A storied piece of Delta’s aviation history has taken flight at the Boundary Bay Airport.
The City of Delta, in cooperation with Alpha Aviation, officially unveiled The Station: Ours to Preserve, an interactive digital display on Wednesday morning during a ceremony inside the airport terminal.
“Because this airport had such an impact on the people who trained and worked here, Delta council knew we had to share this story with the public,” said Mayor George Harvie. “The airport is part of Delta’s heritage. Its story is ours to preserve and we are committed to doing just that. It is a great honour and a privilege to dedicate the Boundary Bay Airport historic exhibit to the thousands of people who served at the RCAF Station Boundary Bay and the Vancouver Wireless Station.”
Alpha Aviation CEO Fred Kaiser said they are proud to be a part of such a wonderful exhibit
“This is a fantastic job. As they say a picture is worth a thousand words, so you will see a few million words when you take a look at this display,” said Kaiser. “This is a new chapter to the history of Delta. I think it is always important to understand the history before you make decisions for the future.”
According to the City of Delta, the project has been in the works for the past two years.
“Our intent is that this display, as we collect more information and photos will grow over time,” said Paula Kolisnek, senior corporate policy analyst & emergency planner for the City of Delta. “Right now it is telling the story of The Station when it operated in the Second World War.”
When the project was conceived, Kolisnek said the City of Delta didn’t know a lot of history about the airport, so they began researching into its history.
“Some of the staff that worked at the Vancouver Wireless Station have built a website and have a lot of photos and history of the airport and referenced the time when it operated as the RCAF Station Boundary Bay as a time when people came to train on the Lancaster Bomber. What we learned is that happened at the end of war and there was so much more history to it, so we got in touch with a local historian who had done a bunch of work and he indicated that there was more information in Ottawa.”
In 2017, Kolisnek went to Library and Archives Canada where she discovered more than 1,200 photographs, blueprints, stories and official military directives.
She then worked with an interactive display digital company to develop the exhibit.
“The City of Delta digitized all the photos and we also got a lot of stuff from National Defence and all of this is helping to tell this wonderful story,” she said. “The best way we felt to tell this story was through this digital, interactive display that is open to all to see and learn about.
“It is also a way to not only tell that story, but also honour those who died – there were 29 airmen who lost their lives at Boundary Bay. We honour those names on the cenotaph, but this display celebrates their lives and the real heart and soul of these people and their aircrafts that pulsed through The Station.”
Kolisnek said the project has been a true labour of love and she is honoured to have been a part of making this happen.
“I’ve worked on the airport file for many years. To be able to tell this story and honour the airport and all the people who came through the airport from all over the world, to train, to fight for our country, is an immense honour,” she said. “I’m really excited about the next chapter of this project. This is just the beginning.”