Nova Scotia

Silver Dart replica helps tourism soar

The Alexander Graham Bell museum in Baddeck, N.S., is crediting the Silver Dart replica with a boost in tourism this year.
The Silver Dart replica was built for the 100th anniversary of the historic flight over Baddeck. (George Mortimer/CBC)

The Alexander Graham Bell museum in Baddeck, N.S., is crediting the Silver Dart replica with a boost in tourism this year.

The Silver Dart aircraft flew over Baddeck on Feb. 23, 1909. It was the first powered flight in the British Empire. The replica was built to mark the 100th anniversary in 2009.

While the replica was moved to Baddeck last year, it wasn't set up until May. This is the first summer that museum visitors are getting an opportunity to see it.

David Ebert, supervisor of the Parks Canada site, said the number of visitors was down five per cent last year, but this year it's up 13 per cent.

So far this summer, 40,000 people have gone through the museum.

"We knew in June that we had so many school groups that we couldn't take any more, we actually had a waiting list, which is the first time in a few years that that's happened," Ebert said.

"I think all of the buzz about bringing the Silver Dart in has reignited people's interest in learning about Dr. Bell."

Bob Cree is visiting from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, where the Wright brothers made the first piloted powered flight on Dec. 17, 1903.

"I think it's great," Cree said of the Silver Dart replica. "It looks very similar to what the Wright brothers [flew] although I think theirs was more primitive than what this one is."

Ebert said he expects the museum to remain busy until it closes Thanksgiving weekend.

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