North From Yellowknife – Wardair Canada Operations 1961


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Very special thanks to Scoval Publishing (UK) for providing this film.
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Produced in 1961, this colour flashback film tells the early years story of Wardair and the story of air transportation and mining on the Precambrian Shield of Canada’s Northwest Territories.

This was well before Wardair evolved to being a passenger jet airline and at the time, Wardair used a fleet of Bristol Mk.31 Freighters and De Havilland Canada DHC-3 Otter and DHC-2 Beaver aircraft to fly materials, cargo, fuels and people from Yellowknife to exploration and first nations communities in Canada’s North.

The producers of the film take some time to show what the frontier town of Yellowknife looked like in 1961, with all its modern amenities of the day. They also explain that communities and exploration projects and mine sites North of Yellowknife have to be re-supplied by air, much the same situation as today.

Very little movie footage exists today of Wardair Canada’s historic 1960s operations, and we extend our thanks to Scott Henderson of Scoval Publishing for providing this amazing film for our viewing enjoyment. As the film was sourced from the UK, we suspect that it is possible the film’s production was financed by the Bristol Aeroplane Company, as the film credits thank the staff of Wardair Canada for their assistance

4 Responses to “North From Yellowknife – Wardair Canada Operations 1961”

  1. <path_to_url> Carl Haluss

    Another great video! Quite an operation Wardair had in Yellowknife. I really loved seeing the footage of the Bristol Freighter. And learning about the gold mines.

    • <path_to_url> Henry Tenby

      It is a part of Wardair’s history that kind of never gets mentioned. Yes, Max Ward started his business in Yellowknife as a charter operation serving the remote bush communities and mine sites to points North. I think he might have started the business back in the 1940s after the War. The big jet operation that everyone knows, is really only the second chapter of the Wardair story. At Yellowknife Airport there is a Wardair Bristol Freighter up on a pole in recognition of the airline’s contribution to the development of the North back in the 1950s.

  2. <path_to_url> Harry Lynn

    G’day Henry,
    I really loved this video with the Otter and the Bristol Freighter. Make me wish I’d been born 10 years earlier and learned to fly decades earlier. Then Canada would have been my ideal destination with a career as a bush pilot.

    • <path_to_url> Henry Tenby

      Hi Harry, this was a special movie that came to us from one of our viewers remarkably. He had the movie salted away for decades unviewed, and I by our digitizing it we are able to make it available for everyone to enjoy. Otherwise it would have never seen the light of day. I lived up in Yellowknife between 1991 and 1997 working for NWT Air. It was the era of the Boeing 737-200 and the HS748 and of course Buffalo Airways and their collection of propliners. So it was a good time to be living in the North. But the Bristols were long extinct in the NWT by that time. However, over in Terrace, BC Hawkair were still running Bristols on local mine charters between BC and Wrangell and we feature them in a few videos here on JetFlix TV that you might enjoy viewing. If you have not already watched them!

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