City on Vancouver Island pays tribute to seaplane industry

The long-awaited installation of the iconic Beaver floatplane was put on a pedestal on Monday, April 25 at Campbellton’s entrance to the Campbell River to commemorate an important period in the city’s history.

Tayi Spit, a long strip of land jutting into the mouth of the Campbell River, was considered the busiest seaplane base in Canada in 1966. North”. Although this famous aircraft was first built in 1947, it was discontinued by de Havilland Canada after 1967. Nevertheless, Beaver continued to lead the charter industry for the next fifty years.

In those serene days, up to 10 seaplanes on the spit served not only the timber and fishing industries, but also the needs of many isolated settlements. This week’s installation also celebrates Sealand Aviation and many of its supporting businesses, as well as the Campbellton Neighborhood Installation (CNA) efforts that made this event possible.

In those early days, Campbell River seaplane operators played an integral role in meeting the demands of many industries. These include logging operations, indigenous villages, resort owners, commercial fishermen, fish processors, mining companies, prospectors, and settlers in isolated areas.

The idea of ​​the seaplane as an eye-catching symbol of Campbelton’s entrance to the city of Campbell River was born 10 years ago. The newly appointed directors of the CNA were looking for ideas on how to update the dilapidated look of this entrance to the city. As Brian Shaw, CNA chairman at the time, said, “Campbelton was certainly not a welcoming sight as visitors passed through it on their way to the city centre.”

The directors looked for ideas on how to improve the entrance, and eventually chose the grassy median on the Inner Island Highway adjacent to 14th Avenue as a possible location for the project.

Conversations with director Jonathan Calderwood and the Earl. Ron Kerr met with Sealand Aviation owner Bill Alder. The idea of ​​mounting a seaplane on a pedestal topped the list of ideas. Alder accepted the Beaver seaplane offer, but there were no old Beavers available to restore. However, he kept the wreckage of the old Bibrs in a warehouse, and he believed that it was possible to build an aircraft from original parts. The only piece missing was the engine, but thanks to Alder’s determination, he eventually stumbled upon the gold by doing a search on Craigslist, which turned up a Beaver engine that had been stored in the owner’s barn for many years.

Reconstruction began, but progressed slowly over the years. At the time, Sealand was growing and demanded a lot of Alder’s time, and much of the work was done by volunteers. However, on Monday evening, after several stops and starts, the time was chosen to finally place the aircraft in its place of honor at the northern entrance to the Campbell River area of ​​Campbellton.

Over the years, many seaplane operators have chosen Campbell River’s Thayee Spit as their base of operations because it offers exceptionally safe and secure seaplane parking on the east side of Vancouver Island. Three companies currently offer flights from the Spit: Vancouver Island Air, Coral Air and West Coast Helicopters.

Tourism has become an important part of Kosa’s seaplane business these days because it provides direct access to fishing resorts, wildlife tours, indigenous cultural sites, or encounters with waiting yachts.

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