OPAS Centennial Celebrations This Summer

The Ontario Provincial Air Service (OPAS) will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in Sault Ste. Marie this summer. The main celebratory event will be hosted by the Canadian Bushplane Heritage Centre (CBHC), which will be creating special events and exhibits in recognition of the centennial. “Our museum is dedicated to telling the story of bush flying in Canada, but specifically that of the Ontario Provincial Air Service,” said CBHC executive director Jamie Hilsinger.

Founded on March 1, 1924, the air service supported resource management, environmental protection and emergency response among other things. OPAS is also credited with advancing bush plane design and development. It later morphed into the Aviation, Forest Fires & Emergency Services under the auspices of Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry.

“It’s the bush flying pioneers, and the thousands of pilots, air engineers and support staff who have contributed to 100 years of resource management, emergency response, and technical innovation who we are honouring this summer,” added Hilsinger.

Among the special events scheduled are a virtual hangar tour of OPAS’s original hangar (which is now the hangar CBHC occupies) and the unveiling of a replica of a Curtiss HS-2L flying boat, which was OPAS’s first aircraft. This summer will also see the publication of a book titled, “Aircraft of the Ontario Provincial Air Service” by John Stephens.

OPAS is considered the world’s oldest non-scheduled government air service.