Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Posted: 03/24/2013 1:00 AM | Comments: 0
For as long as I can remember, I've loved the atmosphere of the airport. The speed of travellers making their way to the gate, airplanes coming and going, the fact that the airport is always open -- these things made the airport seem like a very busy and important place. As a child (who had not yet experienced a flight delay or a missing bag), the airport looked like the epitome of efficiency and organization. I was fascinated by the coordination of so many flights, passengers, and luggage. The airport seemed like a community in itself. I was sure that one could actually live in the airport and never get bored -- eating in the airport's restaurants, browsing in its shops, and watching people and airplanes come and go.
Even those of us who don't fly will visit the airport to say goodbye to a loved one or to pick them up when they return home. For some, like me, the airport can be a destination in and of itself. I have fond memories of the observation lounge in the old airport terminal -- where, for only the price of parking, I could watch airplanes come and go for hours. As a university student, I went there for a quiet place to study. I even visited the observation lounge on a date with my then-boyfriend (now husband), where we sat and watched airplanes land and take off one night.
I was sad to lose the observation lounge with the opening of the new James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. But the new terminal is something Winnipeggers can be proud of. The building itself, with its wall-to-wall windows, is like one big observation deck. The amenities are fantastic and have a distinctly Winnipeg flavour (Stella's! Toad Hall Toys!), and the experience of actually travelling through the terminal is vastly improved.
But while watching airplanes is a great pastime, making frequent visits to the airport to do that might be impractical. Fortunately, there are many wonderful vantage points in our city from which to watch airplanes come and go. St. James, where I grew up and still live, is full of places to view airplanes up close.
As a teenager, my friends and I would ride our bikes up to the big fence along the airfield, just off Ness Avenue, and lie in the grass just south of the runway, watching planes land and take off. Now I take my sons for walks along the Yellow Ribbon Greenway, a multi-use trail that follows the airfield along Silver Avenue. From the trail, we can watch aircraft of all sizes and kinds taxi around the airport, take off, and land. On a bright, cold day after one of our many snowstorms this winter, I strapped on my snowshoes and headed for the Greenway. When I reached the part of the trail that lies directly below the flight path, I lay down in the deep snow and watched airplanes coming in to land overhead. The quiet, crisp air shimmered as each airplane approached with a roar, and I marvelled -- as I always have -- at the grace with which even the largest aircraft soar through the air and touch down on the ground as though they weigh nothing at all.
As an adult, I've been fortunate enough to travel, meaning I've spent time watching airplanes come and go from airports all over the world. Airports everywhere have the same sense of urgency and excitement. But there's only one airport where my family will be waiting for me by the luggage carousel, where I can get a slice of Gondola Pizza on my way to the gate, and where I can watch airplanes from a beautifully landscaped trail minutes from my home. That's what makes James Armstrong Richardson International so special.
Kathleen Cook is a lifelong St. James resident and former Air Cadet who doesn't mind occasionally being woken up by the sound of large cargo planes at 4 a.m.
Do you have a
favourite place in Winnipeg?
We'd like to hear about it. There are no prizes to be won, but if you're published, you get to bask in the admiration of your friends and feel the glow that comes from doing something nice for your city.
Email your story to firstname.lastname@example.org
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 24, 2013 A8
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
City can't afford rival's promises: Wasylycia-Leis
Bowman says voting for him is only way to stop Judy W-L
Ouellette says disaffected aboriginal and young people have helped increase his support
Body found in river identified as man missing since August
Drop by News Café on election night
U-Haul staff find deceased infants inside "delinquent storage locker"
Alcohol may be a factor in crash on Trans-Canada Highway near Oak Lake
One of two officers acquitted of attempted murder staying with WPS
KE kids returning to school Wednesday
St. Boniface selected as finalist in Great Places in Canada contest
Door-to-door mail ends quietly
Warm again today, chance of showers Wednesday
Father-killer seeks freedom
Investigated cop suing police, fellow officer
Poll could be bad for Bowman
Reader shares positive story about city police officers
Mayoral Race Roundup
Unfazed by poll dip: Judy W-L
Vision: n. ability to plan or form policy in a far-sighted way
Body parts scattered around city
Rights case on reserves' child care nearing end
Murray's exit not payback: Glover
HSC shows off special isolation rooms
Brandon priest under investigation for alleged fraudulent purchases