Oshawa Military and Industrial Museum

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The Ontario Regiment (RCAC) Museum
Ontario Regiment Ferret Troop Pre-Oshawa Fiesta Parade Oshawa c.1991.jpg
Established 1980
Location 1000 Stevenson Rd N,
Oshawa, Ontario, Canada (MAP)
Website http://www.ontrmuseum.ca (Official)
Ferret Scout Car in Canadian UN detail, 1993

The Oshawa Military and Industrial Museum (Map) is an accredited Canadian Forces Museum located in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada. The museum, more commonly known as The Ontario Regiment (RCAC) 'Ferret Club', traces its roots in Oshawa to 1980, having grown to become the Historic Vehicle Section of the Ontario Regiment (RCAC) Museum.

The museum's maintainers are a uniquely skilled and dedicated group of volunteer civilian military vehicle enthusiasts and include several current and former members of The Ontario Regiment (RCAC), other units of the Canadian Forces, the Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Royal Canadian Army Service Corps and the Royal Canadian Army Cadets.

Description[edit]

Operated as a living museum, this organization is quite different from most traditional collections and displays of Canadian militaria. Almost every vehicle in the museum’s collection is operational, or in some state of repair or restoration. Many vehicles including the vintage Sherman Mark IV, Chaffee, M60 and Sheridan tanks, armoured personnel carriers, trucks and jeeps are frequently driven in parades and other ceremonial activities involving The Ontarios or other units of the Canadian Forces. Since most of these vehicles are ‘runners’, the museum's staff and maintainers are slightly less reluctant to let people climb onto and into their prized pieces than most museum curators. From time to time, a patron may even experience a ride first-hand.

The funding required to restore, maintain, and fuel the museum’s historic vehicle collection and static displays is provided entirely by volunteers—current and former members of the Canadian Forces, veterans, cadets and civilians alike. The museum raises some its operating funds by providing the use of some vehicles for select recognizable Canadian and international television or film productions. The task of restoring and maintaining such a large collection of antique vehicles is extremely resource-intensive, often physically strenuous and very expensive. Many of the Museum's collection of unrestored or under-repair vehicles are visible from Stevenson Rd N, the road leading into to the south field of the Oshawa Municipal Airport lands.

Historical Development[edit]

The Originals: Several ONTR NCOs and soldiers (retired and serving) along with former CO LCol Skea (front middle) formed the Ferret Club's original cadre in 1980

The Ontario Regiment Ferret Club, a component of the Ontario Regiment (RCAC) Museum and, in turn, the Oshawa Military and Industrial Museum, has come a long way its original conception and organization in 1980. With the assistance of the Department of National Defence and the guidance of the Ontarios’ commanding officer and soldiers (not to mention the generous financial backing of the Ontarios’ Honorary Lieutenant Colonel, the late Lieutenant Colonel Norman F. Wilton, a former regimental officer and World War II veteran of the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion), the organization’s collection was initially a nine-car troop of fully restored, surplus Canadian Ferret armoured cars.

First parade: (From left) ONT R HLCol Wilton, with CO LCol Morin and USO Capt Wilkinson (8CH), Oshawa, 1981

The troop paraded frequently throughout its early years at regimental functions, ceremonial activities and parades in Oshawa, Durham Region and beyond. The museum's collection now boasts over 70 vehicles and features several Oshawa, Ontario-built General Motors standard military pattern vehicles, employed by the Canadian Army during World War II.

The Ferret Club set up shop in 1980 in a two-bay garage which stood at the northeast corner of Simcoe Street North and Glover's Road in north Oshawa. The Club subsequently relocated to a one-time dairy farm on Oshawa's 8th Concession for much of the 1980s before the landowner decided to resume dairy production on the property. It became necessary to find a permanent home for the museum's rapidly growing collection. It was felt there was no more appropriate location than the historically important Oshawa Airport lands, one of the many British Commonwealth Air Training Plan sites for allied pilot (including Americans) training during the Second World War.

Collections[edit]

Historic Vehicle Section (Ferret Club)[edit]

Bart: Mark IV Sherman tank of the Ontario Regiment (RCAC) Museum, 1993

The Museum has a large number of armoured vehicles in its collection ranging from a motorcycle to jeeps, carry-alls, carriers and tanks. Aside from fully restored Bren Gun Carrier and M24 Chaffee, a pair of M4A2(76)W HVSS, and one unrestored Centurion, there are also a number of foreign-operated vehicles including a Scania HLVW prototype that went unprocured by the Canadian Forces in the 1980s. Several Ferrets are still in operation, along with an FV433 Abbot SPG self-propelled gun provided by the British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) detachment at Suffield, Alberta.

Two M60A3s dwarf almost everything else, although the two M551A1 Sheridans are deceptively large. A number of ex-US Army M113A2s are maintained and driven regularly, as are the M113C&R Lynx. Softskin vehicles include a number of examples of different Canadian military pattern vehicles, as well as many jeeps and a couple of nice examples of the M37. M62 wreckers which are frequently employed to move the larger vehicles, turrets, or chassis and engine and components around the facility. Many other post-war trucks are also on display.

Static Display Section[edit]

116thBn rifle company marched through Oshawa on 27 May 1916

Apart from its Historic Vehicle Section, the museum's volunteers painstakingly maintain Static Display Section consisting of militaria including uniforms, medals, photographs, diaries, historical books and artifacts relevant to the history of the Regiment, the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps, and the Canadian Army from the 1850s to present day. These artifacts are displayed in diorama settings depicting their era of use. Among the medals displayed include those of past members of the Ontario Regiment, including the original Order of Canada awarded to its longest-serving Honorary Colonel RS (Sam) McLaughlin.

Museum Information[edit]

Location: 1000 Stevenson Rd N, Oshawa, ON, Canada (Map)
Hours of Operation: Friday, Saturday, Sunday and holiday Mondays from 13:00 - 17:00hrs from Easter weekend through 1 November. Group tours are welcome and should be arranged by appointment.
Admission: Donation. Additional details.

Recent Press[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 43°55′13″N 78°53′41″W / 43.92018°N 78.89467°W / 43.92018; -78.89467