Canada's Entry into the Age of Aviation: The Government of Canada Ensures the Ongoing Commemoration of the First Canadian Airplane Flight



    Canada's aviation pioneers honoured

    BADDECK, NS, Feb. 23 /CNW/ - On the centenary of the first airplane
flight in Canada, the honourable Rob Merrifield, Member of Parliament for
Yellowhead and Minister of State (Transport), on behalf of the Honourable Jim
Prentice, Canada's Environment Minister and Minister responsible for Parks
Canada, today announced that the Government of Canada will invest in Parks
Canada's Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site of Canada to enhance the
ongoing celebration of the legacy of the Silver Dart. Minister Merrifield also
unveiled a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque commemorating
the first flight as an event of national historic significance.
    "I am pleased to announce the Government of Canada's intention to invest
in the on-going commemoration of Canada's entry into the age of aviation. This
contribution would help ensure that the legacy of the Silver Dart will
continue to be honoured by future generations," said Minister Merrifield.
"Exactly one hundred years ago, Canada ushered in an exciting age of
aeronautics thanks to a small group of dreamers, designers, pioneers and
adventurers here, in the beautiful Village of Baddeck."
    The Government of Canada intends to invest $3 million to celebrate the
legacy of the Silver Dart. This investment is part of a two-year $75 million
allocation announced in Budget 2009, Canada's Economic Action Plan. The $3
million investment at Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site would
address the required repairs to the roof and exterior viewing decks of the
museum, as well as an upgrade of the interior exhibits including an enhanced
aviation exhibit ensuring the presentation of the life story of Alexander
Graham Bell and his associates.
    "Today as we commemorate 'The First Airplane Flight in Canada', we
recognize that aviation has been instrumental in linking our nation's
communities to each other and to the world. It has provided Canadians with a
significant connection from sea to sea to sea," said Minister Prentice.
"Canadian companies paved the way in developing new aeronautic technologies.
Military aviation continues to play an important role in Canada and our space
program is committed to leading the development and application of space
knowledge for the benefit of Canadians and humanity."
    On February 23, 1909, J. A. Douglas McCurdy, a member of Mabel and
Alexander Graham Bell's 'Aerial Experiment Association', climbed into the
pilot's seat of the airplane he designed, Silver Dart. Using the icy Baddeck
Bay as his runway he sped along its surface, rose into the air and flew east
over the bay about 800 metres before making a smooth landing. With more than
one hundred people watching, the small Village of Baddeck became the
birthplace of the first powered flight in Canada. McCurdy and his associates
had secured Canada's place into the developing history of flight.
    Operated by Parks Canada, Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site of
Canada celebrates the life and work of one of the world's greatest inventors,
and is part of a nation-wide system of national historic sites, national parks
and national marine conservation areas that is recognized as one of the finest
and most extensive systems of protected areas in the world. Parks Canada works
to ensure Canada's cultural and natural heritage are presented and protected
for the enjoyment, education and appreciation of all Canadians, today and in
the future.
    Created in 1919, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada advises
the Minister of the Environment about the national historic significance of
places, persons and events that have marked Canada's history. The placement of
a commemorative plaque represents an official recognition of their historic
value. It is one means of educating the public about the richness of our
cultural heritage, which must be preserved for present and future generations.




For further information:

For further information: Mark Sajatovich, Communications Officer, Cape
Breton Island Field Unit, Parks Canada, Office: (902) 733-3545, Cell: (902)
304-3486; (Also available on the Internet at www.pc.gc.ca under Media Room.)


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