Avro Arrow mementoes fetch $32,000
Famed Canadian interceptor was scrapped in 1959
Bitsof Canadian aviation history changed hands for $32,000 Sunday as a Toronto auction house sold a collection of Avro Arrow memorabilia.
Company papers, employee notices, models and photos — along with a copy of the fateful speech in the House of Commons announcing theplane's demise — went toan unidentified private buyer.
The buyer, who did his bidding by phone,said heis Canadian and the collection will stay in Canada.
The priceset no altitude record, however.Empire Auctions had said the collection couldsell foras much as $50,000.
The first Avro Arrow interceptor was built with cutting-edge aviation technology and unveiled on Oct. 4, 1957. Thefederal government scrapped the project onFeb. 20, 1959.
About 14,000 people involved in the jet's development and construction lost their jobs.
In the analysis that followed, the decision to cancel the project became a symbol for some people of U.S. domination in Canadian politics.
Many believed then-prime minister John Diefenbaker stopped production of the supersonic Avro Arrow because of U.S. pressure.
"It seems that we have a product here which is far better than anything our friends from across the border can produce, and I just don't know why we have to drop it like this," said one man who lost his job at the A.V. Roe plant in Malton, Ont.
A key reason for cancelling the Arrow was the mounting cost of the program. Though the Arrow was an expensive plane, critics of the cancellation later argued that development could have been completed for the cost of the cancellation fees alone.
Canada still needed jet interceptors. Two years later theair forcetook possession of 66 used McDonnell F-101 Voodoo jet fighters from the United States, a plane they had rejected as inadequate before commissioning the Arrow.
The planes were eventually given to Canada in exchange for Canadians staffing radar bases in the Arctic along thePinetree Line, the first of three Cold War lines of air defence that included the Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line and the Mid-Canada Line.