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The Streets of Sarnia: Airport Road

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The following is an excerpt from The Streets of Sarnia Project, a volunteer project by local researchers Tom St. Amand and Randy Evans, providing explanations for all but a handful of Sarnia’s 700 street names. 

It follows that this, Airport Road, is the conveyance leading to the Sarnia Chris Hadfield Airport.

In 1997, the terminal was named after the Canadian astronaut, who was born in Sarnia and has close personal ties to this community.

The first flight into Sarnia occurred on September 10, 1911 when W.T. Constable landed his craft at that year’s fall fair. As air travel increased in popularity across Canada, so too did the demands to establish a local airport.

The matter, however, became a political football. From the late 1920s to the mid-1950s, the Federal Air Transport Authority showed little inclination to respect the protestations coming out of Sarnia as expressed by its political representatives in Parliament. This changed, however, in 1956 when the agency granted a license authorizing the construction of a local airport. The current Telfer Road site was chosen in July 1956.

By the fall of 1956, construction began. Three years later, commercial aviation began with Sarnia Airlines taking to the air. The first flight was to Windsor on July 26, 1959.

Political haggling continued, however. The initial operator of the airport was the Sarnia Airport Ltd., a corporate entity made up of the federal government, the local civic government and Sarnia industry interests.

Very quickly, the federals wanted out, so much so that in June 1962, Ottawa threatened closure unless the City of Sarnia assumed operational control of the airport. The city relented and took over the responsibilities a few months later.

Over the years, air carriers coming into Sarnia have come and gone. The names of Sarnia Airlines, Nord Air, Millard Air and Great Lakes Airlines are but a few of the erstwhile enterprises which brought passenger air travel into Sarnia. Current service is provided by Air Canada.


– Randy Evans and Tom St. Amand


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