Seventy-five years ago on April 9, 1940, Hitler stunned the world by attacking Norway. After a few weeks’ battle, German military might prevailed and the German invaders occupied Norway — an occupation that would last throughout World War II.

Norway’s King and government fled to England, vowing to continue to fight the Nazis and regain their homeland. To rebuild the Royal Norwegian Air Force, arrangements were made with Canada for the establishment of a training base for Norwegian aircrews here. “Little Norway” was built first at the foot of Bathurst Street in Toronto. In 1943, Little Norway moved to Muskoka Airport near Gravenhurst.

After their Canadian training, the Norwegians air crews returned overseas to fly with the British Royal Air Force, proving to be flying aces and helping to bring about the eventual Allied victory.

Canadians opened their homes and hearts to the Norwegians while they were at Little Norway and many of those friendships lasted a lifetime. Visit the wonderful Little Norway Memorial at Muskoka Airport, Gravenhurst, for lots more information about this fascinating part of Canadian and Norwegian history.

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