A glimpse at how YVR Airport has changed over 91 years (PHOTOS)

Jul 26 2022, 10:33 pm

Vancouver International Airport just celebrated its 91st birthday!

To mark the milestone, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane from its humble beginnings to later becoming the country’s second busiest airport.

In 1931, the airport opened its doors with a single runway, a floatplane harbour, a control tower, and a small wood-frame administration building that welcomed just over 1,000 passengers.

On its opening day, a grand event drew out thousands. This day marked the historic milestone where BC was now connected to the rest of the world.

YVR tower in 1931/YVR

YVR opening day/YVR/Twitter

About a decade later, the City of Vancouver leased the airport to the federal government and facilities included a Royal Canadian Airforce base and barracks, gun emplacements, and a major aircraft manufacturing plant for Boeing.

The airport expands during World War II. Twitter/YVR

As more planes fly out of YVR, the airport expands to serve international and domestic travellers.

In 1964, the Department of Transport purchases the airport from the City of Vancouver and builds North Terminal. This includes more runways, new taxiways, a 2,225-metre crosswind, and a runway./YVR

Scanned photos of YVR’s 1960 runway and taxiways expansion/YVR

1968 check-in counter/YVR

Amidst the thousands making their way in and out of the province, eventually high-profile visitors flew in from across the globe.

In 1971, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, and their daughter Princess Anne arrive in Vancouver to mark the centenary of BC’s entry into confederation.

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and their daughter Princess Anne arrive. Courtesy YVR

In November 1996, Canada’s first Category III instrument landing system was installed on the 3,030-metre-long North Parallel Runway and poet Chester Johnson and Canadian athletes Donovan Bailey, and Rick Hansen were special guests at the opening.

Canada’s first Category III instrument landing system is installed on the 3,030-metre-long North Parallel Runway in November 1996. Chester Johnson, Donovan Bailey, and Rick Hansen were special guests at the opening. /Courtesy YVR

But YVR’s biggest undertaking came in 2010.

About 13 million athletes, VIPs, passengers, and visitors travelled through the airport for the 2010 Winter Games. The airport saw its busiest day on March 1, 2010, when 37,000 passengers departed and 9,000 pieces of oversized athletic equipment were handled.

YVR during the 2010 Winter Games. Courtesy YVR

The latest released statistics on YVR volumes show a total of 1.611 million passengers went through the airport throughout the month of May 2022.

This is a staggering recovery compared to the highly depressed pandemic volumes of 2020 and 2021.

And just in time for this major travel season, the Pier D international terminal building $300-million expansion officially fully opened, providing significantly more capacity to accommodate the surging passenger loads.

The Pier D expansion adds 300,000 sq ft of floor area, including eight additional gates — four double bridge gates to accommodate larger planes, and four bus gates — as well as ample new retail and dining services, amenities, and other creature comforts that can be expected for a world-class airport.

It is YVR’s single largest terminal building expansion since the modernization of the airport in 1996.

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

The enclosed outdoor space in the atrium of the Pier D expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Kenneth Chan/Daily Hive)

vancouver international airport yvr pier d expansion

Pier D international terminal building expansion of Vancouver International Airport. (Vancouver Airport Authority)

vancouver international airport yvr june 2021

Vancouver International Airport, June 2021. (Vancouver Airport Authority)

Happy Birthday, YVR. Here is to another 91!

With files from Kenneth Chan

GET THE LATEST REAL ESTATE, ARCHITECTURE, URBAN ISSUES, AND TRANSPORTATION NEWS DIRECTLY TO YOUR INBOX. SUBSCRIBE TO URBANIZED:
Buzz Connected Media Inc. #400 – 1008 Homer Street, Vancouver, B.C. V6B 2X1 [email protected] View Rules
Nikitha MartinsNikitha Martins

+ Transportation
+ Urbanized
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT