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Monday, 22 September 2008

Weekend Update - I Love Manitoba (5) The Airport

I was closer to home this weekend so I thought I would hit the new and old airports and pretend I was leaving town !

James A. Richardson International Airport
James A. Richardson International Airport
James A. Richardson International Airport

The J.A.R. is coming along nicely. You can get a real sense of what it's going to look like.

This led me back to the old WAA. The tired, old lady staring wearily across the tarmac at the upstart that will cause her demise ! Before I get to her, though, here is a bit of Winnipeg's airport history....


Stevenson Field c 1928
(rareaviationphotos.com)


Winnipeg's first "official" airport came about in 1928 when the Winnipeg Flying Club opened Stephenson Aerodrome in the R.M. of St. James.

Stevenson Aerodrome (click for source information)

When Trans Canada Airlines was created in the 1930s, the airport was simply a
section of the Trans Canada Airline hangar in St. James.

Stevenson Aerodrome (click for source information)

In December 1952 a special-built passenger addition was made to the hangar, with a decidedly bus depot look. In 1958 the name was changed from Stevenson Aerodrome to Winnipeg International Airport at the request of the Federal Government.

Winnipeg Int'l Airport ca. late 50s (click for source information)

As the popularity of air travel grew, a new custom built airport was needed. Construction on the current WAA started in 1960, designed by Green Blankstein Russell and Associates, and was completed in 1964.




Opening Ceremonies, January 1964

Winnipeg International Airport 1969


As with many buildings, especially airports, the terminal underwent a number of changes and modernizations over the years removing some of the clean, sleek lines with add-ons to the interior and exterior. The most extensive of the alterations was in 1984.


In my mind, it is still a really interesting building and I shall miss it.


Here are some of the pics I took today.

The Terminal Building:


Airport Interior
Airport Interior
Exterior, Teminal Building
Exterior, Teminal Building

The Administration / Tower building sometimes gets overlooked when thinking of the airport. It is a great building. Tyndall stone and chocolate brick. Clean and tidy looking.

Administration / Tower Building
Administration / Tower Building
Administration / Tower Building
Administration / Tower Building

Finally, what shall happen to the art ?! Presumably it will not be going to the new airport. Looking through some old photos the airport has had a fair bit of funky art in it's time. I don't remember these two, for instance:

Solar Cone by Gerald Gladstone

These, of course, are still with us !

Airport Art
Airport Art
Mosaic tile mural by John Graham

Airport Art
Airport Art
Structuralist relief mural by Eli Bornstein

5 comments:

cancelbot said...

Those are some great photos of one the most elegant buildings ever built in this city. While I welcome the new terminal, I will definitely miss the old one, and I'm still holding out hope that some use will be found for it.

mrchristian said...

I do too !

pilot said...

Do you know where the old (1950's) terminal was located? The building looks like it might be the Western Canadian Aviation Musuem.

And that interior shot of the terminal looks just like the 'terminal' on the Canadian Forces side of the airport (Hangar 16 I think). Guessing they are of the same vintage!

Thanks for your pics and for digging through the archives.

mrchristian said...

Yes, the Aviation Museum is the original TCA hangar / terminal from the 50's

cmperry said...

I'd forgotten all about that "Solar Cone" sculpture court at the air terminal - found it rather weird and mysterious at the time. Reminds me of the original sculpture they first had at the Polo Park mall. Thanks for the photo. I remember going to the old terminal as a kid, and seeing the architect's model of the new terminal to come - and that same model is now back in the original TCA building as part of the WCAM displays. When the new terminal was built, it was fun to go up to the open-air observation deck to look out over the airfield, then go for dinner in the restaurant. They had a coin-op turnstile on the stairs for a while.