Completed in July, 1952, as 209 RCAF Radio Station, this radar station made up part of the Pinetree Line, a string of radar stations used to defend against the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Shortly afterwards, it was renamed RCAF Falconbridge. It was manned by the 33 Aircraft Control and Warning Squadron. It became part of the SAGE defense network in 1963.
In April, 1975, CFB North Bay opened the Air Weapons Control and Countermeasures School at this station. Radar operations were shut down on December 31, 1985 as a result of the North American Air Defense Modernization program. The station was disbanded in August, 1986 and sold the following year for $140,000.
During its operation, there were a few interesting items noted in the history of CFS Falconbridge located on the Pinetreeline.org site as follows:
29 Dec 54 - At 1055Z Mr. Murdock of the Sudbury Met Office reported a flying saucer had been seen by Mr. Frank Seymour, 73 Samuel Street., Sudbury, phone OS 3-4236.This man claimed to have seen an object traveling East to West over downtown Sudbury at 0927Z. No further information could be obtained from the Met Office. The Duty Controller phoned OS 3-4236 and was told that no one by that name lived there. This information was passed to Sector by telephone who advised us that it was not necessary to send a signal nor make a report. Later, at 1125Z, Sudbury Met Officer reported another call made by a man who claimed he had seen an unidentified flying object while driving on the Copper Cliff highway. This man wouldn’t leave his name nor could any more information be obtained.
8 Jan 55 - At 0140Z North Bay GObC called with the following info: "A Mr. Hunt reporter for the North Bay Nugget has sighted an unknown flying object near Cobalt, Ontario. It was reported at 0130Z and had been seen at that time hovering for 25 to 30 minutes. Black Ball 109 (CF-100 from 3 OTU) was scrambled and the area searched but reported seeing nothing but the lights of Cobalt and Haileybury.
19 Jul 55 - GObC North Bay report an unknown flying object sighting in KE5913. Check revealed no weather balloons in that area. Report passed to ADC.
19 Jan 56 - Flying object report received from GObC and passed to Sector.
27 Jan 56 - Flying object report passed to sector.
Another UFO incident is noted by the North Bay Nugget, and documented to some degree by the Canadian Armed horses in November of 1975.
The operations centre, towers, etc. were all demolished in the summer of 2007. The other buildings making up the domestic site continue to serve various functions such as low-rental housing, etc. while still other buildings remain vacant and rotting.
Having grown up around the Pinetree Line radar stations, they've always held a certain fascination for me. Very soon after moving to Sudbury, I happened to be going down Radar Road and saw a group of buildings I instantly recognized by their style (or lack of it), colour scheme and layout. I would quickly discover this was the former CFS Falconbridge.
Spending time at CFS Barrington, in Nova Scotia, I remembered seeing a list of other sites in the chain, and thinking that Falconbridge was an interesting name. It stuck in my memory and I was now, many years later, happy to have finally laid eyes on the place for myself. Later, I would finally have opportunity to visit, first circling the various buildings of the domestic site below before making my assent up the hill to the operations site.
The operations site was somewhat different than some of the others I'd already seen, but also similar to some I would find out about later. Since then, I was fortunate enough to capture these photos before the eventual demolition of the operations site, and "hardening" of the domestic site. The current owner wants no one around, and is quite zealous in that goal.
Hi there, I really enjoyed your post!
I grew up in skead which is not far from this area, and I did venture up the hill a few times.
I just had a couple questions, Is this site completely torn down (top of the hill)
And when I was a teenager, I heard stories about a tunnel that ran from the top of the hill to the bottom, in my trips up the hill I had never seen anything of the sort, did you come arcoss anything like that? or have you heard of it?
You are correct, there is almost no sign of the original structures from the operations site on the top of the hill anymore. It's a shame they were torn down, but I guess they were likely too much of a liability.
As for a tunnel up and down the hill, that's unlikely. I can't say that I've heard of such a thing at any of the Pinetree sites. There was, I'm told, a nuclear bunker under the site somewhere. I only heard of this after the site was demolished, unfortunately, although there is supporting evidence on the tour of CFS Carp, or the Diefenbunker as it is sometimes called. A sign there lists bunkers across Canada, and one was listed in Sudbury, but I was unable to locate any additional information until hearing about this from a local after demolition.
Was up there today, toured what's left ( not much) still very interesting... Found multiple ( used) C-8 yellow smoke grenades. Not too sure of where the bunker might be but there is a large ( water filled) room under the green dome in the far south west corner . It has an antenna still on the building and is being used by the base for storage.
