Passengers aboard Air North, Yukon's airline, landed at Toronto Pearson International Airport Tuesday night (May 10), becoming the first to enjoy Canada's first-ever scheduled direct service between Whitehorse, Yellowknife and Toronto.
To mark the twice-weekly service and milestone occasion for Canadian aviation, passengers were met by a special event at Pearson, celebrating its cultural and economic significance.
The 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 per cent of Air North, Yukon's Airline.
As the Yukon's only community accessible exclusively by air, this route will be a necessary means for economic growth, and an important cultural and personal link.
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.
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 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," Pillai said. "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."
As part of last night's celebrations Premier Sandy Silver, Minister Ranj Pillai, and Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation Councilor Brenda Bingham, spoke to the airline's history and future, noting their mutual excitement for the opportunities that grow from this new development.