A Time to Remember

Hours and Location

A Time to Remember

Canada Aviation and Space Museum
DateNov 5, 2020 - Nov 11, 2020
Time10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Supermarine Spitfire plane flying in the distance with two red poppies in focus
10:00 am - 4:00 pm

As the days get shorter and the cold weather closes in, Canadians are reminded that perseverance, dedication, loyalty, and self sacrifice are the building blocks of our nation. When all join to serve for the same cause, we are united as a country.

Veterans’ Week (November 5–11, 2020) offers a special time to reflect, remember, and appreciate the service of Canadians in the military. This includes Canadians throughout our nation’s history, as well as those who are still serving today.

This year, however, holds exceptional magnitude for our military. Consider the many milestones of 2020: it’s the seventy-fifth anniversary of the end of the Second World War, the one-hundred and tenth birthday of the Royal Canadian Navy, the eightieth anniversary of the Battle of Britain, and the seventieth anniversary of the start of the Korean War.

Museum visits and virtual commemorations

For those who wish to visit their favourite period aircraft, the Canada Aviation and Space Museum will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on November 11, with advanced ticketing and COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

Traditionally, the museum has hosted live musical performances on Remembrance Day. Due to COVID-19, the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces is unable to play at the museum and at the Cenotaph. However, the Central Band shared this beautiful, solemn audio clip with us.

The Airman’s Prayer
Music by Wishart Campbell | Words by G.L. Creed | Arranged by Ken Bray
Performed by the Lancaster Brass Quintet, from the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces

The Airman’s Prayer
Music by Wishart Campbell | Words by G.L. Creed | Arranged by Ken Bray
Performed by the Lancaster Brass Quintet, from the Central Band of the Canadian Armed Forces

For those commemorating Veterans’ Week virtually, museum staff offer up this special collection, A Time to Remember. Through oral and written stories, poetry, art, and video/photography, we enrich our understanding of what veterans and history keepers of our nation have left us.

A Time to Remember includes:

Wartime Poems

A black-and-white image shows an older man looking off in the distance with a serious expression. A wooden building can be seen in the background.

Nelson Moses was overcome with grief when he wrote his poem, The Missing Airman.

The Missing Airman – by Nelson Moses

Losing a loved one to war is a life-changing event for the entire family and its collective. On April 1, 1918, the community of the Delaware band — from the Six Nations of the Grand River Territory, near Brantford, Ontario — lost a 26-year-old son. The community’s former teacher, Lieutenant James Moses, was a forward artillery observer with 57 Squadron, with the Royal Air Force. He and his pilot were shot down in France, and a letter was sent to his family.

The Moses family had sent three sons to serve in the Great War. Struck with grief and profound loss of his son James, Nelson Moses wrote and published the following English verses in the newspaper.

Learn more about Lieutenant James Moses

Lunaape version of The Missing Airman

Although the poem was written in English, the Moses family at Six Nations spoke Delaware (Lunaape). The Delaware (Lunaape) language has all but disappeared today in communities in Southern Ontario.

With the help of the Lunaape language speakers from the community of the Munsee-Delaware reserve near London, ON, the poem was recently translated — reuniting the author’s work with his Indigenous language over a century later.

The museum wishes to express its immense gratitude to Ian McCallum and Karen Mosko who were involved in the translation, along with James Moses’s descendant — Indigenous historian John Moses — for his crucial guidance in accomplishing this endeavour.

Listen to a recording of the Lunaape version of The Missing Airman, read by Karen Mosko.

Tahtaas iiyach nii numaamayaniiluni
Eelu neeka aween kwaxkakeew wahlumat (be far away)
Sahku kiikeeheew chaskuneew waak sahku shukw
Wiichumeew Alaxan wteeh naxpii aapuwiixun

Loosoomeew sahku ahwat ooshaweelundam
Eenda kiiloona ksakiinaxkeeneewihna waak leew laapii uch kuneewultihna
Nahkeewsuwaakan leexeew paalihleew kiiloona pahtamaweelxaweewihna
Naakeesh akeexpeengweew paasteew waak matatawaapuw (hard time seeing)

Shukw kukuna, ooshaweelundam (feel grief)
Lustaweew wunj kwaxkakeew (go across the water)
Neeka kwiisusak mahta poonihtoow neeli neeka ooshaweelundam
Neeka pumohkaasuw, shukw machiiyay

Njiim wunaxpii-kawiit xweeli njoosumak maskaniiteeheewak
Kawihmwa meekal kii kuwiichoohuweew kehkoohaawatuwak
Mahta maamayaniilunuw aashtehteehiikan waxkiichi  machiiyay
Eenda alaaxiimuwaakan shuwanakwunj tali soochul kwiissuw

A black-and-white image shows a young man wearing a military uniform and cap; aviator wings are visible on his chest lapel.

At age 19, pilot officer John Gillespie McGee Jr. was a Spitfire pilot serving in the Royal Canadian Air Force, and the author of “High Flight.” 

High Flight – by John Gillespie McGee Jr.

Born to a British mother and an American father, John Gillespie Magee Jr. desperately wanted to join the war effort. As the U.S. was still not at war, the young man turned down a Yale University scholarship to come to Canada and join the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF). Passionate about flight, the young Spitfire pilot penned a poem that celebrates the act of flight, all the while transcending earthly boundaries. On December 11, 1941, at the age of 19, he died in a flight accident in England.


Assemble a 3D model of John Gillespie McGee’s favourite fighter aircraft, the Supermarine Spitfire (PDF).


Oil painting of a line of six Navy ships sailing towards the viewer on the open ocean, with a blue and gold coloured sky. There is a seaplane (biplane) flying by it in the opposite direction.