I lived here from 1989- 1993 as a preteen and explored the area inside and out. We did find an underground tunnel though it wasnt the entire length of the road up to the base. As that time we would wander into the buildings that held the bowling alley and gymnasium and dorms and found it was almost as though people were there one day and gone the next. On one of the chalk boards there was still writing and there were desks with ink holders in them. There were lots of old fashioned pop bottles and wrappers and the likes...it was a source of hours of entertainment for us. I wish I would have had the foresight to take pictures or even some small token of memorabilia. We could never get in the actual base at the top of the hill as it was guarded fairly closely for whatever reason and often we were chased away. What a thrill it was!!
I was posted to the radar station in 1973, it was a thriving little base then. I was young then, seventeen and to me it was like a little town. We had everything, restaurant, gymn, pool, police station, post office, school, barracks etc. very self contained. I was looking through the pictures and boy does it bring back memories. It was a wonderful walk down memory lane. I remember as you first came into the base, to the left was a small building that housed the police station and the entry post. Across the road was transport, ...to the left of transport, was supply and to the right of transport was maintenance, the civilians that worked on base had their own shop across the road. Just down the road another 150 ft was my barracks, my room was the first one by the entrance. lol. We were allowed to decorate them as we wished and I remember painting my canary yellow. lol. Headquarters was across from my barracks. We even had our own newspaper of which I drew the cover page for most editions until I was posted out. I had a best friend who was a military police woman there, and another who was an admin clerk in the headquarters building. Jules Verne was the firechief and he ran a tight ship, I believe he has passed on since. I remember a fella by the name of Butch, and another by the name of Fischer, (last names) as that is usually what we went by. They were both from the area and worked in Maintenance as civilians. Cpl Lawrence was one of our mechanics and we had the first female mechanic, as well as first female heavy equipment operator. It was a thriving rec center that we had on base, and a fella by the name of Cpl Switzer, (Rick, to his friends) ran it. I remember the time he was making chinese food and pretty near sliced his finger off into the food. lol. There were many good times in the mixed mess hall, where beer was cheap and company pleasant. I remember the small church that housed sunday school and various masses. MWO McMannis was the Base Commander when I was there I believe. It seems like yesterday to me. 'The hill going up to the Radar dome was often hard to get up in the winter and the persons who worked there often had to climb it. I still remember the laughter and the good times had there and how pretty a base it was. When I see the pictures of the run down buildings, it sends a chill down my spine. I can almost hear the laughter and see the people still walking down the street, or going to work. Alas, we all grow old. It has been many years but I have so many fond memories of that place. So many of my friends got posted out as did I. I was posted to Winnipeg and thirty four years later, omg..when did I get that old., anyhow I still talk to the friends that I knew back then and first met on CFS Falconbridge. When it is in your blood, you never get over it. I miss those days and the comradery that we had.
I was also at Falconbridge in 1973............my name then was Cathy Oliver ..........
I graduated from AWC & CS traing course 8302 at CFB Falconbridge and have many fond memories of this place.
Like Maryanne, I also spent a few years at this Radar Site from fall of 74 to fall of 77. Like most radar sites on the Tree Line, it was self-contained, providing everything for the enlisted man and for most civilian family members. There was even a rope-tow working for downhill skiers when I arrived. As a single person it was great to sleep, eat, drink and work all within a 100 yd radius.
Our own winter carnivals were the highlight for me, as each mess had its own team to perform skits, compete in outdoor fun, drink(of course)and blow off steam in the middle of very hard winters back then. An amazing change in topography in those three years as the Superstack had only recently been activated. The amount of green appearing in summers was staggering from the barren wasteland when I first arrived.
Great pictures and a bit sad to see this ghost town now more than 35 years later. I've visited Alsask, Kamloops and Dana in recent years and these sites were eradicated of all buildings and homesites as though they never existed. At least Falconbridge has some evidence of a time gone by.
My Aunt and Cousin saw that UFO in 1975, like it was yesterday, burned into their minds forever. I saw some sketches, pretty weird actually.
I was stationed there from 1957 to 1960 in the FCO trade. First base after boot camp. Lots of memories, eh Nick Stolarchuk. Thanks for the pictures brought back alot of memories
Our family was stationed at CFS Falconbridge from 1970 to 1973. I turned thirteen there and had the joy of experiencing "teen town" before we moved away from the stations forever. Lived at CFS Mont Apica in Quebec from 1967 to 1970. It was great that as kids, we were blessed with ski hills, bowling alleys, pools, gyms, rinks for skating and ice for curling, baseball diamonds, movies. A really lovely way to grow up, lots of social interaction and always families coming and going.
I was a teenage fightercop in the RCAF 2420 Auxiliary Squadron in London, Ontario spending many weekends and summers at RCAF Station Falconbridge from Sept. 1957 through April 1961. I loved every minute of it.