Tuesday , 5 July 2022
A 3D model of the American cruise missile that was tested at the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range in the mid-1980s, constructed by designer Greg Newton.

New Cold Lake Museums exhibit highlights CLAWR role in 80’s missile testing

The Cold Lake Museums are back open for the season with a new exhibit that sheds light upon a controversial role the Cold Lake Air Weapons Range played in the later stages of the Cold War.

Residents can now see the brand new cruise missile exhibit, which dignitaries and media members took first glimpses of on Friday.

The exhibit located upstairs at the museum delves into how the Air Weapons Range was the site to allow testing of the American Cruise Missile as part of Canada’s western military alliance.

As attendees arrived to the museum on Friday they were greeted by mock protestors, harkening back to the many protests near the CLAWR site in the mid-1980s, some even staged by Greenpeace.

“It’s just really interesting that we got on the international stage like this,” said curator Wanda Stacey, who said the exhibit has been in the planning stages for a few years. 

“Everyone had a great deal of trepidation about the times — a lot like we do now.” 

Mock protestors greeted attendees with the types of messages common at the time of the missile tests.

The design process began for the exhibit last winter and was more difficult than normal to accumulate the information and materials required to give the space it’s due.

A 3D printed model of the cruise missile took “hundreds of hours” to complete by Greg Newton and had to be reinforced to hang from the ceiling alongside a B-52.

Local suppliers like FM Graphx and Jesters Office Supplies had a hand in getting the project to completion as well.

“They [missiles] were launched in eastern Canada, and then they were dropped on our Cold Lake Air Weapons Range, escorted by a couple of CF-18s provided by CFB Cold Lake. And so then the air launch cruise missile dropped and was retrieved at Primrose Lake. It provided a good place for the protesters to gather. Some of them were bused in from Edmonton and whatnot just to come to Cold Lake,” said Stacey. 

To check out the history of the CLAWR’s role in missile testing, one can go to the Cold Lake Museums from Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Cold Lake Mayor Craig Copeland and M.D. of Bonnyville councillor Dana Swigart take in the exhibit.
An introduction by exhibit designer and artist Jim Belliveau.



About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.