Canada’s first-ever scheduled direct service between Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Toronto has taken off aboard Yukon’s airline Air North.
To mark the milestone, passengers aboard flight 4N823 were met with a special event at Toronto Pearson International Airport, celebrating its cultural and economic significance.
The twice-weekly seasonal route is expected to not only expand tourism and business travel to the territories, but holds particular significance to the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, from Old Crow, Yukon, who own 49% of Air North.
“As Canadians seek to better understand each other, the flight unlocks unprecedented opportunities for more people than ever before to explore both Territories and immerse themselves in the cultures of Indigenous peoples who call the Yukon and Northwest Territories home,” Air North said in a press release.
To celebrate the inaugural flight, Premier of the Yukon, Sandy Silver, and the Yukon’s Minister of Economic Development, Tourism and Culture Ranj Pillai, attended the Toronto Pearson Airport event along with Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Councilor Bonnee Bingham. Attendees were treated to a special performance from the Teechik Dancers, a Vuntut Gwitchin group from Old Crow, Yukon.
“By providing direct flights between Whitehorse and Toronto, we are in turn connecting Yukon businesses to the country’s biggest economic hub and creating a pathway for people around the world to visit our territory,” Ranj Pillai Minister of Tourism and Culture and Economic Development.
“We are thrilled Air North, Yukon’s Airline, is able to offer this new service and I look forward to welcoming more visitors to the Yukon and sharing the economic benefits that come with this additional air access.”
“Air North, Yukon’s Airline owes our success to key Indigenous and community partnerships, which have allowed us to navigate the many challenges we have encountered during the past 20 years,” said Joe Sparling, President and CEO.