Unofficially boasting the second highest UFO sightings behind Roswell. Home to Canada’s largest nuclear bunker! On again, off again, Carp is once again host to the annual Ottawa Air Show! Annual destination for the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Fly-In/Drive-In Breakfast. A location for a Tom Clancy movie shoot staring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman.
Intrigued? Well you should be! The Historic Village of Carp has nothing to do with the fish by the same name. The seemingly sleepy rural community sits on the northwestern fringe of the city of Ottawa – just a bit ‘up the valley’ as they say in the (Ottawa) Valley. This small village, although predominantly a farming community, has some of Canada’s defined history running through its veins.
The [debatable] secret building of the four-storey nuclear fallout Diefenbunker, was a massive Federal Government construction project completed in 1961. Now part of Canadian Cold War history, a tour through this concert and steel underground fortress will stimulate your senses with the intrigue of espionage, spies and covert operations. Come prepared to walk up and down stairs.
Carp, in the 1960s and 70s, was noted for the unusual number of UFO sightings. This is not surprising, since the this military bunker was a military commissioned, secure defense communications installation. Department of National Defense (DND) personnel would cycle through a tour-of-duty for up to three months inside this bunker facility.
For about 40 glorious seconds in the Tom Clancy suspense movie “The Sum of all Fears”, the Diefenbunker was Mt. Weather, Virginia, USA. The inclined tunnel leading to the huge steel-vault-like doors and locations inside the complex were used as a backdrop for the movie, scripted around a nuclear attack on America.
Nice being picked by Hollywood, but the real enticement to visit this rural Ottawa Village is its local character. Rooted in agriculture, adds that ‘country fair’ feel when in June, the Carp Airport hosts the Ottawa Air Show and again in August, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA Chapter 245 ) fly-in breakfast. Both of these Aviation spectacles boast aerial displays, vintage and modern airplanes and always a taste of aerial hot-doggin’. Although hosted on a smaller scale, rivals the big heart and excitement of the Abbotsford BC International Air Show.
It’s all morning fly-in action surrounding the Annual EAA Chapter 245 fly-in breakfast. Sometimes landing back-to-back the pilots, in their kit-built aircraft, circle, land and taxi to designated parking spots. Over 50 to 60 planes are flown in during this much anticipated event. Pilots eat a hearty breakfast, fuss over their aircraft, catch up on news from other pilots, and some then take off into the wild blue yonder. Others, like August Lehmann, veteran pilot of 49 years, flew in from Dawson Creek, British Columbia, to attend the annual EAA Fly-In/Drive-In Breakfast. Mr. Lehmann, who flew his custom made 2005 Cessna 230 H.P. Cyclone at an average speed of 130 mph, took the opportunity to visit with friends and relatives along his flight path to Carp, Ontario.
One plane that draws a lot of up-close attention is the prop-version replica kit of the Canadian Snowbird Team CT-114 Tutor jet, right down to the paint. One bi-plane had vintage enthusiasts crowding around for a closer look. Wow! Beautifully lacquered wood throughout the cockpit and on the wings. Lots of photo opportunities everywhere you turned. It was hard for shutterbugs to keep up.
It may start with the Carp Airport, but its charm doesn’t stop there. It has a few more unique long-standing attractions:
1) Home to Canada’s longest running drive-in Bingo as highlighted on the CBC Show ‘On The Road Again’ with Wayne Ronstad. Started in 1954 and still going strong!
2) Over 142 years of the Carp Fair, held during the last weekend in September!
3) Incredible sunsets and easy access to some of the best Snowmobiling and ATV trails in Canada!
Enough said! C’mon over! Chat with the locals. Bring your family and friends for a visit to one of Ottawa Valley’s gems.
Check out additional images of Carp Air Shows.