Port Hardy’s new airport terminal is ready to be used by the public after an Indigenous blessing ceremony on May 27.
Kwakiutl artist Mervyn Child was the master of ceremonies at the gathering, introducing Mabel Knox and Charles Willie who performed the blessing ceremony, and then Child briefly spoke about the history of the land the airport is situated on inside of the Kwakiutl First Nation’s traditional territory.
Wagalus Elementary School staff and students were also on hand to perform cultural songs and dances throughout the event.
Speeches were made by various people in attendance, including Stan and Jason Hunt (who created much of the Indigenous artwork on display at the terminal), Port Hardy mayor Dennis Dugas, Kwakiutl chief David Knox, and Transport Canada employee Jordan Nicholson.
Nicholson spoke briefly about how the new terminal came to be, noting the project started back in 2015. The old terminal was demolished around July of 2019 and construction on the new building was finished in 2021, but it wasn’t able to open until just recently due to unspecified complications.
Dugas said council is excited that the new airport terminal is finally ready.
“We were hoping it would’ve been open last year, but it’s open now and that’s awesome, just in time for tourist season,” he said, adding the new terminal is “very welcoming” and it’s “something for all of us to be very proud of.”