, as long as one doesn't have to pay for parking.
The CP-140 streaking by the CN Tower during  CIAS 2010.
The air-box corridor for the air show, is on the waterfront. While it is safe for the spectators for viewing but far from ideal for photographing the air show performers. Even if one has a zoom or telephoto lens in the 400mm and up range. Factor in the fact that shooting into the sun and add water reflection all day will play havoc with your images. Back light compensation is a must! The best way to photograph is from a boat parked near the safety zone, with the sun behind one's back but even then one will need a larger lens.

The VIP section provides a good viewpoint of the show with adequate facilities. If viewing from inside the CNE grounds, or from Ontario Place, there are lot of variety for food and non alcoholic beverages, and sanitation facilities are ample. In the "free" section along the shoreline, do not expect to find much for food, refreshments or even more necessary sanitary facilities.

The air show's existence is in jeopardy. A few people complain every year that the jets make too much noise, and the City, with their bright leaders at the helm, just may pull the plug on this event too. Toronto, the world class city wannabe, will lose another attraction like it did with the Canadian Grand Prix, Formula One, when it refused to allow to move from Mosport to Toronto due to potential noise and traffic problems. After the Grand Prix moved to Montreal, a decade later it finally allowed the now defunct Molson Indy Race to take place.

The 61st annual air show in Toronto did not have the best of start this year. Apart from the no show performers, such as the Sea King helicopter, due to high winds creating 6ft+ swells on Lake Ontario on Saturday, the HMCS Fredericton cancelled her presence too. Thus the much hyped by CIAS (via newsletters on the internet) Navy demonstration, that would have been the high light of the show, got torpedoed with the rest of the air show for Saturday!

I was fortunate to be on HMCS Fredericton for Sunday's air show which started with the CF-18B two seater streaking across the sky filled with dark grey clouds piloted by Forrest Rock. Followed by Rob Holland who always dazzles the crowds. The CP-140 Aurora made several passes as the HMCS Fredericton cruised along the show line, firing several rounds off to greet the crowds. Then an inspection boarding team was lowered in their Zodiac boat from the frigate, and rapidly departed towards the shore to demonstrate their capabilities. Meanwhile the frigate kept on cruising, making several turns and upon recovery of the inspection team in their Zodiac, the frigate moved further away from the shore to a safe zone where she could fire two quick salvos with her main gun. This was a blast so to speak to hear and to see the impact of the shells on the water. As we were returning the F-16 Viper East was streaking across the still dark sky over Toronto, followed by the Heritage flight that flew over the frigate just as we were docking. The Snowbirds closed the show with some blue in the sky. Over all for me it was great experience, but for most of the people on the shore it was not the best to sum it up "Was a mixed day…. clouds, windy, sunshine, no wind" at least it didn't rain!

HMCS Fredericton proudly displaying the Canadian Flag.

For Monday's show the weather once again was not cooperating much. It wasn't as cool as on Sunday, but it was more overcast and the day started off with rain. The rain was on and off at the beginning of the air show, but then it stopped. The sky changed from dark grey, to light grey with the occasional blue patch trying to break through. The F-16 Viper East making a tremendous amount of noise over downtown started the show. What many attendees were possibly not aware of that the CT-114 Tutor in the Heritage Flight was piloted by the Commander of the Snowbirds, Lt.-Col. Maryse Carmichael, in celebration of the Centennial of Licensed Women Pilots.

Over all, the CNE – CIAS due to the weather and partial cancellation was rather disappointing. I hope the CIAS will survive the political turbulence, and if it does it will continue to improve.

Some of the participants were:

  • The Snowbirds
  • F-16 East Demo Team
  • CF-18B Hornet 2 seater
  • Canadian Harvard Aero Team
  • CP-140 Aurora
  • Goodyear FG-1D Corsair
  • Golden Centennaire CT-114 Tutor
  • CT-177 Globemaster III
  • Mike Wiskus
  • Rob Holland


Rating: 7 out of 10
CF-18B Hornet that started the air show on Saturday.
Inside the Command Center -- the bridge.
The inspection boarding team was lowered in their Zodiac boat from the frigate, and rapidly departed towards the shore to demonstrate their capabilities.
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er bombers from Ministry of Natural Resources. I send my Thanks to these pilots!