In March 1919, as part of the Canadian Exposition, William “Bill” Boeing and pilot Eddie Hubbard flew 60 letters from Vancouver, British Columbia, to Seattle in Boeing’s C-700 — the first international airmail to reach the United States.
Boeing began business operations in Canada in 1929, forming Boeing Aircraft of Canada. Here Boeing produced the first transport airplanes built in western Canada.
During the second world war, Boeing expanded production in Canada and built a manufacturing factory on Sea Island, near the Fraser River, in 1939.
The Sea Island plant built PBY Catalina Aircraft for off-shore air patrols, and the middle section of the B-29. Boeing Canada built 362 PBY flying boats and amphibians designed by Consolidated Aircraft of San Diego. They also built 16 British-designed Blackburn Shark torpedo aircraft purchased by the Royal Canadian Air Force.
In 1969, Boeing announced that a new CA$ 4.4 million Boeing Aircraft Structural fiberglass plant would be built in Manitoba. The new plant was built near the Winnipeg International Airport on a 136 acre plot of land.
The Murray Park plant opened in Winnipeg in 1971. Employing only 57 skilled workers, the site’s packages included wing-to-body fairings for the 727, 737, and 747 aircraft as well as WASCAN bathware. By 1976, 400 people were employed by Boeing Winnipeg.
During the 1980s, the Boeing Winnipeg site expanded its facility and added engine strut fairings and military target programs to its workload.
Another expansion brought the Boeing Winnipeg site to 520,000 square feet in the 1990s.
Boeing’s presence in Canada continues to thrive and expand. It was recently named a tier one partner to the new 787 Dreamliner program and is responsible for the wing-to-body fairing, main landing gear doors, and the vertical fin fairing for the program lifecycle.