A grandiose celebration is planned for Friday, Sept. 1, in Toronto, as the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) is presented with its new Colours after 35 years by His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada.
A military parade, a fly past and an official ceremony are planned for the day at Nathan Phillips Square to mark this historic occasion.
The RCAF Colours replace the Air Command Colours that were presented in 1982.
“The Royal Canadian Air Force, as the guarantor of Canadian sovereignty, has a long and proud history of defending Canada and its allies. The RCAF members of today can take pride in the past and all that these Colours represent as they look to an innovative and proud future,” said Harjit Sajjan, Defence Minister.
According to the Department of National Defence Colours are “consecrated ceremonial flags carried by designated Canadian Armed Forces combatant formations and units.”
The RCAF carries two Colours including the Queen’s Colour to symbolize loyalty to the Crown, which is a maple leaf flag with the Sovereign’s cypher in the centre and a blue flag with the RCAF’s badge at the centre, to represent the RCAF’s pride, cohesion, and valour.
The new Command Colour reflects the new RCAF badge that was created following the restoration of the Air Force’s name in 2011. It includes the RCAF’s motto: Sic itur ad astra: “Such is the pathway to the stars.”
The Queen’s new Colour carries the Royal Canadian Air Force’s restored name.
In 1950, the RCAF became the first Commonwealth air force to be granted the privilege of carrying the King’s Colour, which it received with the RCAF Colour. Both were presented in the name of King George VI on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, on the King’s birthday, June 5, 1950, by the Governor-General, Viscount Alexander of Tunis.
Then in 1982, these Colours were replaced by the Air Command Colours.
“Our Colours are precious, and embody the pride, dedication, duty, and honour of all RCAF personnel, past and present. As we accept these new Colours, all members of the RCAF, regardless of rank, occupation, or experience, symbolically rededicate themselves to upholding these qualities. I am delighted that we are celebrating this historical event with the citizens of Toronto, a city rich in RCAF history and present-day connections,” said LGen. Michael Hood, Commander Royal Canadian Air Force
On Thursday, a CC-130 Hercules is set to fly over Lake Ontario, 2000 feet from the waterfront. The CN Tower will be lit in blue to mark RCAF Day in Toronto.
As part of the ceremony on Friday, The Governor General will review the parade. It is expected to be the first time that he will be in RCAF uniform during his time as the Governor General.
Friday’s ceremony includes a “parade of aircraft” in the sky above Nathan Phillips Square in partnership with Vintage Wings of Canada and the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum.
The flypast will include aircraft from the Second World War along with aircraft from the current RCAF fleet.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds and the CF-18 Demonstration Hornet, who are in Toronto for the Canadian International Air Show this weekend, will also take part in the celebrations.
In light of the celebrations, the Mayor of Toronto has declared Sept. 1, 2017, as Royal Canadian Air Force Day. City Hall lights, the TORONTO sign in Nathan Phillips Square, and the CN Tower will all be illuminated in the colour of RCAF Blue.
A flypast is scheduled to take place on Thursday, August 31 between 2:15 and 2:45 p.m. in preparation for the ceremony the following day.
The main event will begin at 12:30 p.m. on Friday with the fly past beginning at 1:15 p.m. A parade of about 25 RCAF aircraft will take start close to 2 p.m. and last approximately 10 minutes.