New Brunswick

Mystery behind the Midgic Airport: local legend or hidden history?

The Midgic Airport is part myth, but no one in the area seems to agree on its origins, or why it's so funny.

The Midgic Airport is part of a local joke that has a different punch line, depending who you ask

Ever hear the story of Midgic airport?

5 years ago
Duration 1:20
The Midgic Airport is part of a local joke that has a different punch line, depending who you ask

The mystery started for me with an old green hat I found in my parents' basement in Sackville. Across the front, it says Midgic Airport, all in white embroidered caps.

As a local, I know that Midgic is a small farming community about 15 kilometres north of Sackville. I also know Midgic does not have an airport.

I asked my dad, Michael Weldon, where the hat came from.

"I remember my father, Jim, wearing it when we were working on the farm in Point de Bute," he said. "Somebody gave it to him as a joke."

Michael and Frances Weldon are proud owners of a Midgic Airport hat. (Tori Weldon/CBC)
My mom, Frances Weldon, remembers a very specific joke about the Midgic Airport from her childhood.

"All I know is when I was a teenager and you went to the Midgic Airport to watch the planes land, you were going parking."

That's gross, mom.

Why an airport?

Over the years I'd heard different theories as to why an airport was chosen as the joke. Why not a mall, a train station, a skyscraper? There are a lot of things one would be surprised to find in Midgic.

With my grandfather's hat in hand, I stopped a local family to see what they knew about the mystery airport.

Erik Edson remembers seeing a similar hat when he moved to Sackville more than 20 years ago.

Erik Edson remembers seeing Midgic hats for sale at a local diner on Bridge Street in the '90s or early 2000s. He always assumed the Midgic Airport was a local joke, but wasn't sure what it was about. (Pierre Fournier/CBC)
"Walking by Mel's … they'd have different things for sale in the window and one of those was a couple of Midgic Airport hats."

"I just thought it was a local laugh."

His sons had different theories.

Luther Edson,17, assumed it was a joke from generations past.

"I've heard rumours it was an emergency landing spot during the Second World War, also heard stuff about the Cold War but I'm really not sure."
Luther, 17, and Dashiel Edson, 15, (left to right) have both heard different versions of what the Midgic Airport myth is about. (Pierre Fournier/CBC)

Luther's brother Dasheil Edson,15, feels it's something different altogether.

"I've heard that they found marijuana plants there and a helicopter landed to dig them up or something."

Getting answers

I decided to go straight to the source, so I headed across the Tantramar Marsh on Route 940 to Midgic. My parents told me to try to find the former corner store. If the original family still lived there, maybe I'd get some more information.

I found it and no one was home.

At a mechanic's garage next door, I came across Leaman Troop. At 73-years-old, Troop laughed when I showed him my grandfather's hat. He knew my grandfather and the hat, but said the person I should speak to about its origins was Floyd Wheaton.

Midgic is a small farming community about 15 kilometres north of Sackville. (Google maps)
In his green Saturn, Troop led the way down the road to a long lane ending at a 300-year-old farmhouse. As we pulled up, 85-year-old Wheaton came out wearing a Midgic Airport hat.

"It was a joke, that's all it was," he said with a hearty laugh.

Wheaton remembers a plane crashing in the area decades ago and a helicopter landing in his backyard, but he said there is no connection to the airport myth.

He said he's on his fifth Midgic Airport hat, but the first one came from a coworker at the foundry in Sackville.

"The fellow made them in middle Sackville. What's his name, Cormier?"

With a few more minutes to jog his brain, he remembered.

"Charlie Cormier, that's his name."

Pictured are Joyce and Charlie Cormier. Charlie is credited with being the first person to have Midgic Airport hats custom-made. (Submitted by Chantal Cormier)
Later that day I managed to get Chantal Cormier on the phone. Sadly, her father Charlie died in 2007, but Chantal was able to shed some light on the story.

"The big joke was that the mosquitos were so big in Midgic that they needed a landing strip."

"So that's where the Midgic Airport was born from."

She's under the impression her father was the first person to have the hats made up.

"Dad always had an interesting sense of humour so he probably found it quite amusing."

She can remember her father wearing one in the '80s, and there were different versions.

"I do fondly remember one … it had an upside down plane on it."

Cormier thinks part of the fun was pulling the wool over the eyes of people not in on the joke.

"There's been the occasional person in town that didn't know … about the Midgic Airport and [dad would] actually manage to get the gullible person to drive out to Midgic looking for the airport."

There is no airport in Midgic, and Nav Canada said it's unlikely there ever was. (Pierre Fournier/CBC)
Was there ever an airport in Midgic? Nav Canada, a corporations that operates Canada's civil air nagivation service, says it's unlikely.

So is the joke about large mosquitos, a long ago plane crash, a parking place for teens, or a drug bust?

No one seems to know for sure, but everyone seems to find it funny. And maybe the joke works because some mysteries are better left unsolved.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tori Weldon

Reporter

Tori Weldon is a reporter based in Moncton. She's been working for the CBC since 2008.

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