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This information and photo sent to us by Tony Walsh and Rob Hemmett.

tmb kelowna airport openingI thought your NetLetter readers would appreciate the airliner and Canadian aviation heritage value of this great high-camera position photo taken on Aug. 11, 1960 of the opening of the New Kelowna Airport that my friend, hangar-partner and retired AC YVR CAT Rob Hemmett came across on while perusing the “Old Kelowna” FaceBook page, as he occasionally is wont to do having been raised in Kelowna BC.

This “New” Kelowna airport was actually a paved 5,350’ runway expansion of the old Ellison Field’s 3,000’ 1947 grass and then 1956 gravel runway. 

Local press caption reads: "August 11, 1960, was one of the hottest days in Kelowna's history, when George Hees, Conservative Minister of Transport, fired a pistol to officially open Kelowna Airport. Improvements to Ellison Airfield were made by the federal government through the constant lobbying of Mayor Dick Parkinson".

You can see how hot it was by the public attendees taking shelter in the shade under wings and fuselages. Of note in this 1960 photo, a nice front end view of a long-legged TCA Super Connie (L-1049C, E, G or H? I can’t read the fin # on NLG door) and a Canadian Pacific Bristol Britannia (both larger than any airliner seen before at YLW)  plus a Vickers Viscount in the left foreground owned by Canadian Department of Transport, registration CF-DTA, which I assume Minister of Transport George Hees flew in on (for airliner buffs, this Viscount was previously owned & operated by Capital Airlines – USA as N7467. In the background-right a PBY Catalina or Canso amphib and DC-3 and as pointed out by Rob, “the terminal building was the little building on the extreme LH side of picture with umbrella on roof”  plus a very proximate passenger train on the CNR Okanagan Branch tracks next to airport (that ran from Kelowna to Vernon and northwards to hook up with CNR / CPR rail mainline primarily for freighting Okanagan fruit eastward).

Who said YVR was the first Canadian airport to have direct passenger rail access? Although I doubt that any passenger trains normally stopped at this little YLW terminal.

Tony Walsh – Retired AC – Mgr Airport Ops Services – Western NA & Pac Rim

Rob Hemmett – Retired AC CAT/LAT – YVR.

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