Breaking New Ground—Stories from Defence Construction Breaking_new_ground - Page 34

Did You Know? The DEW Line stretched more than 8,046 kilometres, 5,944 of which were in Canada. Construction required more than 25,000 people and the largest commercial airlift to date—45,000 commercial flights in 32 months. Project: The DEW Line facilitating the involvement of Canadian contractors and suppliers, and maintaining a watching brief to ensure that Canadian firms would benefit from the operation and maintenance contracts. The relatively southerly position of the Pinetree Line brought with it some serious limitations for North American defence, given that Soviet aircraft would A view from Winnipeg and points north… be approaching from the north. The development of Manitoba, 1952 to 1956—Neil S. Wither thermonuclear weapons—far more destructive than (Neil notes that in 1952, when he was doing general their nuclear counterparts—increased the concerns. labour work and rough carpentry in Winnipeg, he joined The Distant Early Warning (DEW) Line in the Canadian Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation as a rodman Arctic, roughl y along the 70th parallel, was one solution. for a survey crew without knowing what the term meant.) By November 1954, Canada and the United States had I soon found out that it meant holding a metal rod agreed to construct the DEW Line. The United States whilst someone with an iron ring squinted through a would pay for the line, but was required to use Canadian level and determined if the world was flat or round. It contractors and labour. also meant running endless circuits to ensure the world itself had not shifted, in particular at Stevenson Field on DCL’s involvement with the DEW Line project was Whytewold Road, where it seemed that construction limited in comparison with the other radar lines built was endless (Stevenson Field was a combined civil- in Canada—it provided short lists of suitable sub- military airfield that in 1958 was renamed the Winnipeg contractors, and represented the interests of smaller construction companies during building and as part of International Airport—in the mid-1950s, it handled the maintenance that followed the line’s completion in more military traffic than any other civil airport in Canada, 1957. The Corporation’s main tasks, therefore, were and also served as a supply base for construction of the DEW Line). 24 BREAKING NEW GROUND DEFENCE CONSTRUCTION CANADA