In addition to providing protection to the public, police also serve at short notice as the Canadian Air & Space Museum found out last September.
Served with an eviction notice two years earlier, the museum started negotiations in March 2012 with the Greater Toronto Airports Authority for relocation to Toronto Pearson International Airport.
With negotiations ongoing, the Society for Mechanical Engineers made a request last summer to the museum for the AVRO Arrow full-scale metal replica to be transported to Mississauga for the Canadian Manufacturing and Technology Show starting late last September.
“They said we will write the cheque for the move, but you have to figure a way of getting it to Mississauga,” recalled Museum Chief Executive Officer Robert Cohen.
A week before the exhibition, Cohen turned to a friend and one of the museum’s biggest supporters – Staff Sergeant Chuck Konkel – for help.
“Within 24 hours, Toronto Police stepped up and four officers from Traffic Services were assigned to the convoy,” he said. “The 42-kilometre move went smoothly in just under four hours.”
Designed as a delta-winged craft without a tail, the Avro Arrow fighter jet was rolled out on October 4, 1957, the same day the Russians launched the Sputnik into space.
The replica is 50 feet wide, 85 feet long and 16 feet high. As a token of their appreciation, Cohen paid a courtesy call on Chief Bill Blair on Feb. 13 to thank the Service and the officers for their assistance.
He also presented a framed photo of the Avro and a DVD of the move to the officers.
“That’s a great gift,” said Blair. “I enjoy the history of aviation in this country and I am grateful that you took the opportunity to come here to acknowledge the time and effort of our guys.”
The officers who led the convoy included Constable Allan Davidson, who has been with the Service for 12 years.
“The planning that the organizing team did for the move was amazing,” he said. “All we had to do was close a couple of roads. It wasn’t too busy that night and the weather was perfect. We thought it would have taken 5-6 hours, but it lasted just under four hours.”
Superintendent Gord Jones of Traffic Services was on hand for the presentations.
“We have the expertise to safely conduct escorts, so we help out whenever we can,” Jones said.