A true jack-of-all-trades the Beaver flew with floats, wheels or skis. It was equipped with a belly camera hatch and could be fitted with canoe racks designed by the Ontario Provincial Air Service. Amongst its many uses were forest patrol, waterbombing, parachute drops, aerial photography, aerial fish stocking, transportation and cargo delivery. Equipped with float-mounted tanks, it could deliver 637 litres of water(140 Imp. gal.) in a waterbomber role.
The name Beaver was consistent with de Havilland's practice of giving their Canadian designs animal names, and like its animal namesake, the Beaver was a hard bush worker.
The success of the design is well illustrated by the fact that before production ended in 1967, 1,631 standard Beavers had been produced and delivered to 62 countries around the world.
In 1978 the Canadian Engineering Centennial Board selected the Beaver as one of "Canada's most outstanding engineering achievements."
The DHC2 MkIII Turbine Beaver model replaced the piston engine with a 431 kW (578 ehp) Pratt & Whitney PT6A-6 or -20 turboprop engine.
The Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre's Beaver CF-OBS, was the first Beaver off the production line and on April 26, 1948 it became the first Beaver to go into service with the Ontario Provincial Air Service.