North Saanich’s air museum to add new roster of aviators

Aviation Hall of Fame comes to North Saanich this summer.

The Norseman aircraft on display at North Saanich’s B.C. Aviation Museum. It’s also part of their official logo. The Museum is adding the B.C. Aviation Hall of Fame this summer.

A new name will be added to the B.C. Aviation Hall of Fame this summer, as the Hall itself moves into the B.C. Aviation Museum in North Saanich.

The local museum has taken on the  duties of taking care of the Hall of Fame, which currently only exists online at bcaviation.com. Museum President John Lewis says not only will local volunteers keep the site going, but they’ll have a new display in the North Saanich building, highlighting B.C’s aviation pioneers.

The B.C. Aviation Museum (BCAM) announced it was taking over the Hall on May 30. It officially moves into North Saanich on July 23, during the Museum’s annual open house.

Lewis said members were looking for ways to expand their offerings at the Museum, including creating their own roll of honour, when an opportunity arose.

“Some of our members got in touch with the man running the Hall,” Lewis explained. “He is quite elderly and was finding it hard to keep it going. We were happy to do it.”

Lewis said this means the Museum volunteers won’t have to start from scratch. They do have some website upgrades planned and they will also be creating a display wall in their building, detailing current members of the B.C. Aviation Hall of Fame.

Lewis said the merger was a natural fit, as the Museum highlights the province’s aviation history — with a distinct flavour of the airmen and women who served at the Victoria airport.

“This is consistent with the BCAM’s mandate,” Lewis said. “Which is to recognize aviation in B.C.”

Adding a new feature there, he added, does have the benefit of potentially increasing visitor numbers at their facility.

As they roll out the new and updated Hall of Fame this summer, Lewis said members will be developing a set of criteria for the honour. The basic clause is that an inductee will have had a career that benefitted the cause of aviation in this province.

As well, at their July open house, they will announce new inductees into the Hall. Lewis did not reveal those names, saving them for the ceremony.

The Museum currently has a display of a wide variety of aircraft — full-size and replica — many of which flew in and out of Victoria since before the Second World War.

They also have a restoration workshop, which has put back together biplanes and more for use at the Museum.

The Hall of Fame currently includes the names of some of the province’s notable airmen, such as flying ace Raymond Collihaw, bush pilot turned airline owner Grant McConachie and The Flying Seven — women pilots who charted unknown territory back in 1936.

Visit bcam.net or bcaviation.com to learn more about the  Museum and the Hall of Fame.

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