The beginning of airmail delivery

By Dalton Campbell

On December 25, 1927, a Fairchild aircraft flew along the north shore of the St. Lawrence from La Malbaie to Sept-Îles, Quebec. As the plane approached each town, the pilot lowered the altitude of the aircraft and threw out a packet of mail attached to a parachute. The postmaster retrieved the parachute and mail as the pilot flew to the next town.

This was the first official Post Office air mail delivery for the communities along the north shore of Quebec. In the winter, these communities—like many others throughout Canada—had been isolated with irregular mail delivery arriving after slow transport by boat or dogsled.

A black-and-white photograph of a group of men standing in front of a single-engine aircraft. The men are arranged in a semi-circle around many sacks of mail piled on the ground.

Reknowned pilot Roméo Vachon at the doors of the Fairchild FC-2W aircraft of Canadian Transcontinental Airways Ltd. inaugurating airmail service between Montreal and Rimouski, Quebec, May 5, 1928. The mail was transferred from transatlantic ships at Rimouski and flown to Montreal and then to Toronto, saving 24 hours in delivery. (MIKAN 3390347)

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