CBC Digital Archives

Mike Finland, pilot geologist

They were intrepid and resourceful pioneers who took to the skies: carrying passengers, mapping new territory, hauling necessities, discovering hidden gold and carrying out daring rescues. The CBC Digital Archives salutes some of the many bush pilots who made monumental contributions to the exploration of uncharted Canada.

"Okay, let 'er go" is the signal mining engineer and ace bush pilot Harold "Mike" Finland gives to the Morningside audio technician to indicate he's ready for the interview. But as Peter Gzowski says in his introduction, it's likely not the first time he's used that expression.  Finland tells the story of his staking of the Con Mine, which led to the development of Yellowknife, and recalls working with Wop May.  He began his career as a mining engineer, but soon recognized that "the answer was the airplane," So he trained to fly in a Gipsy Moth and went on to earn his place in the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame as a pilot geologist.
• George "Mike" Finland was born April 21, 1901 in Victoria and died Nov. 4, 1983. He was inducted into the Canadian Aviation Hall of Fame in 1974.
  • The Con Mine was the first productive gold mine in the area, and Yellowknife grew out of its success. The first gold brick was poured there in 1938, and it closed down in 2003. The city of Yellowknife is built above the mine, and was thus dubbed "a city where the gold is paved with streets" by local composer Robin Beaumont.

• The Gipsy Moth was a plane developed by deHavilland, using the wooden frame bi-plane of the original Moth and replacing the original Cirrus motor with its own factory-built Gipsy engine. The all-wood frame was problematic for Canada's extreme weather conditions, so it was adapted with the addition of welded steel tubing. The plane underwent various changes and eventually became the Tiger Moth.

Medium: Radio
Program: Morningside
Broadcast Date: March 14, 1983
Guest(s): Mike Finland
Interviewer: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 14:11
Photo: Seaplane landing float and boat-dock, Yellowknife, 1938. Glenbow Museum collection NA-3873-7

Last updated: June 19, 2013

Page consulted on March 12, 2014

All Clips from this Topic

Related Content

Pioneers in the Sky: Bush Pilots of Canada

They were intrepid and resourceful pioneers who took to the skies: carrying passengers, mappin...

Bush pilots: 100 years of flight

The National looks at bush flying in 2003 compared with 60 years earlier.

Bush pilots: Max Ward sells Wardair

A profile of Max Ward, who has sold his airline Wardair.

Wilfrid 'Wop' May: WWI flying ace to celebrat...

Denny May, son of Wop May, talks to Don Harron about his father's flying career.

The RCMP get their man, thanks to a bush pilo...

Mechanic Jack Bowen tells the story of the pursuit of Albert Johnson, the Mad Trapper of Rat R...