Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter Since 1995

Aviation Memorabilia Newsletter

Since 1995

Marty Vanstone has sent us this memory of the Great Blizzard at Dorval (YUL) in March 1971.

On March 3rd, 1971, first officer Jack Humphries and I operated CP 72, a B737-200, from Vancouver to Montreal (Dorval) via YYC & YWG. Some memories of the following two days are still sharp but others are a little fuzzed over by time, so please forgive any errors.

I do not recall the weather we encountered on our arrival into YUL on the early evening of March 3rd but it should be safe to assume, given what followed, that there were snowy conditions. Our return flight was to be a 0700 departure the next day back to Vancouver via YOW, YYZ, YWG & YYC.

We were staying in the Chateau Champlain Hotel and it was not surprising that, as we left the hotel very early on the 4th and climbed into our Murray Hill limo, it was still snowing. The first realization of unusual conditions came on the ride out to Dorval. Traffic was exceptionally light. Some of the freeway had been plowed but as we turned off to the Dorval Circle, that road had not been cleared and the driver was beginning to express some concern. By this time visibility was becoming more limited as the snow became heavier. The underpass leading to Dorval Circle, which was to claim a life later that day, was still bare but the rest of the trip to the terminal was difficult.

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