First Aeroplane Flight
in Canada

23 February 1909


Baddeck
Victoria County
Nova Scotia

Monument located in front of the Victoria County Courthouse

GPS location:   46°06'01"N   60°45'04"W




Baddeck Courthouse: First Flight monument


23 February 1909
First Flight

On this day, members of the Aerial Experiment Association accomplished
the first manned airplane flight in Canada, by flying the Silver Dart over the
Bras d'Or Lake, near Baddeck, Nova Scotia. The A.E.A. was officially formed
in October 1907 on Mrs. Mabel Bell's suggestion, and she contributed money to
pay for most of the expenses. It was headed by Alexander Graham Bell himself
and had as its members, four young men eager to make their mark during the
heady days of early flight:
* F.W. (Casey) Baldwin, the first Canadian and first British subject
to pilot a public flight (in Hammondsport, New York);
* Glenn H. Curtiss, a motorcycle manufacturer who would later be awarded
the Scientific American Trophy for the first official one-kilometre flight in the
Western hemisphere and became world-renowned as an airplane manufacturer;
* J.A.D. McCurdy; and
* Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge, an official observer from the U.S. government.


Baddeck Courthouse: First Flight plaque

"First Aeroplane Flight in the British Empire"
Plaque erected by the Canadian Flying Clubs Association, 1934



It is now known that the flight at Baddeck on 23 February 1909,
commemorated by this plaque, was the first flight in Canada,
but was not the first flight in the British Empire.

Eighteen weeks earlier, on 16 October 1908, Samuel Franklin Cody
made a flight of 1390 feet 424 metres over Laffin's Plain, Farnborough,
England, which is recognized by the Royal Aero Club as the first
powered flight in England and in the British Empire.



Victoria County Courthouse in Baddeck: First Flight monument


The above photographs were taken on 24 June 2003.



Also see: Three plaques at the Bell Museum
A.G. Bell,  F.W. Baldwin,  J.A.D. McCurdy


A.G. Bell National Historic Park





Fiftieth anniversary, 1959, of the first flight in Canada
Fiftieth anniversary, 1959, of the first flight in Canada





Links to Relevant Websites

The flight of the Silver Dart
    http://www.exn.ca/FlightDeck/Aviators/mccurdy.cfm


J.A.D. McCurdy Several interesting photographs...
    http://www.earlyaviators.com/emccurdy.htm


The Silver Dart makes Canadian aviation history: a look back
Audio clip from the CBC archives
An interview with J.A.D. McCurdy, broadcast on 23 February 1949,
the 40th anniversary of the first flight of the Silver Dart at Baddeck
    http://archives.cbc.ca/IDC-1-75-419-2424-20/that_was_then/science_technology/silver_dart


John A.D. McCurdy by J.M.S. Careless
    http://collections.ic.gc.ca/heirloom_series/volume6/126-127.htm


Canadian Aviation Historical Society, Silver Dart Chapter
    http://museum.gov.ns.ca/other_ns/cahs/


First Airplane flight in Canada by U.S. Centennial of Flight Commission
    http://www.centennialofflight.gov/essay/Wright_Bros/Patent_Battles/WR12G9.htm


John Alexander Douglas McCurdy
    http://collection.nlc-bnc.ca/100/200/301/ic/can_digital_collections/aviation/m039.htm


Treasures of the APS: A.G. Bell on Powered Flight
Alexander Graham Bell's address to the American Philosophical Society
on 7 May 1909, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania...
    http://www.amphilsoc.org/library/exhibits/treasures/flight.htm


Trial by Flyer
...Alexander Graham Bell invited Curtiss to visit him in Washington in January 1907 and
ordered a four-cylinder engine for his kite experiments. Meanwhile, Bell had received
a call from Selfridge, a young West Point graduate who had been studying flight and
believed the military would soon take it seriously. Bell invited Selfridge to Nova Scotia
to see his kites and to meet Mabel. The Bells took a liking to the earnest and personable
young officer, and welcomed him like a member of the family. Bell asked his friend
President Theodore Roosevelt to allow Selfridge to join him as an official aviation observer...
    http://www.memagazine.org/flight03/trialby/trialby.html


Glenn Curtiss photographs, 1909 many taken at Baddeck
    http://glennhcurtiss.com/id35.htm


Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame

Canada's Aviation Hall of Fame
The fragile aircraft Silver Dart shook loose the frozen bonds of Nova Scotia's
Bras d'Or Lake in nineteen hundred nine to usher in this fledgling nation's age of flight...
    http://www.cahf.ca/main.htm


Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922
    http://www.cahf.ca/members/B_members.htm#Alexander%20Graham%20Bell


Frederick Walker Baldwin (1882-1948)
    http://www.cahf.ca/members/B_members.htm#Frederick%20Walker%20Baldwin


John Alexander Douglas McCurdy (1886-1961)
    http://www.cahf.ca/members/M_members.htm#John%20Alexander%20Douglas%20McCurdy


Gerald Lester MacInnis (1914-1991)
    http://www.cahf.ca/members/M_members.htm#Gerald%20Lester%20MacInnis


Stuart Graham (1896-1976)
    http://www.cahf.ca/members/G_members.htm#Stuart%20Graham


Lindsay Rood (1911- )
    http://www.cahf.ca/members/R_members.htm#James%20Lindsay%20Rood






Photographs of War Memorials, Historic Monuments and Plaques in Nova Scotia
    /remem/plaques.html



Bell National Historic Park A.G. Bell National Historic Park Baddeck
    /victco/bellhistpark.html


Bell, Baldwin, McCurdy Three plaques: Bell, Baldwin, McCurdy Baddeck
    /victco/bellmusbbm.html


Port Dauphin Naval Base monument, 1713-1719 Port Dauphin Naval Base monument, 1713-1719 Englishtown
    /victco/portdauphin.html


Englishtown war memorial Englishtown war memorial Englishtown
    /victco/englishtownm.html


North River war memorial North River war memorial North River
    /victco/northriver.html


Indian Brook war memorial Indian Brook war memorial Indian Brook
    /victco/indianbrook.html


Ingonish war memorial Ingonish war memorial Ingonish
    /victco/noringonishm.html


Neils Harbour war memorial Neils Harbour war memorial Neils Harbour
    /victco/neilshbrm.html


South Harbour war memorial South Harbour war memorial South Harbour
    /victco/southhbrm.html


John Cabot 1497 memorial John Cabot 1497 memorial Aspy Bay
    /victco/aspycabot.html


Transtlantic Telegraph historic site 1856 Transtlantic Telegraph historic site 1856 Aspy Bay
    /victco/cabotcablem.html


St. Margarets Village war memorial St. Margarets Village war memorial St. Margarets Village
    /victco/stmargvillm.html


Middle River war memorial Middle River war memorial Middle River
    /victco/middlerivr.html


Whycocomagh war memorial Whycocomagh war memorial Whycocomagh
    /inverco/whycocom.html


Belle Cote war memorial Belle Cote war memorial Belle Cote
    /inverco/bellecote.html


Cheticamp war memorial Cheticamp war memorial Cheticamp
    /inverco/chetcmpwar.html


French Mountain war memorial French Mountain war memorial French Mountain
    /inverco/frenchmtn.html


Inverness coal miners memorial Inverness coal miners monument Inverness
    /inverco/invminemem.html


D'Escousse war memorial D'Escousse war memorial D'Escousse
    /richmco/descoussewarm.html


Sampsonville centennial plaque Samsonville centennial plaque Sampsonville
    /richmco/sampsonville.html


Atlantic Convoys from Sydney in WW2 Sydney Boardwalk
    /cbrm/atlanticconvoys.html


Sydney Harbour in WW2 Sydney Harbour in the Second World War Sydney Boardwalk
    /cbrm/sydboard-harbww2.html


New Victoria war memorial New Victoria war memorial New Victoria
    /cbrm/newvict.html


Sydney Forks war memorial Sydney Forks war memorial Sydney Forks
    /cbrm/sydneyforks.html


Dominion war memorial Dominion war memorial Dominion
    /cbrm/dominion.html


John Bernard Croak V.C. memorial school Glace Bay
    /cbrm/croakjb.html


J.B. McLachlan memorial J.B. McLachlan monument Glace Bay
    /cbrm/mclachlanmem.html



Go To:   Index to other online Nova Scotia History
    http://alts.net/ns1625/histindx.html

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    http://alts.net/ns1625/telephone.html

Go To:   History of Electric Companies in Nova Scotia
    http://alts.net/ns1625/electric.html

Go To:   History of Railway Companies in Nova Scotia
    http://alts.net/ns1625/railways.html

Go To:   History of Automobiles in Nova Scotia
    http://alts.net/ns1625/automobiles.html

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First uploaded to the Internet:   2004 January 18