Plane makes permanent landing along Island Highway – Campbell River Mirror
The plane! The plane!
No, Chemainus has not become a new place on Fantasy Island’s radar. Nor is it the home of an airport airstrip along the Trans-Canada Highway outside the antique barn.
But there’s a plane there, permanently parked as an artifact or until Antique Barn owner Kevin Smith sells it.
Heads have been turning along the highway at Henry Road since Smith brought his newly acquired CT-133 fighter jet to its commercial location about a month ago.
“One of my dealers said, ‘hey, I got you a jet,'” he said. “It was in my mind that it was already mine.
“It was purchased from a private collector in Comox. We are going to start restoring it to its original silver and red color.
Smith also has a model of the plane hanging from the rafters inside the antique barn at 3088 Henry Rd. to use as a guide except the orange on the model will be red on the real thing.
Smith not only purchased the aircraft at considerable cost, but it was also quite a business undertaking and an expensive exercise to bring it to Chemainus. Two 40ft semi-trailers were required to transport the aircraft by a towing company, with the aircraft breaking apart into four components.
“They said they got more horns than ever (on the freeway),” Smith laughed.
He considers it a good investment, the plane otherwise being directed to the scrap heap.
“It was pretty much gone to the States to be taken apart,” Smith said. “As soon as I arrived he (the owner) was happy to sell it to me and keep it in Canada. I consider it a piece of history. We preserve history for you. That’s what we seek at the Antique Barn.
If someone else decides they absolutely must have it, Smith said he’ll part with it for around $60,000, price negotiable. “Everything is for sale,” he said.
Smith added that the aircraft was built in 1956 and retired in 2002.
“He flew over Canada,” he said. “Never used in combat, only a trainer.”
The plane quickly became a tourist attraction at the Antique Barn, with people stopping to take pictures alongside it. A staircase was added for further consideration, but Smith said it was not for people to board the plane as some have attempted.
Never one to pass up a unique offer, Smith also snagged a model of HMCS Rainbow, Canada’s first Pacific cruiser, from the Maritime Museum of BC in Victoria.
“He was saved from scrapping twice,” Smith said.
He is the third to save it after recovering it from a private museum in Ladysmith.
“He wanted to make sure he was going to a good home,” Smith noted. “It took 10 of us to lift it. It’s very heavy.
It is now very much in evidence inside the antique barn.
The original ship was built in England in 1895 and sold to Canada to join the navy fleet in 1910.
The model also has a price for the serious collector who wants to take it out of Smith’s hands: $10,000.
The Antique Barn also hosts community flea markets on Sundays in July and August from 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
“It’s a great opportunity for people who live in a stratum who can’t have garage sales or live in apartments,” Smith said. “It’s great for people who don’t want to do the job of a garage sale to sell stuff.”
Seats can be reserved by calling 250-246-2372.