There are moments in history that were the turning point of something: IBM Simon released the very first touch screen phone in 1992 or when Wilbur and Orville Wright took the very first brief flight at Kitty Hawk that marked the beginning of human exploration with flying vehicles. When Canada unveiled the gleaming white Avro Arrow in 1957, we thought we were witnessing a revolutionary moment in history when the aircraft industry would be changed forever.

Canada’s Vision

As the curtains of the World War II stage began to close, Canada was already looking at what the post-war world would be. At that time, they still had a large number of aircraft factories that were manufacturing Spitfire and Lancaster planes. With that, they came up with an idea: their country would start a significant aircraft industry that would mark the beginning of the Jet Age, and they would design and build their cutting-edge aircraft in-house, something the world has yet to see. In doing that, Canada hoped that the country would be known as a major player in military and civil markets in the next post-war years. You know, the first ones usually get a suitable spot.

Three Royal Air Force Supermarine Spitfire Vb on patrol over Djerba Island, off Gabes, on their way to the Mareth Line area in early 1943. (U.S. Army Air Forces, from Royal Air Force, Washington, D.C., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Then comes Avro Canada, an aircraft manufacturing company that became Canada’s third-largest aircraft plant just thirteen years after it started in 1945. It was one of the largest 100 companies in the world, having around 50,000 employees. Upon its entrance into the project, Avro Canada quickly started working on a new jet-powered interceptor called the CF-100 Canuck. Despite the delays during its development, Canuck proved to be an aircraft worth the wait as it ended up being a great aircraft that would be in service until 1981. This was even when it was not as impressive as an interceptor, especially defending against enemy threats.

Even before the Canuck had entered service, Avro had already begun its work on its successor, the Avro Arrow.