The Canadian Air and Space Museum has six months to vacate the space at Downsview Park they've called home since 1997, said the chair of the park's board of directors.
"The park has a 90 year old, 100,000 square foot building that's falling apart," David Soknacki said. "The windows are coming out. It's in a real state of disrepair. The park has an obligation to the public to preserve its heritage."
To preserve the building, engineers said $3 million must be invested immediately, with an additional $20 million to bring it up to code, he said.
"The park is about the future," Soknacki said. "I understand change is traumatic."
The museum was one of 10 Downsview Park tenants served with eviction notices Tuesday, Sept. 20, according to Soknacki. They have all been given six months' notice.
The building will be repurposed into a four-pad skating rink, Soknacki said, adding the goal is to have it open by September 2013.
"We understand the museum has artifacts that might be fragile and we said we will pay for the move, or store it at the park, when they decide what they want to do," he said. "We are open to proposals from the museum to determine where they want to go and they can move to another area of the park if they want to. But we don't know what direction they want to go in. All affected tenants have six months to vacate. The locks have been changed but they can still access the site and hold functions."
Ian McDougall, volunteer chair of the Canadian Air and Space Museum, said the charity has a backlog of $120,000 and was finally able to pay the monthly rent of $18,000 two months ago.
"Thousands upon thousands of people visit our site annually," he previously told The Mirror, adding he didn't know how long the museum has been in financial distress.
He said a cheque was given to Downsview Park Monday, Sept. 12 and returned two days later with a notice of eviction letter.
McDougall said it would be unlikely the museum would find a new location and this essentially signals the end of the organization.
The Canadian Air and Space Museum, formerly the Toronto Aerospace Museum, was housed in the original 1929 home of the de Havilland Aircraft of Canada Ltd. and also the original home of Canada's leading space technology company best known as SPAR, according to the museum's website. It also housed several artifacts and planes, including a replica Avro Arrow.