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Edmonton Max Ward International may one day be a thing


A petition to rename Edmonton’s airport in honour of late aviation pioneer Max Ward has passed the threshold required for presentation in the House of Commons.

Supporters want the Wardair founder, who had close ties to the Northwest Territories, to be recognized by changing the airport’s name to Edmonton Max Ward International.

As of Monday morning, the e-petition on the federal government’s website had received just under 1,000 validated signatures.

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Petitions require authorization from an MP and at least 500 validated signatures to be presented to the House of Commons. In this case, Edmonton–Wetaskiwin’s Conservative MP Mike Lake has authorized the petition.

Once presented, the federal government has 45 days to issue a response.

Ward passed away in November at the age of 98. In his lifetime he received the Order of Canada and was inducted into Canada’s aviation and business halls of fame.

After serving as a flight instructor for the Royal Canadian Air Force, Ward flew as a bush pilot in the Northwest Territories in 1945. A year later, he founded the Polaris Charter Company in Yellowknife, which went on to become Wardair in 1953.

Wardair flew people and cargo across Canada and the world until it was sold to Canadian Airlines in 1989.

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The petition celebrates Ward’s “persistence, mechanical mind, affability, respect for others, and his dedication to service,” adding that he was most importantly “a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather, and a revered leader to his legion of loyal employees.”

Petition creator Bill Powell last week told Western Aviation News: “I thought, what a life well lived … wouldn’t it be great naming the airport after him?

“My dream is to be standing in the concourse of Edmonton Max Ward International Airport and for us to have an opportunity to raise a glass and there to be a ribbon-cutting. And either it’s a beautiful nameplate or there’s a beautiful image or artwork, whatever it is, to be able to recognize this great man.”

The petition is accepting signatures until March 4. According to the federal government’s e-petitions website, 13 of the signatories to date have come from the Northwest Territories.

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