April 23, 2013

Looking for the Mid-Canada Line Test Fence


Around 1953 the Canadian government erected a series of proof of concept test sites to demonstrate the possibility of using the Doppler effect to detect airplanes in an early warning system that would come to be deployed along the 55th parallel, the Mid-Canada Line (MCL for short).

There were four tests sites around Ottawa that worked together to create a "fence"

Alice, Ontario (MCL Site 015)
Haley Station, Ontario (MCL Site 014)
Fitzroy Harbour, Ontario (MCL Site 013)
South Glouscester, Ontario (MCL Site 012)

The exact locations of two of these sites are believed to be known (Alice and South Glouscester) but the other two are not known by anyone I know of.  So, I'm currently looking for historical evicence from primary sources that can corroborate those that are known, and discover those that are not known.

The best primary source that I can think of is physical evidence at the site, and South Glouscester has that - somehow the antenna with all of it's gear at the top is still standing (since the 1950s! See pics here)

From the satellite pictures, Alice doesn't look to have any physical evidence at the site, but the driveway is still there...

I've started speaking to locals in Fitzroy Harbour to see where the antenna might have been.  I know of at least two DND properties in the area which had many antennas on them, but none with a single tower with gear at the top, as it should look.  From discussions yesterday with one of the long time residents of Fitzroy Harbour, the antenna might have been where there is a new tower today, here:


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I also discovered there's a local historical society, so contacting them is next on my list!

2 comments:

  1. I have many pictures of South Glouscester test fence location. The building has been gutted in the past 5 or so years, only bare exterior walls now. When I was there the interior was still there. Tower is climbable too!
    https://maps.google.ca/maps?q=ottawa,+on&hl=en&ll=45.271251,-75.572746&spn=0.002726,0.004801&sll=56,-96&sspn=74.065196,157.324219&hnear=Ottawa,+Ottawa+Division,+Ontario&t=h&z=18

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    1. I'm not sure I'm up to climbing the tower... but I certainly need to go over there and take a look!

      Thank you for your comments; and if you have a Flickr account or somewhere you store your photos, please let me know!

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