mounted Harvard trainer at airport
 
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Springbrook Alberta, Red Deer Regional Airport, Waskasoo Watershed, Gasoline Alley
 
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General History of Springbrook 1939 to present

 
The development of what is now Springbrook and the Red Deer Regional Airport started out in the summer of 1939 with several earth moving machines unexpectedly moving onto a farm about 10 miles south of Red Deer (population 2800). Local residents suspected that it had something to do with the anticipated War in Europe, even though war wasn't officially declared until September.
 
The base opened as an RCAF Manning Depot in 1940 and it was announced shortly after that it was to become part of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan. No. 36 Service Flying Training School was transferred from Britain to Penhold in 1941 and was operated as an RAF station. Later that year, two trains arrived at the railway station in the town of Penhold with the first 600 officers, trainees and personnel. The proximity of the railway was an integral component in the establishment of the military facility.
 
Eventually, there were 200 Oxford trainers on site and over 1,200 pilots graduated over the next three years. During that period, personnel made several trips to Red Deer to purchase goods and for entertainment, providing the fledgling Sorensen Bus Lines the traffic necessary to establish itself as the primary transit service in Central Alberta. At times, there were as many as 1,500 personnel from all parts of the Commonwealth at the base at any given time.
 
Harvard at Penhold baseAfter being handed back to the RCAF, the base closed in 1944.

 

Seven years later after much of the base had been dismantled, the base was re-constructed and re-opened in 1951 as a flight training school for NATO.
 
Mynarski Park (named after P/O Andrew Charles Mynarski), consisting of houses, duplexes and townhouses, was built in 1954 adjacent to the base for officers and their families. Anderson of Craigmyle School was built at the same time for Grades 1-8.
 
A provincial bunker was secretly built in 1964 housing the provincial warning centre, was sold to a private developer in 1996, bought back by DND and was demolished in 2001.
 
Red Deer regional airportMilitary flying training operations ceased at the base in 1965 and airport operations were taken over by the City of Red Deer. The base itself served in a variety of functions and was named CFB Penhold in 1966 due to armed forces unification. In 1970, the federal government leased the airport to the province who in turn leased it to Red Deer.
 
Red Deer airshowThe first Red Deer International Air Show was staged in 1983 and was held every year until 1995 when it went to every second year. The last airshow was held in 2003 and there are currently no plans to hold a future show. Airshows going back to the Second World War were also held prior to 1983 during times when the base was functioning.
 
The airport operated as the Red Deer Industrial Airport until 1999 when it was transferred to the Red Deer Regional Airport Authority. Since that time, the airport has been aggressively working on attracting and maintaining scheduled passenger service. Other charter, private and business flights generated over 44,000 aircraft movements in 2011 making it one of the busiest regional airports in the country.
 
entrance to SpringbrookThe base was downgraded in 1990 to a detachment of CFB Edmonton and closed in 1995. That same year the Federal government sold the residential and base areas to private developers. The houses were renovated and sold, the townhouses became condominiums and the community was re-named 'Springbrook'.
 
recreation centreThe recreational facilities were operated by the developer for a few years and then sold a few times. A bar and grill, a hair salon and general store started with the new community. The store is still open and the recreation facilities were renovated by the new owners to become a training and fitness centre. The Springbrook Community Association leased the former theatre portion of the building from 2008 until 2012 to operate it as a community centre.
 
Mynarski Park playground in SpringbrookThe community association also rebuilt the three playgrounds (one renamed Mynarski Park), constructed a multi-purpose pad and made several other improvements to the community as well as sponsoring several community events.
 
The old base area was renamed Harvard Park (although still part of the hamlet of Springbrook) where new housing has been developing since 2001. A number of training facilities have been in operation over the years, including hockey, oilfield, flight, motorcycle, and police.
 
A summer cadet camp has operated annually since 1966 but will discontinue in 2014.
 
A new residential subdivision immediately east of the former Mynarski Park housing area, operating as Malibu Communities, has been progressing steadily since 2006. At full built out, the quarter section will add about 2,000 residents.

 

 
Harvard Historical Aviation Society logo
 
Diverse, Interactive, Educational - Plane History

A commemoration and celebration of the history of
the Penhold military base

 
Harvard Historical Aviation Society
 
403-886-5711

 
 
Sustainable Future,
Respectful Past

 

Paul at Red Deer Tourism

Rails and Trails
Innovative Transportation
Heritage Celebration
Regional Rail History

Paul Pettypiece
Consulting, Research
 

 
bold vision

for
a visitor destination with
4 unique attractions
featuring a ground transportation theme

 

Forth Junction Heritage Society
within a proposed family trail, rail and transit activity and heritage park
 
Forth Junction Project

 

 




















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