Fired up in Barrie: the Barrie Air Show

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds from 431 Air Demonstration Squadron fly in formation over the Barrie Spirit Catcher for the Canada 150 Barrie Airshow at the Barrie lakeshore on June 28, 2017. Photo: OS Camden Scott.
The Canadian Forces Snowbirds from 431 Air Demonstration Squadron fly in formation over the Barrie Spirit Catcher for the Canada 150 Barrie Airshow at the Barrie lakeshore on June 28, 2017. Photo: OS Camden Scott.

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CFB Borden: Borden Citizen

Have you ever felt the rumble of a CF-18s afterburners in your chest? Well, after the Illuminate Barrie Kickoff Air Show on June 28, many local residents can describe that thrilling feeling.

The airshow portion of the evening kicked off with a fly past from World War One era aircraft, including the Sopwith Strutter, Fokker Dr 1 Dreidecker (or Red Baron), and Royal Aircraft Factory S.E.5. Highlighting these historic planes before the appearance of the more modern ones gave the thousands of people who lined the streets and waterfront of downtown Barrie a perspective on the advances of aviation over the last 100 years.

The CF-18 demo jet, piloted by Captain Matthew Kutryk, was painted in a gorgeous, Canada 150 commemorative design. The aircraft, capable of flying twice the speed of sound, shot overhead, making its grand entrance from behind the crowds. Announcers went live to the cockpit, and Kutryk remarked that he was “pretty fired up to be in Barrie.” He then maneuvered the jet through many impressive passes, showcasing his aircraft’s capabilities to move, fast and slow, and demonstrating its amazing agility. The roar of the jet, loud and up-beat music, and cheering of the crowds created an entrancing atmosphere, capturing the spectators and fully engulfing them in the moment.

Royal Canadian Air Force Veteran, Jim McPhee, was watching the show with fellow Vets. Having been a pilot in World War Two, McPhee said, “I would have loved the chance [to fly a CF-18] when I was young.”

Possibly the most symbolic of Kutryk’s passes in the CF-18 were his 150 Pass, dedicated to all Canadians, as well as the topside pass, which perfectly displayed the amazing Canada 150 paint scheme. Before departing, Kutryk went live from the cockpit once more, personally thanking Mayor Lehman from the city of Barrie, CFB Borden Base Commander, Col McGarry, and CFB Borden Honourary Colonel J. Massie.

After a short break and safety checks, the Snowbirds entered ready to perform their demonstration, designed in a way that “honours the past and points to a proud future.” Fast and fun music continued as the planes performed, flying amazingly close to one another and exemplifying the values of teamwork and dedication. The mood changed with the music sounding majestic and proud as a special maneuver commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the battle of Vimy Ridge filled the sky over Kempenfelt Bay. Two Snowbirds created trails, symbolizing the iconic pillars of the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Then, it was back to fun as the planes moved through the mirror roll, flying canopy to canopy. All in all it was a spectacle to behold.

Adjacent to the bay in Heritage Park, Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) members from CFB Borden’s various units had been set up for most of the day, allowing the public to experience the vehicles and equipment that our military works with each day.  The kiddie commando course was a huge success, and youngsters tried their hardest to crawl under the “wire”, practice their shooting skills with water guns, and get cool photos with their camouflage painted faces.

Amongst the fun, however, local resident Rosemary and her ten-year-old granddaughter Marcedes took a moment to reflect in front of the urn of soil that was brought back from Vimy’s battlefields. “I want to make sure that my granddaughter is introduced to why the soil was brought back, and I’m trying to explain it all to her because a lot of the young don’t understand that today. It’s long past,” explained Rosemary. The two then continued on to experience all that the CAF has to offer, laughing and interacting with members.

The city of Barrie will continue to celebrate Canada 150 throughout the summer through their family-friendly Illuminate Barrie Festival. More information is available on their website.

Image gallery

  • CF-18, flown by Captain Matthew Kutryk, taxiing into the Lake Simcoe Airport, Ontario in preparation for Barrie's Canada Day 150 Celebrations, on June 27, 2017. Photo: Avr Rachael Allen.
  • The Canadian Forces Snowbirds from 431 Air Demonstration Squadron fly in formation over the Barrie Spirit Catcher for the Canada 150 Barrie Airshow at the Barrie lakeshore on June 28, 2017. Photo: OS Camden Scott.
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