Training schools were spread out across the country, and divided
into four training commands. No. 1 Training Command encompassed most
of Ontario (except for one school in Western Ontario, which fell into
No. 2), with a headquarters in Toronto. No. 2 encompassed Manitoba and
approximately half of the schools in Saskatchewan, and was headquartered
in Winnipeg. Schools in Quebec and the three Maritime Provinces fell
into No. 3 Training Command, headquartered in Montreal. Finally, No.
4 encompassed the rest of the schools in Saskatchewan along with those
in Alberta and British Columbia. No. 4 Training Command headquarters
was originally located in Regina, but was relocated to Calgary.
Most of the airbases were built in the prairies, as they had abundant
flat, open space, good weather and a low population density. A total
of 120 bases were needed, and two thirds of them had to be built from
scratch. Newly-hired carpenters and labourers built more than 700 hangars.
They also built messes, canteens, offices, drill halls, classrooms,
dining rooms and barracks, over 7,000 buildings in total. The cost of
these buildings reached $80,000,000.
The economic benefits continued throughout the war, helping
to pull Canadian communities out of the Great Depression
of the 1930s.
With each new station came personnel, and with the influx
of new people, business in local establishments duly improved.
Industry improved, especially aircraft and munitions manufacturing
as well as mining, which provided the necessary
raw materials of copper, nickel and iron.
The first pilot course graduated their class on September
30, 1939, consisting of 39 students. The numbers rose to
3,113 a month in late 1942, peaking at 5,157 graduates in
October 1943. By June 1944 there was a surplus of pilots,
and the plan started winding down. Recruiting stopped, and
by October, schools started to close down. The last classes
graduated on March 29,1945; two days later, the Plan expired.