Virtual museum exhibit about daily life at Canadian radar stations

News Article / March 30, 2016

By Bethany Aitchison

For the Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defence at 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario, a large part of our community is from the Pinetree, Mid-Canada and DEW [Distant Early Warning] Line radar stations, which is nationwide, making it impossible to attract this group to our museum’s physical location.

In our attempts to engage as many people with connections to Canadian air defence as possible, we have turned to the Internet for help. A virtual exhibit, like a physical exhibit, contains historical photos and information, as well as images of artifacts. Our museum has a huge collection of photographs, archives and artifacts from these radar stations, and we have created a new virtual exhibit about domestic and family life at a radar station, rather than the actual operational aspect of the site.

“Off Scope: Domestic Life at Canadian Radar Stations” showcases family and community life, the importance of sports and recreation, and the unique festivals and events held at these stations located all across the country, and in a wide variety of climates and geographic locations. From mobile homes as private military quarters to picturesque beaches and hills, and the personnel voluntarily building their own curling clubs to entertainment in the far North, this virtual exhibit aims to show that life at a radar station was a unique experience that, even with isolated locations and harsh environments, could be a memorable and vibrant experience.

Additionally, at the bottom of each of the themed pages, there is a contact form for visitors to contribute their own stories about their memories, either as a military or civilian staff member, or as a family member at the Canadian radar stations. This means that this virtual exhibit will continue to grow as stories are added.

“Off Scope” is now online and will be available until January 2017. For serving members of the Canadian Armed Forces and National Defence civilian employees, please note that this website does not work on our internal network, but should be available on any standard home network.

Bethany Aitchison is the Curatorial Assistant at the Canadian Forces Museum of Aerospace Defence at 22 Wing North Bay, Ontario.


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