I have an unexplained fascination with a local abandoned airforce base, located just south of Picton. It draws me in and haunts me with its stillness; with its unspoken past. It is eerie and creepy. When I got out of the car to take a few photos I felt a chill run up my spine. If ghosts could talk.
The barracks and runways were built in a rush during the summer of 1940. The British desperately needed to train thousands of flyers quickly. They turned to Canada for help. Hence the RAF Bombing and Gunnery School was built. It housed close to 1000 officers and airmen during its peak war years, running continuous courses.
Even after the end of WWII it continued as a training centre for the RCAF, well into the 1950’s. .
In the 1960s the old aerodrome became known as Camp Picton and was converted from training into an operational base. In 1966 it was renamed the Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Picton. Sadly that closed in 1969 as part of an overall military down-sizing.
After CFB Picton closed, much of the base housing was sold to the Government of Ontario – Ministry of Health. At its peak it was home to approximately 450 individuals with intellectual disabilities and employed as many staff. This facility closed its doors in September 1999 when deinstitutionalization become the norm.
I understand it has been used several times as a movie set.
Today most of the buildings appear abandoned. A gliders club uses the runways, but, the barracks and hangars still stand; silently waiting… continuing to hold their 70-year-old secrets.