1937 - Imperial Airways of the U.K. arrived in Montreal from Southampton, U.K. to inaugurate trans-Atlantic service to connect with Trans-Canada Air Lines.
A TCA aircraft, piloted by Lewis Leigh and H.T. Lewis was the first to use the Calgary airport in late January 1939.
Prompted by the article in “Wayne's Wings” in NetLetter #1349, we unearthed an e-mail of a personal experience from Bill Norberg (RIP) which we received in 1998 -
Trans-Canada Air Lines plans flights to the Caribbean
Once the North Star aircraft arrived on the scene TCA had the fleet capacity to expand its operations. The North Atlantic service was in operation and plans were being made to start services south to the Caribbean. To explore these possibilities in greater depth a familiarization flight was planned for the fall of 1948. A North Star with a team of airline specialists was to head south and touch down at all the main Caribbean Islands as far south as Port of Spain, Trinidad.
I was a Line Maintenance Shift Foreman at the time responsible for Radio, Electronics and Instruments and was selected to accompany this flight as technical support. I was quite naturally thrilled at the thought and immediately went about getting the necessary passport and all the medical shots needed for tropical areas. I was on the midnight shift when all this readiness was going on and after completing my shift in the morning would go over to the Dorval Medical Clinic and get my daily batch of shots from Dr. Violette and his nurses before going home to get some sleep. Some of the shots in those days were rather unpleasant and after one session I spent most of the day in a state.
My wife told me that all I was worried about was that my insurance premium hadn't been paid. My excitement over this trip was short lived however when my place on the team was taken by a chap from the office named Tammy Johnson. I was disappointed but it was probably the best decision. The aircraft completed its tour successfully and TCA started its flights to the Caribbean which have proven to be so successful. The ending to the flight however was rather interesting. As I recall it F.M. McGregor was on the flight, maybe even flying the aircraft. When it was returning it was flight planned into Dorval and as I heard it, Customs Branch were all ready for this one. I guess the flight got wind of those plans and at the last minute it was diverted to Toronto where it cleared customs without any problems.
The flight then flew domestically to Dorval from Toronto. When it landed at Dorval it taxied directly to Hangar # 5, the hangar doors were open and the aircraft taxied directly in to the hangar with the doors closing behind it. I believe F.M. McGregor had his offices in the hangar #5 annex.