Minesweepers, Halifax by Arthur Lismer (1919). Oil on canvas.

During the Second World War, the Canadian military commissioned talented wartime artists — like Canada’s first official female war artist, Molly Lamb — to document moments in time. The sketches and paintings capture factual clues like location, tone, mood and other contextual information.

To learn more about how Molly Lamb captured key moments in Canada’s military history, watch the short video, Think Like A Historian: The Liberation of the Netherlands in Sketches – Molly Lamb (YouTube video).

Other famous Canadian war artists included Alexander Y. Jackson, Frederick H. Varley, Lawren Harris, and Alex Colville. For the commissioned artists of Royal Canadian Navy, once they got their “sea legs” and adjusted to life at sea, their artwork was amazing. Learn more about Naval Art of the Second World War.

Curious to see more? Browse more samples from different eras of Canadian War Art.

A black-and-white image of a man wearing a suit and tie, sitting on top of the wheel of a small aircraft. The propeller of the plane is visible.

Artist Spotlight: Robert Bradford

As a young pilot in the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, Robert W. Bradford was fascinated and inspired by flight. He later went on to paint scenes of aircraft he had seen during his training and specific historical moments.

Bradford shared his captivating story in the museum’s docu-series, The Legacy Series.

His interview can be found in:

Browse a gallery featuring some of his artwork:

Image Gallery


In times of adversity, nations organized and came together to defend democracy. Photographers documented some of the most pivotal moments in Canadian military history.

See images from Veterans Affairs Canada, which capture D-Day and the Battle of Normandy.

Three women working in front of giant map of eastern Canada, one is on a ladder placing a marker.

Members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, Women's Division, at work in an operations room in eastern Canada.

It Took a Nation: CN Images of Canada Collection

From the Ingenium archival collection vault, the extensive CN Images of Canada Collection offers a different insight into the wartime efforts, and documents a nation at war on the home front, airfields, and in the sky.

Enjoy a short “fly-past” by watching a video of selected images compiled from the CN Canada Images Collection (YouTube video).

You can find testimonials of women working during the Second World war in the museum’s docu-series, The Legacy Series, in:

Image of Jack Ford

Photography Spotlight: Jack Ford (1922-2019)

After training at the Rockcliffe airport in Ottawa, Ontario during the Second World War, Jack Ford was the photographer for the RCAF No. 414 Fighter Reconnaissance Squadron. Ford was sent overseas right after the D-Day invasion of June 6, 1944. He and his fellow squadron photographers followed the Allied troops from air base to airbase, capturing moments in daily life in the face of danger, horror, and great change. To see just a few of the amazing photographs he and his fellow photographers took from France to Holland, watch a short video tribute to Jack Ford (YouTube video).

A portion of the Jack Ford Collection is on permanent display at the Canadian Forces College in Toronto.

You can find portions of Ford’s testimonials in the museum’s docu-series, The Legacy Series. Ford is featured in:

People Stories

A man wearing glasses and a black leather jacket looks off camera; an aircraft with a Canadian flag if visible behind him.

In a video (linked below), David H. Tate, Captain (N) / Colonel CAF talks about landing aboard aircraft carriers and flying naval jets. 

Veteran Video Interviews

Oral history plays an important role in preserving knowledge. Interpretation through spoken words gives additional context and meaning to the human condition, particularly in extraordinary times. Listen to engaging stories from Canadian veterans:

A black-and-white image shows a young male pilot in uniform, smiling as he looks out of the cockpit of an aircraft.

Caption: Royal Canadian Air Force Squadron Leader Leonard Birchall, the "Saviour of Ceylon," aboard a Catalina aircraft in 1942.


Through times of war and conflict, there are both single acts of unimaginable bravery and communities working together. Ultimately, it takes an entire nation to stand together and support their troops. Through the trials and tribulations of Canada’s military history, many survived and some — through their acquired experiences — went on to be great leaders.

Read a selection of short stories about brave Canadians who made substantial contributions through their lives and work:

Story Spotlight: Elizabeth “Elsie” MacGill

During twentieth-century conflicts, Canadian women supported the war effort in all capacities offered to them.

In 1938, a Canadian named Elizabeth “Elsie” MacGill became the world’s first female chief aeronautical engineer. MacGill went on to oversee the production of over 1,400 Hurricanes in Fort Williams, ON, earning her the nickname, “Queen of the Hurricanes.”

Learn more about the Hurricane aircraft, which is part of the museum’s collection:

Earlier this month, Historica Canada released a new Heritage Minute about MacGill. Watch the short video, which follows MacGill in her role as chief engineer of the instrumental Hawker Hurricane aircraft during the Second World War.

A black-and-white image depicts a young woman standing next to a table full of metal pipes; she is holding one in her hands and is examining it.

Education Links

Today, MacGill continues to inspire young women in Canada and beyond. Read how two young women commemorated MacGill through a research project:

Try challenging high-school students to delve further into MacGill’s story through this group activity:

Games and Activities

 An artist’s rendering of a biplane in flight; the words “Black Flight” are visible in the top right corner, and the words “Sopwith Camel” are at the bottom of the image.

Ace Academy: Black Flight

Developed by the Canada Aviation and Space Museum, in partnership with SE3D, Ace Academy: Black Flight is an award-winning mobile game. Based on accurate people, locations, and events, gamers will discover the major battles and theatres that made First World War one of the most gruelling wars ever fought!

Printable Paper Model Aircraft

The Royal Canadian Navy is celebrating its one-hundred and tenth anniversary(YouTube video)
To commemorate this milestone, the museum is featuring printable paper models of naval aircraft from our collection.

Visit V-E Day to find printable models of Second World War aircraft.