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Air Mail in the Yukon and northern British Columbia:

First Flight Covers

    During the 1920s and '30s there was huge interest in both aviation and stamp collecting in Canada. From 1928 to 1939, as the Post Office introduced new air mail routes, notices were sent out to people on their list of collectors. Those notices included instructions on how to prepare envelopes "("covers") to be carried on the first flight on each route. The post office would add the special cachets for that flight, and then postmarks from both the departure and arrival post offices. Once the flight was completed, the envelope would then be delivered to the addressee.

    The value of First Flight Covers today depends on many factors, including the number of covers carried on a given flight. On some the number would be in the thousands, and those covers can be picked up today for under $5. On more obscure routes, there were sometimes only a few dozen covers carried, and they can bring substantial prices today.

Canada Air Mail Routes, 1940

Click on each image to enlarge and see both sides of each cover.

First official air mail flight, Atlin to Telegraph Creek

Atlin - Telegraph Creek: November 18, 1934

First official air mail flight, Telegraph Creek to Atlin

Telegraph Creek - Atlin: November 19, 1934

First official air mail flight, Edmonton to Whitehorse

Edmonton - Whitehorse: July 5, 1937

This flight was conducted by United Air Transport. The company had been awarded the mail contract under questionable circumstances, as no tenders had been called. The airline, owned by George W. ("Grant") McConachie, used a Ford Tri-Motor on floats to service the contract. The aircraft, s# 1077, had been registered as G-CARC, but was now CF-BEP.

First official air mail flight, Whitehorse to Edmonton

First official air mail flight, Whitehorse to Edmonton

Whitehorse - Edmonton: July 8, 1937

The following year, United Air Transport became Yukon Southern Air Transport (January 16, 1938). The story (including details of these flights) is well told in Ronald Keith's Bush Pilot With a Briefcase.

First official air mail flight, Whitehorse to Fairbanks

Whitehorse - Fairbanks: May 3, 1938

First official air mail flight, Whitehorse to Juneau

Whitehorse - Juneau: May 8, 1938

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