Canada's Great War aviators are famous for being gallant fighter pilots. Their legacy derives as much from their skills as airmen as their victory scores. Whether because of Canada's harsh climate, its clean air, or its sweeping wilderness, these airmen - men like Billy Bishop and William Barker - seemed destined to become 'aces'. The perpetuation of this narrative comes at the expense of less gallant, but more germane topics such as army co-operation, flight training, and post-war aviation. Yet, this static historical canon notwithstanding, Canadian museums, libraries, and archives possess an impressively broad array of sources that challenge these entrenched notions of Canada's first air war. This exhibit examines the origin of this material, the evolution of institutions responsible for its custody, and the ways that historians have navigated the topic - with or without the help of this diverse wealth of documents, artefacts, images and art.
This exhibition is curated by Jonathan Scotland and Edward Soye.