The Cold Lake Air Force Museum (CLAFM) is home to many interesting and historically significant artefacts. It’s important to note that the 58-year-old building, which has been deemed an historical structure, has as much history as the artefacts that it holds.
The site, also known as, 42 Radar Site, was constructed in June 1954 and operations began in November of the same year. The role of the installation was to train crew in ground controlled interception.
From its foundation in 1954, until its closure in 1991, the 42 Radar Site, in conjunction with 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alta., was renowned for training radar and flight crews. Its primary function was to provide training for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF), but with the creation of Exercise Maple Flag in the late 1970s, the site supported training, real life combat scenario exercises and competitions for several North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) countries.
By the late 1980s, operations at the site had begun to slow down. The buildings were old and the technology archaic. The site was decommissioned in 1991 and operations of 42 Radar Site were moved to CFB Cold Lake. The building was then given a new life as the home for the CLAFM.
In honour of the historical significance of this site, the CLAFM, in conjunction with Cold Lake Museums, will host an opening day celebration on Saturday, May 12; it will be an exciting and historic day indeed, for those who enjoy the site as a museum today, and for those who remember its glory days during past military operations.