Bombardier and DAIR to Open Aerospace Hub in Toronto

Space may be the final frontier on TV, but that isn’t stopping several companies and researchers from exploring how to better understand and even profit the infinite expanse above our heads.

Bombardier has announced a series of investments with Downsview Aerospace Innovation and Research Consortium (DAIR) to set up an aerospace hub in Toronto. This will come in the form of support for academic opportunities as well as operational costs, including the preservation of aerospace heritage at the site. The hub will be located at Downsview Park. Bombardier’s investments top $4.5 million in total.

“This commitment will enable the growth of the Downsview Aerospace Hub through support for training and research, DAIR Innovation Centre physical space and operations, and preservation of the site’s aerospace heritage,” said Andrew Petrou, executive director for DAIR. “Through this partnership with Bombardier, DAIR will be uniquely positioned to play a leading role in the development of tomorrow’s aviation solutions.”

DAIR is an association of aerospace companies and post-secondary institutions from Toronto that has come together to support the creation of the Downsview aerospace hub. The group includes companies like Honeywell, Canadensys and MDA, as well as Ryerson University, the University of Toronto and York University.

The aerospace hub will have a few distinct areas within it, allowing for academia to mix with private companies and government to scale the industry within a centralized area.

The proposal calls for the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies to locate within the hub; a DAIR Innovation Centre to be built; and for Centennial College to relocate its aviation programs to Downsview. The plans would also take advantage of Bombardier’s aerospace centre already in Downsview, as well as FlightSafety International, a training hub for aviation professionals.

A rendering of the DAIR Innovation Centre.

As part of this new commitment, Bombardier will provide $1.1 million over the next five years to fund research initiatives at the Aeromaterials Research Centre, which will be established at the DAIR Innovation Centre.

Starting next year, Bombardier will also provide just over $750,000 over five years to establish two Aerospace Research Centres at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto. Finally, the company will also give funding to Centennial College to complete its Landing Gear Research project and train a minimum of 50 individuals.

If that wasn’t enough, Bombardier will also provide $676,000 over the next three years to support operations at the DAIR Innovation Centre, and $1.9 million in capital to revamp a building in the centre.

Bombardier recently sold their Downsview aerospace facility for $635 million USD to the Public Sector Pension Investment Board but will continue to operate it for the next three years, with options for two one-year extensions.

There has been a distinct focus on space from the Canadian tech industry over the past while as both companies and research centers strive to see how they can understand more about—and make money off of—the burgeoning sector. The Creative Destruction Lab recently announced plans for a space cohort as a way for entrepreneurs to develop ideas and understand that space is not just a realm for government entities anymore.