On Monday April 2, 1973, page 28, Mike Deibert wrote an article titled, “Aviation pioneers gather at hall of fame ceremony,” for the Calgary Herald. This article followed the Saturday, March 31, 1973 conference that Calgary hosted for the third investiture of the Order of Icarus. Deibert’s article title set in motion an idea which gathered momentum as the year progressed.
By August 2, 1973, Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame was incorporated nationally. Part of that formation included the founding Board of Directors and a Managing Director who would look after the physical location of the Hall once it came to fruition. Over the next year, the Board of Directors, the Managing Director, and volunteers would select the ‘final destination’ for CAHF and establish the criteria by which individuals - past, present, and future - would be selected for induction as Members into CAHF.
The inaugural induction ceremony and gala dinner for Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame was hosted by the city of Edmonton on July 16, 1974. Over six hundred people were in attendance to witness the induction of 79 original members. Of those 79 original members was the inclusion of Trans Canada Airlines which eventually set the precedent for which institutions and organizations may be recipients of the Belt of Orion Award for Excellence in the following years.
The Hall’s displays officially opened on the first day of Klondike Days on July 17, 1974 in the Sportex Building at the Edmonton Exhibition Grounds. Dismantled and moved several times in its initial years, it finally found a home at the Edmonton Convention Centre. In 1992, when the Reynolds-Alberta Museum opened in Wetaskiwin, Alberta, CAHF moved to the Aviation Display Hangar as an on-site not-for-profit partner and remains there today.
Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame relies heavily on public interest and support for its short-term and long-term viability. Support from the public includes but is not limited to: encouraging the public to submit nominations of individuals and organizations, supporting and/or attending the annual induction ceremony and gala dinner (beyond covid-19 restrictions), and visiting the physical location to see member and Belt of Orion displays.
Undeniably, the most important aspect of public support CAHF relies on is volunteering. The organization is governed by a National Board of Directors, an Alberta Division, and an Operating Committee, with the extension of the Nominations Review Committee. Over 92% of CAHF’s organizational structure at present is fuelled by passionate and dedicated volunteers who make every effort to see the Hall succeed for future generations.
Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame was formed to keep Canada’s aviation heroes, leaders, and innovators in the hearts and minds of Canadians. Nearing fifty years of operation in 2023, Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame has become the custodian of Canada’s remarkable aviation notables and their legacies.
Although CAHF remains temporarily closed to the public due to covid-19 restrictions, readers are encouraged to explore CAHF’s new website at the same domain (www.cahf.ca
). This new website was only launched at the end of March 2021, so it is not fully finished in some areas.
Please feel free to browse around to read CAHF’s member biographies, Belt of Orion summaries, and view parts of the CAHF archive and collection that are available for viewing.
Readers are also encouraged to reach out to the CAHF office (email@example.com) if they are interested in supporting the Hall.
Support may be encouragement or a kind sentiment, a donation, subscribing to the monthly e-newsletter and/or CAHF’s quarterly publication The Flyer, finding CAHF on social media channels, or other means and modes of support.