Canada 150 jet, which can fly to Ottawa in 15 minutes, kicks off Hamilton events

The events will include an app-based scavenger hunt and a tall ships regatta. But first, there was this fighter jet.

Events will include an app-based scavenger hunt and a tall ships regatta

Mayor Fred Eisenberger sat in the cockpit of the Canada 150 fighter jet alongside Matthew Kutryk at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Ancaster on Thursday. (Dave Beatty/CBC)

It travels at almost twice the speed of sound, and at full throttle, will whisk someone from Hamilton to Ottawa in 15 minutes.

It has a sleek wing span of 12.31 metres (40 feet), and can fly 15,000 feet higher than the average altitude of a commercial airline.

This is the Canada 150 CF-18 Hornet fighter jet, and on Thursday, it made an appearance at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Ancaster to kick off the city's Canada 150 events. 

Captain Matthew "Glib" Kutryk stood alongside it for the event, signing pictures and posters of the Canada 150 Hornet, and answering questions from the curious crowd.

John David of Hamilton gets Capt. Matthew Kutryk to autograph pictures of the Canada 150 F-18 fighter jet Thursday. The jet was at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Ancaster as part of Hamilton's launch of Canada 150 events. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Kutryk grew up on an Alberta farm, and is now stationed in Bagotville, Que. But he's been to this museum before. He visited when he was a kid, and he marveled at fighter jets instead of flying them.

"It's got a personal connection with my squadron," he said of the museum. "Every fighter pilot is cognizant of our heritage and where we're coming from."

Kutryk crouched next to Mayor Fred Eisenberger as the mayor sat high up in the cockpit on Thursday — so high, Eisenberger said, that it was "a one-time only event." David Sweet, Conservative MP for Flamborough-Glanbrook, got Kutryk to autograph a Hornet photo so he could hang it in Ottawa.

Kutryk gets it. The plane — a specially branded version of Canada's front-line, multi-use fighter jet — dazzles him too.

He'll fly it in the Brantford Community Charity Airshow on Aug. 30. He's doing about 25 events across the country to celebrate Canada's 150th anniversary. 

In action, the F-18 often has extra fuel or weapons strapped to its wings. Kutryk, 33, has no such inhibitions. 

"I'm able to fly this airplane at its peak dynamic, its peak performance, right on the edge of what it's powered to do," he said. "It's a fighter pilot's dream."

Fred Eisenberger and Matthew Kutryk talk about the Canada 150 fighter jet. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Here's a list of the local Canada 150 events happening this year:

The Great Hamilton Scavenger Hunt

Wesley Urban Ministries is doing this app-based scavenger hunt. It challenges people to visit 150 local landmarks, festivals and events, starting with Art Crawl on June 9 and ending with Supercrawl in September.

There will be weekly prizes for whoever earns the most points, and a travel getaway as a grand prize for whoever gets the most points at the end. The goal, said resource development manager Andrea Buttars, is to get everyone out to the same events, bonding as a community.

Dundurn's Golden Anniversary Celebration

The city is giving special tours of Dundurn Castle on June 17 to celebrate 50 years since the museum opened its doors.

There are newly restored rooms and kitchen garden, and views of the rarely seen cockpit building. There will also be music, artistic performances, crafts and games, as well as food trucks and free popcorn and cotton candy. Admission will be free, and the event will run from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

Rendez-Vous 2017 Tall Ships Regatta

There will be 11 tall ships at Pier 8 offering free deck tours from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Canada Day. There will also be ticketed harbour cruises onboard Empire Sandy in the morning and afternoon, and the evening for the fireworks display. Tickets will be $30 for adults and $25 for ages two to 17. There will also be musicians on a waterfront stage, food vendors and other activities. The Avro Lancaster will do multiple flyovers from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

There will also be a Tall Ships Parade of Sail on June 30 from 2 to 4 p.m. as the ships travel Hamilton Harbour single file. At Bayfront and Pier 4 Parks, Celebrate Canada 150 Day starts at 3 p.m. with performances from Jully Black, Steve Strongman and Sarah Slean.

Air Force Day 

This will happen at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum on July 8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors can meet members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, see the planes up close and learn about what the air force does. The price will be $20 for an adult and $15 for ages six to 15. 

Peace by Piece: Stitching Together Canadian Stories

The Heart of Ontario will host this at The Cotton Factory from July 10 to Aug. 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Quilt of Belonging is a 120-foot textile art project, and each of the 263 blocks represents Canada's diversity.

samantha.craggs@cbc.ca | @SamCraggsCBC