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The Canadian International Air Show is Back for Another Eardrum-Shattering Weekend

High-flying stunts and deafening noise go hand in hand at the Canadian International Air Show.

If you live anywhere downtown, you don’t need some website telling you that the 2013 Canadian International Air Show starts on Saturday. You’ll know it as soon as the engine noise from a passing CF-18 Hornet rattles your dishes and sends your dog diving for the darkest corner of your bedroom.

The air show—which will be happening through Monday on the waterfront, just south of the CNE—is a perennial source of complaints from Torontonians who would rather Labour Day not feel like it was produced by Michael Bay. But there is an upside to all of this: at least we get to see the planes.

This year’s roster of air show performers includes stunt pilots, several different kinds of fighting planes, and the Royal Canadian Air Force’s Snowbirds.

The air show is presented by the CNE, but you don’t actually need to buy tickets. Stand anywhere on the lakeshore to the east or west of the fairgrounds and you’re almost guaranteed a reasonable view of the action.

Or, you could just take a look at our image gallery of this year’s lineup of planes, taken during media preview events at Pearson and Billy Bishop Airports over the past two days. We even managed to get a few in-flight shots from over the wing of a World War II-era Beech 18.

CORRECTION: August 30, 2013, 4:30 PM A photo caption in this post originally misidentified a Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter as a Sopwith Camel. Another caption identified the “Dragon,” a jet fighter performing in this year’s air show, as a Russian plane. In fact, it’s British.


  • cah

    There’s no way in hell that picture’s of a Sopwith Camel. They were single-seat fighters, and that one is a two-seat scout. Not only that, it’s also missing the characteristic “hump” that gave the plane its name.

    The plane shown looks far more like a similarly vintage Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter instead.

    • Steeplejack

      You are absolutely correct. That is a 1 1/2 Strutter for sure. And equally worthy an attraction!

      • SteveKupferman

        Thanks, guys. I’ve made this correction.

  • Steeplejack


  • tomwest

    Also, it’s not the “British Air Force”. It’s the “Royal Air Force”.

  • Karen Pottruff

    Hoping to see the Snowbirds again this week-end.

  • Karen Pottruff

    Are the same pilots with the Snowbirds as last year?

    • Charles Findlay

      From what I’ve been able to garner, the team changes personnel every two years.

      • Karen Pottruff

        Okay, thanks

  • stopitman

    …probably because the military has been and is on the leading edge of aerospace engineering, plus watching a Boeing 747 fly-by in a straight line isn’t as exciting as an F-18 or F-22 (that one was 2-3 years ago, unbelievable).

    • dsmithhfx

      The engineering is done by private industry. The military just buys it, theoretically using taxpayers’ money, but really on credit. Did you happen to notice that massive infrastructure (like transit) deficit, and a foundering global economy, because so much wealth has been diverted to utterly unproductive pursuits? Didn’t think so.

  • Steeplejack

    The military aircraft are just plain cooler than the other ones. And what does “unnecessarily loud” even mean? You expect them to glide? Part of the thrill is to listen to those beasties roar! Don’t like the military on principle? Tough s*it.