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Canada's aviation history begins on February 23, 1909, the date on which J.A.D. McCurdy flew over Bras d'Or Lake in his Silver Dart. Over the years, there have been many valiant phases and heroic deeds. Among other things, Canadians distinguished themselves in fighter-bomber aviation and coastal defence during the First and Second World Wars. They also played a key role in defending North American territory during the Cold War. Despite those significant periods, there are sides to Canada's air force history that are less familiar to the public.

Canada has heroes who accomplished extraordinary feats indeed, but their actions occasionally conceal a different reality. The same is true of certain historical events, which have some darker aspects. The Dark Side of the Medal thus takes another look at some of the major stories regarding the Royal Canadian Air Force.