Beautifully engraved Specimen Certificate from Air Canada printed in 1988. This historic document was printed by the Canadian Banknote Company and has vignettes of airplanes, a crew and a jet engine. This item has the printed signatures of the company's officers is
over 12 years old. This Certificate was printed at the time of their Initial Public Offering in 1988.
The date September 1, 1937 has a special place in Trans-Canada Air Lines and Air Canada's history. On this day, the airline's first-ever commercial flight took place when a tiny Lockheed 10A Electra aircraft lifted off the runway in Vancouver on its way to Seattle.
At the controls were pilots Billy Wells and Maurice McGregor. TCA's inaugural flight covered the 122 miles to Seattle in 50 minutes, and opened up the history books for the airline that was to become Air Canada -- the country's largest airline. Today, Air Canada has positioned itself as a leader in global air transportation by pursuing a strategy based on value-added customer service, technical excellence and operational reliability.
That first flight out of Vancouver was only the beginning. By the end of the year, TCA had extended its training program to include flights across the Prairies. More pilots were hired including Lindy Rood, George Lothian, Jack Jones, Frank Smythe, Ches Rickard and Jim Storie all now living in retirement in Vancouver.
The first stewardesses were hired in July, 1938. Lucille Garner and Pat Eccleston met the requirements of the time -- they were both unmarried registered nurses and under five feet five inches. Stewardesses who followed in their footsteps such as Joan Racy, Mary-Gordon Moir, Audrey Brandon, Eva Mossop and Rose Ann Mollard also now live in Vancouver and are members of the Canadian Maple Wings, an association of active and retired TCA and Air Canada flight attendants.
Flights across Canada started in April 1939 when passenger service began from Vancouver to Montreal and points in-between. It was a flight billed as a "fast, daily, time-saving service with twin-motored, ten passenger Lockheed 14s, the world's fastest commercial plane with normal flying speeds of up to 180 mph."
With the introduction of transcontinental service the flying time between Montreal and the West Coast was cut to a then impressive fifteen hours, weather permitting. The route was flown with stops at Ottawa, North Bay, Kapuskasing, Winnipeg, Regina and Lethbridge before tackling the challenging last leg across the Rockies and into Vancouver.
During the war years, the basic transcontinental structure was kept intact to await the return of peace while the airline trained RCAF pilots and flew a transatlantic air service for the Canadian Government, using a specially converted Lancaster. The airline's first Canada to Britain non-stop flight in July 1943 carried 2,600 lbs. of forces mail and three official passengers.
Evaluating weather conditions and drawing up plans for each flight was the responsibility of the flight dispatchers. Al Took and Denny Brendon were working as radio operators, then flight dispatchers in far-flung TCA destinations such as Lethbridge and Moncton throughout the 1940s, doing it all from "going remote" on the roof as a plane approached the airport, to taking care of checking in the passengers and carrying their luggage. They would eventually transfer to British Columbia after the airline centralized its Flight Dispatch operations for the Western Region in Vancouver, and both still live in Vancouver.
After the war, TCA expanded rapidly. The airline's first fully pressurized aircraft - the Canadair North Star - was delivered in 1947. "Sun destinations" were gradually introduced with flights out of Eastern Canada to the Caribbean and to Florida. In 1951, transatlantic service was extended to include Paris, with Dusseldorf added the following year. Direct flights between Vancouver and London were launched in May 1958, and on April 1, 1960, Vancouverites saw the introduction of jet service with the first DC-8 flight between Vancouver and Montreal.
In the mid-sixties, the name Trans-Canada Air Lines was changed to Air Canada, to reflect its growing international network. The airline added more flights to Europe and even became the first North American carrier to fly into the Soviet Union in 1966. Air Canada's Caribbean network expanded, but United States destinations were limited to a handful until the launch in 1995 of a more liberalized Canada-U.S. air agreement called Open Skies.
The 1990s have seen phenomenal growth for the airline, particularly to its Vancouver operations. Air Canada's long-awaited entry into Asia, with the launch of flights between Vancouver and New Delhi, Seoul, Osaka and Hong Kong plugged the carrier into the thriving and fastest growing aviation market in the world.
With the arrival of Open Skies, Air Canada was allowed for the first time to add transborder connections to its growing Vancouver hub operation, with flights to Los Angeles and San Francisco, as well as a variety of code-share flights to U.S. destinations in conjunction with partner United Airlines.
In addition to the long-standing Vancouver-London service, new non-stop European flights have been added, offering Paris, Frankfurt, Zurich and points beyond, making Air Canada the airline offering the most European service out of Vancouver.
Air Canada's expansion in Vancouver has led to increased investment in employees and facilities with all the spin-offs such investments generate. 1994-1997 has seen a growth spurt that has resulted in boosted employment levels in Vancouver. Summer 1997 employment levels rose to over 2,600, with the biggest increase taking place at the Vancouver In-Flight Service Base which has doubled to almost 900 Flight Attendants since 1994.
Vancouver has become an important hub for increased international flying, with as many as six of the airline's widebody fleet of eight A340 aircraft passing through Vancouver every day.
Time has flown since that first flight sixty years ago. Ask any of the group of retired "Pionairs"; they'd tell you time flew because they were having fun. They were indeed the pioneers of aviation, covering new ground with a spirit of achievement that has become a standard for Air Canada's next sixty years of growth.
In 62 years, Air Canada -- formerly Crown-owned Trans-Canada Airlines before its name change in 1965 -- has grown into a $5.9-billion corporation, including regional carriers.
Privatized: Federal government made initial public offering August 1988. In 1989, a second offering of the government's holding was completed and Air Canada became a shareholder-owned corporation.
Head Office: Montreal.
Coverage: More than 700 destinations in 110 countries.
Earnings: Second-quarter profit of $73 million with a record-high operating income of $169 million ended June 30, 1999. Cash: $712 million.
President and CEO: Robert Milton, appointed to succeed retiring Lamar Durrett.
In their sixty year history, Air Canada has grown from a modest operation (with two 10-passenger airplanes and a crop duster) to a Cdn. $6.5 billion corporation that maintains a fleet of 158 aircraft (excluding Air Canada's Regional fleet). Together with its Star Alliance partners, Air Canada offers customers over 800 destinations in more than 130 countries.
About Specimen Certificates
Specimen Certificates are actual certificates that have never been issued. They were usually kept by the printers in their permanent archives as their only example of a particular certificate. Sometimes you will see a hand stamp on the certificate that says "Do not remove from file".
Specimens were also used to show prospective clients different types of certificate designs that were available. Specimen certificates are usually much scarcer than issued certificates. In fact, many times they are the only way to get a certificate for a particular company because the issued certificates were redeemed and destroyed. In a few instances, Specimen certificates we made for a company but were never used because a different design was chosen by the company.
These certificates are normally stamped "Specimen" or they have small holes spelling the word specimen. Most of the time they don't have a serial number, or they have a serial number of 00000. This is an exciting sector of the hobby that grown in popularity and realized nice appreciation in value over the past several years.
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