National Treasure #86: Max Ward

Maxwell William Ward married a woman who was in university with my mother.

Now that we have that out of the way, Max Ward was also a bush pilot in Canada’s North and went on to found Wardair. At one time, Wardair was the third-largest air carrier in Canada. All this, from rather humble beginnings.

Small building used as office by Wardair.

First office of Wardair in Yellowknife’s Old Town.

Eventually, the debt load got the company and it was sold to PWA, which became part of CP Air and then Canadian Airlines which then Air Canada.

Anyway, Max is an Officer of the Order of Canada, an inductee of Canada’s Aviation and Business Halls of Fame, and the recipient of other awards in Alberta and the Northwest Territories.

All this on a grade 11 education. Of course, it was from the same high school that my sons graduated from.


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4 Responses to National Treasure #86: Max Ward

  1. Jim Taylor says:

    I still lament the demise of Wardair. While it lived, it was our choice of airline, anywhere it flew to. The planes were clean, the service (yes, even the food) was excellent, the beasts were comfortable…. Maybe there’s a parable here somewhere about the difference between an industry based on the founder/owner’s personal principles, and a megalopoly (Air Canada) run by accountants.
    Jim T

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Jim T – And a reminder that we might not get what we pay for, but we sure don’t get more. And if collectively we’re not willing to pay for better service, it will stop being available.

  2. Marion says:

    I flew with Wardair between Ottawa and Hamilton to visit my parents in the late 70s and early 80s. Other than the time they lost my suitcase containing an heirloom necklace and brand new dress (one of my first lessons on packing), my strongest memory of those flights was the complimentary glass of wine and a nice little (china) plate of five hors d’oeuvres, including a shrimp one, that they served on evening flights. Wardair made me feel special and it has been a long time since an airline did that.
    Wardair gave me a frequent flyer card, which later transformed into a CP card, and finally one for Air Canada Aeroplan, which I have just recently given up on collecting points for. They just don’t make me feel special any more.

    • Isabel Gibson says:

      Marion – Special! Hah! That’ll be/was the day. I remember my grandmother dressing up to fly . . .

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