CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: The Legacy of the Arrow

History, Social Studies
2 to 3 lessons
To define historical mythology and determine whether a given historical event is a historical myth
Using a variety of web-based resources, students research and report on the Avro Arrow as part of Canada’s historical mythology.

Lesson Plan


This activity is best suited for senior students who have some background in Canadian history and social science. Students will investigate and learn about how the Avro Arrow has entered Canada's historical mythology, and why it remains such a controversial issue over four decades after it was terminated as part of the country's military defence.

The Task

Have the students browse the topic The Avro Arrow: Canada's Broken Dream on the CBC Digital Archives website.  Provide students with the download sheet The Legacy of the Arrow. Have them use it to guide their research as they prepare a report about the legacy of the Avro Arrow. In their reports, students will consider the question of a nation's "historical mythology," and why the Arrow has become part of this for Canada.

The Process

Students can work either individually or in groups to prepare their reports. If they work in groups, students should divide up the various tasks needed to complete their report. Reports can be written or presented orally to the class. Students might also want to consider creating a web page to share their information. Use the reports to stimulate discussion about historical mythology.


Have students submit their reports, or present them to the class. Presentations might focus on the questions in the download sheet, or on one or two aspects of the Arrow that students find interesting. Expand the discussion to include other Canadian historical myths, and how students think those affect us as Canadians today.

Resources for this topic


Dow, James. The Arrow. Toronto: James Lorimer, 1997.
Campagna, Palmiro. Storms of Controversy: The Secret Avro Arrow Files Revealed. Toronto: Stoddart, 1992.
Organ, Richard. Avro Arrow: The Story of the Avro Arrow from its Evolution to its Extinction. Erin, ON: Boston Mills, 1980.
Shaw, E.K. There Never was an Arrow. Ottawa: Steelrail Educational Publications, 1981.
Stewart, Greig. Arrow Through the Heart: The Life and Times of Crawford Gordon and the Avro Arrow. Toronto and New York: McGraw-Hill-Ryerson, 1998.
Stewart, Greig. Shutting Down the National Dream. A.V. Roe and the Tragedy of the Avro Arrow. Toronto: McGraw-Hill-Ryerson, 1988.
Multimedia The Arrow. (Toronto: Morningstar Entertainment, 1997).
The Arrow. (CBC News in Review, March 1997).
There Never Was an Arrow. (CBC, 1979).

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