Canada Letter: The Avro Arrow and an Amazon HQ

The effort to erase the Arrow is usually attributed to John Diefenbaker, the volatile prime minister who canceled the program.

Photo

Rénald Fortier, curator of the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, with a surviving Avro Arrow wing tip.

Credit
Ian Austen/The New York Times

But several historians pointed me to a meticulously researched graduate thesis paper on the Arrow by Russell Isinger, who is now the registrar at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. In it, he clears Mr. Diefenbaker.

Through military and government documents, he found that the complete planes were offered to aviation research organizations in Canada, the United States and Britain. All of them said, no, thanks, apparently because of the cost of keeping a small fleet of orphaned planes flying.

The destruction that followed, Mr. Isinger found, was not “not out of Diefenbaker’s vindictiveness” but was “simply due to bureaucratic standard operating procedure.”

Read: Hunting for a Canadian Legend: the Avro Arrow Jet Fighter

Office Hunting

Amazon, the online retail giant, is shopping. It wants to supplement its current head office with a second one somewhere else in North America. The location was not limited to the United States. That led several Canadian mayors to say that they plan to make bids to host the complex, which holds out the promise of 50,000 jobs and a $5 billion investment.

My colleagues at The Upshot, who specialize in making sense of data, took Amazon’s criteria and crunched the numbers to help the company with its selection. (Hint: the prospective winner is in a Western state with lots of altitude.) Canadian cities weren’t included in the data sets available to The Upshot so Canada was excluded. But MountainMath, a data analysis company in Vancouver, British Columbia, picked up the task. Its Canadian winner is not one that comes up frequently in most…

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