People who live at Tapestry bring a wide variety of backgrounds and fascinating personal history to our communities, and we love to nurture and share those experiences.
Recently, a group of residents from Tapestry at Village Gate West enjoyed an excursion to the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum next to the Hamilton International Airport. The trip was inspired by Bill, a Tapestry resident and a member of the museum. Bill was a Royal Air Force (RAF) radio operator during the Cold War in the 1960s.
Bill has lived at Tapestry for three years and has been an active member of the warplane museum for 11 years. The Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum is a non-profit organization founded in 1972. Its mandate is to acquire, document, preserve and maintain a collection of aircraft that were flown from the beginning of the Second World War to present day.
Having gone on an outing to the museum shortly after moving into Tapestry, Bill recently spoke to Tapestry’s Wellness Supervisor Brayan Martinez about taking a larger group of residents to the museum.
Hopping on the Tapestry bus, 10 residents made the one-hour trip to the museum, where they enjoyed a tour and lunch on site. “Our guides were very knowledgeable,” Bill says. “They told us about each aircraft including its age, what it was used for and where, and where the museum found it, including if it was donated.”
Other than Bill, none of the residents had visited the museum before. “They told me later what an awesome feeling it was to be surrounded by so many historic airplanes,” Bill says.
Bill’s love of planes started at a very early age. As a child living in Lincolnshire County, England during the Second World War, he would watch the planes flying overhead. He could hardly wait to join the air force when he reached the entry age of 17 1/2!
Bill spent nine years as a radio operator in the RAF, including being stationed in Germany for two and a half years, and a posting to Ascension Island in the South Atlantic (which later became more well-known as a result of the Falklands War).
Besides his interest in the individual planes, Bill also feels a strong sense of history whenever he visits the museum.
As a museum member, Bill has the opportunity to purchase flights on these historic planes. “It was when I had my first flight on my 80th birthday in a 1942 North American Harvard that I realized both RAF and American pilots had trained in that plane, and that probably hundreds of them had sat where I was sitting,” he says.
Bill has taken three flights total in three different planes. “It’s a nice feeling when I step inside the hangar – there are lots of memories associated with it,” Bill adds.
The tour group also got to see the famous Lancaster Bomber. “This was the workhorse of bomber command, and night after night they would leave for Germany in the dark,” Bill says.
Also on the tour was a full-size model of the famous “bouncing bomb” that was used to attack German dams in Operation ‘Chastise’ in 1943. The bomb’s design was inspired by skimming stones on water, and had to be dropped from Lancaster Bombers at a height of only 60 feet, requiring a special team of pilots. The mission inspired a 1955 British epic war film starring Richard Todd and Michael Redgrave called The Dam Busters.
Bill has even donated an aircraft radio from a Lancaster Bomber to the museum that was given to him by one of his real estate clients – a former radio operator on the German side of the war.
At Tapestry, our holistic approach to wellness creates an environment where you can thrive and focus on staying healthy, active and engaged. We plan unique outings like the warplane museum tour with our residents and their interests in mind, and each day there are many activities to choose from.
If you are considering making a move to retirement living, please contact us and we would be pleased to host you for lunch and a tour.