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International Context The Trans-Canada Air Route

On May 5, 1928, Canada's aerial postal service was officially opened. The success of the Rimouski-Montreal section, combined with a national policy on aerial mail, was a key factor in the establishment of a trans-Canada air route.

Newspaper article
Newspaper article
"New Air Mail Routes Are Inaugurated"
Montreal Daily Star, May 5, 1928
Courtesy of Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, Montreal


The trans-Canada air route consisted of a long passage from Halifax to Vancouver, completed over a 10-year period (at intervals that fluctuated between fast and slower as a result of the Depression). The first regular transcontinental flight between Montreal and Vancouver took place in 1939. During this particularly harsh period of the recession, the Maritime regions had to wait until the following year before the first postal planes reach Moncton.

The trans-Canada air route was made up of several 160-kilometre sections, which were all linked by airports. Several emergency landing zones were marked along the route. To maintain efficiency, the aerial service operated on a 24-hour basis; mail needed to be picked up at the end of the workday and circulated the following morning. Such a schedule made night flights necessary, and so the airports between each section were soon equipped with lights.

The success of the route depended on regular service. In areas where mail delivery had been sporadic, people were delighted at the idea of a monthly service and overjoyed at the thought of a weekly delivery; occasional delays of up to several days caused by bad weather did not greatly affect them. In urban areas, however, service had to be regular and punctual, and so had to operate day and night.



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