Sunday, June 6, 2010

Tank Saturday

Over the Victoria Day weekend I learned Oshawa (Ontario, Canada) has the Ontario Regiment's museum, which includes a decent number of tanks and other vehicles. Better yet, during the fair seasons, on the first Saturday of the month it hosts "Tank Saturday" and runs one of its vehicles for our viewing pleasure.

Yesterday was one such Saturday (the second of the year) and for me anyway promised to be a treat, as they were running their M4A3E8 Sherman. So I drove the hour or so down to Oshawa and caught the day's second running of the Sherman as well as purusing the rest of their vehcile collection and their static displays.

The museum is very much a labour of love and a working restoration facility; it ain't what you'll see in Ottawa, but in some ways is the better for it. The staff are all volunteers, many of the older ones are vets (the day's MC was a post-war Sherman tank commander), but we also saw younger volunteer mechanics working on some of the other tanks - Saturdays are the museum's main work day. For the 90 minutes or so that I was there I'd estimate there were 50-60 visitors, including a lot of children, and the volunteers seemed very pleased with the numbers.

The museum could use a gift shop or something else to help support it, I think everyone visiting would have been willing to pick up something, I know my wallet was loaded for bear.

Some of the highlights of the static displays are an impressive collection of medals, dating back to the late 18th century and including one from Waterloo. There is also a good amount of weaponry, including German war booty from both WWI and WWII. The vehicles include about everything Canada has used from WWII onwards, excepting a Ram Kangaroo (or a regular old Ram for that matter, but I doubt any exist anyways) and Leopards.

Here's a selection of snapshots from my tour, strictly of the outside tanks and other AFVs. I took more pics, but they were for painting purposes.

The running Sherman, before the festivities.

Side shot of the running Sherman.

It was quieter than I thought. Or perhaps, "not as loud as I thought" is a better way to phrase it.

The museum's other Sherman, more of a gate guardian now. Took this pic to remember the rear markings.

The museum's Centurion - man is this a big tank.

One of the M60's.

The other M60. Different camo pattern with four colours to it.

Abbott Self-Propelled Gun.

Lynx with interesting colours, that's an actual white with green.

Ferret from the front.

Ferret from the side.

Sheridan, the funkiest tank.

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