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Commemoration Plaque for Famous aviator C.H. “Punch” Dickins Unveiled at Snye Point Park

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A well-known name, and a local historical figure, C.H. (Clennell Haggerston) “Punch” Dickins has been honoured through a commemorative plaque unveiled at Snye Point Park on October 18, 2019. Dickins (1899–1995) was a distinguished pilot of the Royal Flying Corps during the First World War, as well as a pioneering bush pilot in Canada’s North during the 1920s and 1930s.The event was a collaboration between Parks Canada, the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo and the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

École Dickinsfield School’s students sang O Canada in English and French to kick-off the ceremony. Both the school, and the Dickinsfield neighbourhood are named after the aviator. Dickins joined the Western Canada Airways in 1927, and became a bush pilot, flying major distances across northern Canada.

“He was a pioneering bush pilot, who logged more than 1.6 million kilometers flying over the Arctic and the North,” noted Susan Eaton from Parks Canada.

Fort McMurray played a significant role in this era of northern aviation as many bush pilots, including Dickins used the Snye as the base of operations. A float plane similar to what he used flew over the event as well.

Mayor Don Scott appreciated the effort to highlight Dickins.

“What a great way to honour ‘Punch’ Dickins. He had an amazing life of adventure. And, his life has been celebrated in Fort McMurray in more ways than one. Our region should celebrate our float plane history. Thank you Parks Canada for this honour and for choosing us as a commemoration site.”

Dr. Joe Anderson, Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada Representative for Alberta emphasized the importance of celebrating our historical people, places and events.

“On behalf of the Government of Canada, I am pleased to commemorate the national historic significance of ‘Punch’ Dickins. He is an incredibly important part of our country’s history. Today’s historical designation is a wonderful example of maintaining our connection to our heritage,” enthused Dr. Anderson.

The commemoration process, as per the Government of Canada, is largely driven by public nominations. To date, more than 2,000 designations have been made.


Kiran Malik-Khan is the Communications Manager for the Fort McMurray Public School District, and national award-winning communications professional. She is a freelance journalist, a communications professional, and a poet. She loves sharing stories about unique people, events, and organizations. Kiran is the co-founder and volunteer public relations director for NorthWord magazine, Fort McMurray's first and only literary magazine. She is also the President/Co-founder of World Hijab Day Fort McMurray. A proud Pakistani-Canadian who grew up in New Jersey, she is a fierce advocate of Fort McMurray, multiculturalism, women's rights, and equality for all. Got a story nobody is telling? Send her ideas: DM and follow on Twitter @KiranMK0822.

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