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Canada&rsquo:*:s New Government Renames Winnipeg International Airport in Honour of James Armstrong Richardson

WINNIPEG - The Honourable Vic Toews, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on behalf of the Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, today announced the renaming of Winnipeg International Airport to Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. The new name proclaimed today is effective immediately.

"James Armstrong Richardson has been referred to as the father of commercial aviation in Canada," said Minister Toews. "It is an honour to be here on behalf of Canada’s New Government to pay tribute to a great Canadian."

James Armstrong Richardson founded Western Canada Airways Ltd. in 1926 and his carrier was the first national carrier to fly out of Stevenson airfield, which later would become Winnipeg International Airport. His influence in the growth of aviation in Canada expanded with the creation of Canadian Airways Limited in 1930.

"It is fitting that James Armstrong Richardson, an individual pivotal to our Canadian aviation heritage, be honoured in this way," said Minister Cannon. "It is especially significant that this announcement comes at a time when the airport has embarked on major redevelopment, including construction of a new air terminal building. Aviation is and will remain an important part of the city’s past, present and future."

"It is an honour to pay tribute to an aviation pioneer who founded Canada’s first national carrier 80 years ago today," said Barry Rempel, President and CEO of Winnipeg Airports Authority. "His aviation legacy began here at Canada’s first international airport and we’re proud to be part of that heritage."

"On behalf of the Richardson Family, the announcement of the naming of Winnipeg James Armstrong Richardson International Airport is indeed a wonderful honour it too is noteworthy that today’s announcement celebrates the 80th anniversary of the incorporation of Western Canada Airways Ltd. as signed by my Father and Mother," said George Richardson. "My father was a true trailblazer and visionary in the field of Canadian commercial aviation and this recognition is indeed a very special tribute," added Richardson.

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Natalie Sarafian
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Transport, 
Infrastructure and Communities, Ottawa

Andrea Rudniski
Transport Canada, Winnipeg


James Armstrong Richardson
Canadian aviation pioneer James Armstrong Richardson was born in Kingston, Ontario in 1885. He graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Arts in 1906 and joined James Richardson and Sons Limited, a grain exporting firm founded by his grandfather. He became Vice-President of the company in 1912 and President in 1919. He moved the company’s main office to Winnipeg in 1923.

Mr. Richardson founded Western Canada Airways Ltd. in 1926 and his aviation company helped open mining development in the North. His was the first national carrier and first to fly out of Manitoba’s Stevenson airfield, built in what was then the Rural Municipality of St. James. The airfield would later become Winnipeg International Airport.

In 1930, Mr. Richardson established a new carrier, Canadian Airways Limited, by amalgamating Western Canada Airways Ltd. with five eastern carriers to create one carrier to provide coast-to-coast air transportation and mail delivery. Canadian Airways Limited operated until 1942.

Mr. Richardson served on several boards of directors of Canadian companies, including the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Canadian International Bank of Commerce, International Nickel, the National Trust Company Limited, the Great West Life Assurance Company, and Canadian Vickers. He was also President of the Winnipeg Grain Exchange.

Mr. Richardson served as Chancellor of Queen’s University from 1929 and until his death in 1939.

"In the annals of this nation’s flying history, no businessman gave more of himself for less reward to the everlasting benefit of Canadian aviation." - Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame