Updated: Feb 15
Situated 10 miles North of Goderich on Highway 21 sat Port Albert Airport which was owned by the U.K. and was a training base for Airmen and ladies during World War 2.
After the war ended the Airport property was to be dismantled and sold. Hangers were torn down, hardwood floors ripped up, Snap-on tools were cut in half and the property was put up for bid in 1946.
Our father, Reg. McGee who operated a Goderich Car Dealership and had a farm in Colborne Township put in a bid for the 436 acres and was successful. The amount paid was $8000.00!
I remember seeing a document arrive with a red seal on it and King George the VI signature.
I also remember an airplane dump in one corner of the airport as several planes had crashed there during training exercises and in that dump were all sorts of parts like instrumentation etc.
There was 2.2 miles of asphalt runway still I good condition. Our father put up a steel Quonset building on one of the hanger foundations to house cattle during the winter plus the watering system.
The property was now known as Green Acres.
On cold winter days my brother Ron and I would load our old 1946 Dodge 3 Ton Flatbed with hay every Sunday and make the trip to Port Albert to feed stock and make sure the watering system had not froze.
It was always a perilous journey as we loaded that truck so high it looked like it could roll over at any time, but it didn’t. It’s a wonder that the Police never stopped us.
From 1958-1962 the London Sports Car Club held races at the airport; now known as Green Acres Racing Circuit, and we managed the gate. Crowds would show up by the thousands for the races.
I remember pumping Blue Sunoco fuel from the blending pumps of the time into the Sports Cars that showed up from all over Ontario, Quebec, and several USA States to compete. We broke the seal inside the gas pumps at the Hamilton Street Garage, so instead of the top grade 260 we were able to pump 280 which was pure octane into these race cars.
Motels would be full, Local Kinettes provided Food Booths, it was estimated that the races added about $10,000 to the local economy each time the races were held.
I might add that the race car drivers were all real nice people and seemed to really enjoy coming to Port Albert track and then buzzing around Goderich when it was time to return home. We also sponsored Hell Drivers at the Airport. That was great fun for the McGee brothers as we supplied old cars for the jump over’s etc.: We would take the old cars up to the airport the night before, glass removed and then do our own demolition derby bit! We would ram each other, side swipe, back into – Oh what fun!. Then we would park them all beside each other for the Hell Drivers to finish them off.
Our father passed away in 1960 and he had never incorporated. We were four brothers, all married but Ken, and had a Mother to support.
Being unincorporated cost us a lot including the main farm plus buying out our Mom and making sure she was well taken care of.
In 1965 our oldest brother Leonard wanted to move on and open his own dealership, and to raise money to buy him out we sold Port Albert Airport.
This we should have never done as the value of that large tract of land escalated hugely in value.