Airport History

Officially opened on September 13, 1929 on the eastern edge of the City of St. Catharines (adjacent to the Welland Canal), the Niagara District Airport was relocated 3 miles northeast in 1935 to its present location. From the beginning, the St. Catharines Flying Club was intimately involved in the activities on the field and remains so to this day.

With the outbreak of World War II, the airport was deeded to the Federal Government and under the soon-to-be-formed British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, the Number 9 Elementary Flight Training School was established in the Fall of 1940.

Some 1,848 pilots graduated under this plan, which was terminated on January 15, 1944. The airport then became the home to the Number 4 Wireless Training Unit of the Royal Canadian Air Force, and operated in this capacity until August 15, 1945.

Number 9 EFTS produced many pilots who contributed immensely to the war effort, but perhaps none more so than John Gillespie Magee, the author of the immortal poem entitled High Flight.

Following the War, the city of St. Catharines regained possession of the airport land under a long-term lease of $1 per year.

In 1959, the Niagara District Airport Commission was formed, comprised of members from four financially supporting municipalities with a mandate to oversee the maintenance and operation of the airport.

In 2013, a new Municipal Agreement was formed and Niagara District Airport Commission is comprised of members from three financially supporting municipalities.