"Toronto Connie"

Photos © Russell McGorman

Russell McGorman noticed my photo of this Lockheed Constellation, which I made in 1997, and he sent me a few photos taken on 11May2003. At the time of writing (Nov.2003) it had been closed as a restaurant for a number of years and for sale. Boeing's Museum of Flight has shown interest in purchasing it, but the price was considered too high.
Some photos have a date marked on them, but that's wrong information produced by the camera.


Russell added the following, sensible, comments:
Just a bit of musing here... the current location is about the worst possible for a cocktail lounge in an old airplane. It is a very industrial area on the northern edge of Toronto Pearson Airport. the only people who would go there work there, probably mainly in the aircraft industry, either servicing them or handling freight, parts etc. etc. The novelty of having a few drinks or a bite to eat in an old airplane would be lost on them.
It had been in front of Hotel near the airport, but that isn't perfect either... How excited is someone who has just spent a few hours traveling on an airplane going to be to get back into one that isn't going anyplace for a drink and a bite? Some place far from an airport, where there are families with kids would be better. And I'd play up the 1950's angle with the design of the entry, exit and utility feeds so that they look less intrusive. They could be disguised with period ground service vehicles and the stairs should at least resemble the roll-up stairs of the time.



This Lockheed Super Constellation L1049G (c/n 4544) was at one time registered as CF-RNR and for years preserved at Regal Constellation Hotel in Toronto. In fact it has a bit of a sad history, very unfulfilled for any "Queen of the Skies"...
This L.1049C was delivered to Trans Canada Air Lines as CF-TGE in May 1945, converted to L.1049E and subsequently to L.1049G.
I have a page where the various versions and specifications are explained: background information
On 16Oct63 (07Jan62 is also quoted by sources, this may be out of service date) it was bought by Aircraft Radio Industries and registered N8742R, but it probably never left Montreal. It was bought by Montreal Air Services in Jun64 and was registered CF-RNR; World Wide Airways leased it from that moment, but a year further down the road this proud airliner was stored, in Aug65 when World Wide Airways was declared bankrupt. At that moment the Connie was in a hangar undergoing overhaul due to a cracked wing spar.
CF-RNR was stripped of its engines, electronics and usable spares at Montreal-Dorval by Nordair in 1965-66.
It then became used as a .... coffee shop and lounge in Quebec City (Dec68) !.
Next report is in storage again in St.Marc, Quebec, until July 1985, when moved 110 miles by road to the Musee Les Retrouvailles in St-Jean Port Joli, Quebec.
Phil Yull bought it and he moved it over a larger distance this time: 600 miles but again by road, in June 1996, to Pearson Int'l Airport, Toronto for restoration, one hoped. Since 05Aug96 it awarded the Regal Constellation Hotel with its proud presence and functioned as a cocktail lounge and bar. In 1998 it was moved to the position where it is pictured above (due to construction at the hotel and the need for space). In 2003 it was still in that same position, unused and for sale.

Have a look at how I found it, in preparation of its culinary fate : Surviving Connies

Ralph Pettersen
"The Lockheed Constellation Series" by Peter J. Marson for Air-Britain (1982)

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Created: 16-11-03 Updated: 19-3-04