The Constant Hum & Spectacle Of Seaplanes


1,000 Cool Things About Vancouver is a pretty self-explanatory Scout column that gives equal weight to the common attributes and obscure intangibles that make our city well worth living in. Getting to a thousand is a pretty ambitious goal, but we believe in our city and we’re already well under way, working backwards…


by Andrew Morrison | Coal Harbour’s seaplanes have been a facet of urban living in Vancouver for over a 100 years. In the 1910s, Boeing Canada started building seaplanes in the neighbourhood. In 1919, the first ever international airmail delivery took off from Coal Harbour carrying 60 letters to Seattle. In the 1940s, Coal Harbour was home to a Royal Canadian Air Force seaplane base and reconnaissance station.

67b8660d-5779-4b5e-afda-7e3b505af38d-A37447Archives# Trans P44. Photo: Stuart Thomson.

Such rich aviation history goes under-appreciated by many condo tower newcomers to the area, with some Coal Harbour residents having actively campaigned in recent years for their operational relocation (employing tactics from fear to typical NIMBY whining). But the pleasure of these planes is neither in their history nor their needling of the entitled, but rather in the simple sights and sounds of their regular comings and goings. Even if we very seldom fly in them, their hum and spectacle are soothing reminders of where we live.


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