Kenneth Blatchford’s granddaughter was delighted to be part of the airfield’s 90th anniversary celebrations last Saturday at the Alberta Aviation Museum.
“I am really thrilled to be here,” Patricia Barford told the audience. “It seems like for a long time nobody knew there were any Blatchfords left. I am just happy that has changed.”
About 250 people turned out to mark 90 years since Blatchford Field received its licence in 1927, becoming the first municipally-owned “air harbour” in Canada. The airport was named in Blatchford’s honour because he was an early proponent of aviation development in Edmonton.
Denny May, son of famed bush pilot Wop May, presented Barford with a photo of her mother Grace Blatchford, and her grandfather, Kenneth Blatchford. It was taken just after the 12 year-old-girl had been given her first ride in an airplane by May’s father.
“There they are with their leather helmets and goggles and all the rest of it,” chuckled Barford. “It’s quite wonderful and I am really thrilled to finally have a copy of my own.”
Coincidentally, one of the early trainers based at Blatchford Field, Cirrus Moth G-CYYG, is now on long-term loan at the museum from the Reynolds Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin.
“Its been a wonderful journey,” May said. “I am just delighted to see the museum carrying on with the aircraft, with the exhibits here, with all they are doing with keeping the memory going of what those early days were like.”
The ceremony also featured a reenactment of the events leading up to the opening of Blatchford Field, performed, in period costume, performed by museum summer students with the help of an interpreter from Fort Edmonton Park.
There was also a presentation from the city, detailing their plans for the new Blatchford Development that is being built on the old airport lands. Mark Hall, Executive Director of Blatchford Development says the the areas aviation heritage will be recognized throughout the development.
Thanks to all our staff, students, and other volunteers who helped make this celebration a great success.