The 1970 Abbotsford International Airshow marked the event being branded as ‘Canada’s National Airshow’. A time capsule was created and stored to mark the occasion. (Submitted)

The 1970 Abbotsford International Airshow marked the event being branded as ‘Canada’s National Airshow’. A time capsule was created and stored to mark the occasion. (Submitted)

Abbotsford International Airshow opening 50-year-old time capsule

Bronze time capsule was put together to commemorate AIA as Canada’s National Airshow

The COVID-19 pandemic may have cancelled the Abbotsford International Airshow for 2020, but the virus will not stop another unique celebration of Abbotsford’s biggest local event.

This years marks the 50th anniversary of the show being officially named Canada’s National Airshow, and the stone cairn and time capsule that was put together to mark the occasion back in 1970 will be opened on Aug. 7.

RELATED: Abbotsford International Airshow cancelled for 2020

Interestingly enough, 1970 was also the year of the formation of the Snowbirds as Canada’s National Air Display Team.

According to the AIA’s chair Steve Stewart, a cairn was built outside the airport terminal building prior to 1970. The cairn was created using rocks from all over Canada and the rest of the world, pieces of the old London Bridge and rocks from the Matterhorn. Beneath the cairn is a copper time capsule that was to be opened 50 years later.

The time capsule contains messages from world leaders such as former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, former American president Richard Nixon, former opposition leader Robert Stanfield and other ministers.

The dedication occurred on Aug. 7, 1970 by minister Don Jamieson and Fraser Valley East MP Jerry Pringle, with the date of Aug. 7, 2020 as a reopening.

The cairn was originally located just outside the airside entrance to the customs office of the terminal, which in 1970 was located in Hangar Number Two. Since then, over the past 50 years, as terminals have been built, moved, redeveloped and relocated, the cairn has been moved at least three times, and it no longer stands on its original base.

AIA organizers have invited Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to attend the opening of the cairn and time capsule, but he has not yet responded to the invitation. Organizers noted that his father officially designated the AIA as Canada’s National Airshow back in 1970.

Event details for the time capsule opening still have to be finalized, but it is scheduled to occur on Aug. 7.

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