Article: A “Royal” Designation for Aviation Museum

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    We’ve received a new name! Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has granted permission to use the term “Royal” for Manitoba’s Western Canada Aviation Museum. The Winnipeg attraction, which began in 1974, will become known as: The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.

    We’re excited to share the media release with you.

    Western Canada Aviation Museum Receives “Royal” Designation

    Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has granted permission to use the term “Royal” for Manitoba’s Western Canada Aviation Museum. The Winnipeg attraction, which began in 1974, will become known as The Royal Aviation Museum of Western Canada.

    In making the announcement, Shirley Render, executive director of the museum, said the honour is both humbling and yet fitting as “Canada’s aviation history and heritage are rooted in Winnipeg – from the early bush flying pioneers to the birth of Canada’s national airlines.”

    His Honour, the Lieutenant Governor of Manitoba Philip Lee congratulated the museum’s board and its volunteers, on behalf of all Manitobans, for their “decades of dedication that have embraced and showcased Manitoba’s aviation and aerospace excellence.”

    The museum began when five founding members came together with a common goal of saving Canada’s aviation heritage from disappearing into the hands of foreign collectors. Together with the help of thousands of volunteers, the museum has retrieved and restored aircraft from the sides of mountains and the bottom of lakes in the Far North and grown the organization into an award-winning attraction dedicated to the preservation and presentation of Canada’s early bush-flying legacy. The result is a globally recognized collection of rare and one-of-a-kind aircraft along with a comprehensive library of artifacts, photos and memorabilia.

    “In the 30 years since The Queen officially opened today’s museum building in October 1984, the Western Canada Aviation Museum has stood fast to its commitment to educate, inform and delight visitors from far and wide by celebrating this unique aspect of Canada’s aviation history,” said Render.

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    Bruce Emberley, Shirley Render and Hartley Richardson unveil the museum’s new “Royal” name on December 19, 2014.

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    Mr. Scott Gillingham, Mr. Bruce Emberley, The Honourable Steven Fletcher, His Honour Philip Lee, Ms. Shirley Render, Mr. Hartley Richardson and The Honourable Deanne Crothers at the unveiling of the museum’s new “Royal” name on December 19, 2014.

    Backgrounder: Western Canada Aviation Museum

    The museum began in 1974 when five founding members came together with a common goal of saving Canada’s aviation heritage from disappearing into the hands of foreign collectors. Together with the help of hundreds of volunteers, the Museum has retrieved and restored aircraft from the sides of mountains and the bottom of lakes in the Far North and grown the organization into an award-winning attraction dedicated to the preservation and presentation of Canada’s early bush-flying legacy. The result is a globally recognized collection of rare and one-of-a-kind aircraft along with a comprehensive library of artifacts, photos and memorabilia.

    This is the only major museum that focuses on Canada’s early bush flying history which formed the basis of our country’s aviation/aerospace industry. In most countries, commercial flight began with city-to-city flying. Canada’s flying began with flying north into unmapped territory in open cockpit aircraft that had no radio and few navigational aids.

    The museum tells the story of the toughness and ingenuity of the pilots and mechanics that made them world-famous. Because of that, many pioneering and other significant aviation events and inventions happened right here in Winnipeg and northern Manitoba, making the city an ideal location for a world-class aviation museum.

    For example:

    • James A. Richardson envisioned aviation as a tool for developing the natural resources of the North and formed Western Canada Airways in 1926. He also saw aviation as a method to tie the country together economically and to ensure Canadian control over Canada’s skies and formed Canadian Airways Limited in 1930; it was Canada’s first trans-continental airline. Both were headquartered in Winnipeg.
    • MacDonald Brothers—which became Bristol Aerospace and today is part of Magellan Aerospace also started in Winnipeg.
    • Standard Aero began in Winnipeg and Ernie Moncrieff (a bush pilot in the 1930s, a flying instructor, and pilot in the RCAF in WWII) recognized the need for servicing aircraft engines in Winnipeg. The rest of that story is a global success.
    • Lambair began in 1934 in The Pas and for decades served Canada’s northern communities with remote air service—carrying everything from passengers to cargo.
    • Calm Air, Perimeter Airlines, Keewatin Air, Bearskin Lake Air, Custom Helicopters—all under the banner of Exchange Income Corporation are all part of the aviation legacy that started in Manitoba.

    Backgrounder: The Royal Designation

    The granting of the use of the prefix “Royal” to Canadian associations, organizations and other entities is a personal prerogative of Her Majesty The Queen as Queen of Canada. Usage of the prefix “Royal” is therefore a tremendous honour that must be seen as being truly warranted based on significant contribution to the betterment of Canada and Canadian society. In the period 2013-2014, there was only one other organization given the designation “Royal” and that was the Royal Cape Breton Gaelic College.

    There are five other “Royal Museums” in Canada:

    • Royal Ontario Museum (1911)
    • Royal British Columbia Museum (1987)
    • Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology (1990)
    • Royal Saskatchewan Museum (1993)
    • Royal Alberta Museum (2005)

    In Manitoba, the only other “Royal” designations have been granted to:

    • Royal Winnipeg Ballet
    • Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre
    • Royal Winter Fair

     


One Response and Counting...

  • Simon J. Lucy 12.19.2014

    This is a major honour indeed! I cannot think of another aircraft collection/museum in Canada or the UK that has been granted such a designation. It shows that small(er) can definitely be better. Monarchist or not, all Manitobans should take note that this is an amazing development. I am so glad to be a member.

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