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YYC's toy plane carousel searching for a new local home

A massive tin toy plane display that has spent more than 20 years spinning around Calgary's airport is in need of a new home. 

The display, which was installed in 2002, is likely familiar to most Calgarians. 

'When Aviation Was Young' consists of two wind-up carousels of rotating tin planes with spinning propellers. 

Artist Jeff de Boer spent 5,000 hours crafting the colourful display. 

"I really wanted to do something fun, colourful, kinetic and larger than life that children can control," he told CTV News. "And 20 years later, some children that were 10 years old at the time have grown up to become pilots or stewardesses, and I've been getting messages saying, 'this sculpture inspired me to want to get into aviation.'"

But things are changing soon at YYC. 

In mid-June, the display is being decommissioned to make way for guest experience updates in the domestic terminal. 

"The sculpture is going to be my property," de Boer said. "So what do you do with two giant wind up tin toys? They're not going to fit into my back alley."

The artist has received offers from across Canada and even south of the border. 

But the piece represents Alberta's aviation history -- not Michigan's. 

So one location just makes sense. 

"We want it," Hangar Flight Museum Director Brian Desjardins said. "Just to be able to tell more about Calgary's story through these artifacts.

"They're beautiful. Wonderful to look at."

The museum wants the piece, but there's a problem. 

For the next year or so, the facility is under construction. 

Until then, there just isn't room for any additions. So Desjardins is now searching for a storage location to house the carousel until the new building. 

The museum is asking the province -- and a few airlines -- for help. It say the City of Calgary has invested in the expansion project, but it wants other levels of government or other donors to pitch in, too. 

It has a couple months to figure out if it can house the piece of local history.

De Boer is crossing his fingers. "I suspect the sculpture still has many years of play to go."

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