Mapping out Gander's WW II history

The Town of Gander is rich with aviation and military history. Now, it's making it easier for people to find those local sites by mapping them out and building trails.
The Second World War-era site of a crashed American Boeing Flying Fortress can be found in Gander's Thomas Howe Development Forest. (Julia Cook/CBC)

As an aviation and military town, Gander is surrounded by airplane crash locations and other historical sites.

Some are easy to reach, such as the Second World War American Boeing B-17G crash site in the Thomas Howe Demonstration Forest. But unless you have some local knowledge, other spots are harder to find.

Now the Town of Gander and local historical groups are making it easier for people to track down those areas by mapping them and creating trails to the sites.

"For people in Gander, this is just kind of the fabric of Gander," said Sarah McBreairty, a Gander councillor and chair of the town's economic development, tourism, and culture committee.

"But for the rest of the world, this is what they hear about Gander and they want to know more, so I guess we're kind of recognizing that it's our responsibility to preserve that history."

The town received a job creation partnership grant from the province of more than $67,000 to fund four positions.

Two of the workers will map the locations within the town boundaries. The other two will cut trails to make it easier to reach some of those areas.

The project focuses on the Second World War, but may include other civilian crash sites. An area known as the old town site will also be included.

"More than half of the people that are visiting the province are visiting because of the heritage and the historical significance, so people are already visiting for that reason," said McBreairty.

"They want to have a guide like this to tell them where to go."

McBreairty said the town hopes this will attract tourists and boost the economy. She said this could be an opportunity for tourism operators to offer walking tours to visitors to Gander.

About the Author

Julia Cook

Journalist

Julia Cook reports from CBC's bureau in Gander, primarily for the Central Morning Show.