Commonwealth Air Training Plan Museum
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British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

Swords Into Ploughshares

The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was a great success found to be adequate, or just a little too large, to provide aircrew needed for the Commonwealth Air Forces during World War II. However, it represented a huge surplus for Canada’s War Assets Corporation. Created by the government in 1944, this organization was given the task of disposing of those assets no longer needed by a country living in peace. The most visible surplus assets of the BCATP, and equivalent facilities constructed for the army and navy in every one of Canada’s nine provinces, were the buildings of all shapes and sizes.

Over 8300 buildings were constructed new for the BCATP. Some had use for civilians and private business returning after the war to the properties on which they were built. Most had no use and had to be removed.

The War Assets Corporation came up with a brilliant plan to deal with surplus buildings from the war – sell them whole and in pieces at a discount price to returning veterans who, with growing families, faced a housing shortage at home.
My parents took advantage of this program and built a house primarily with surplus materials from Canada’s war infrastructure. The process was explained in an article entitled ``Swords into Ploughshares’’ published in the museum’s newsletter CONTACT. This story is reprinted below.