Major air show pitched to Whitehorse city council

Whitehorse could be the site of a major air show next year as part of Canada's 150th birthday celebrations.

Whitehorse could be the site of a major air show next year as part of Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations.

Representatives from the Canadian Arctic Aviation Tour 2017 spoke to Whitehorse city council about the event on Monday evening.

Organizer Nancy McClure, who was in town to attend this year’s Northern Air Transport Association Conference, said air shows are planned in 97 northern communities, including about 20 in the Yukon alone.

That’s provided organizers secure enough funding – about $8 million – for the event.

Some of it has already been secured, McClure said, while the rest would come from the federal government. She said she expects to get an answer in the next couple of months.

“These air shows vary in size depending on the community,” she said, “but Whitehorse would be one of our major shows.”

Fifty of the shows would be fly-overs above communities, while the other 47 would be full aviation shows with planes on the ground, she added.

McClure said she wasn’t looking for any financial support from the City of Whitehorse, but would likely need in-kind donations as well as a significant number of volunteers.

“We’d be using your airport and perhaps your emergency services,” she said.

The tour would begin in Fort Liard, Northwest Territories and head to the Yukon at the beginning of June 2017.

“Above community” air shows would take place in Ibex Valley, Carcross, Mount Lorne, Marsh Lake, Tagish, Teslin, Faro, Ross River, Carmacks, Destruction Bay, Burwash Landing, Beaver Creek, Pelly Crossing and Mayo.

Full aviation shows would take place in Watson Lake, Whitehorse, Haines Junction, Dawson City and Old Crow.

Then, the tour would head east over a two-and-a-half month period, eventually ending in northern Quebec.

Runway capacity would determine which planes would stop where, McClure explained. But in Whitehorse, airplane enthusiasts could expect to see the Canadian Forces Snowbirds, the Canadian Forces CF18 Demo Team and the Canadian Armed Forces Parachute Team, the SkyHawks.

Other planes on display would likely be the Pitts Special biplane and “warbirds” – a term used to describe any vintage military aircraft now operated by civilian organizations and individuals.

In all, about 70 people would be making the trip to Whitehorse, McClure said.

Councillor Samson Hartland asked her about the potential economic impact of hosting such an event, but McClure didn’t have any hard numbers.

“We may know that further down the road,” she said.

The full air shows would also include educational activities for children, McClure added, although she didn’t have details on hand.

Contact Myles Dolphin at

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