Esquimalt Harbour's Constance Cove seaplane port

Esquimalt Harbour’s Constance Cove seaplane port

For over a decade all concerned acknowledged the floating wharf that Eddie Hubbard had constructed in 1919 was a poor seaplane terminal for British Columbia’s capital city, particularly with the sophisticated structures of the British Columbia Coastal Service around Laurel Point. In 1930 a wealthy American developer Edward Lowe Jr. was prepared to invest in a modern facility and in 1931 his $300,000 municipal seaplane base proposal was tabled. The city’s Industrial Committee, aviation experts, Dominion Civil Government Air Operations, and the Royal Canadian Air Force supported the proposal. Opposed were the Dominion Department of Marine and Fisheries, Canadian Pacific and Canadian National steamship services, and their captains led by the very influential Captain William Troup, retired managing director of CP’s British Columbia Coastal Service and chair of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce Harbour Committee.

In 1932 Lowe’s proposal was ultimately rejected when Ottawa deemed the Inner Harbour was not large enough to accommodate both shipping and seaplanes. Concerns included that 20 ships or more a day were entering or leaving the harbour and the danger posed by the many logs and log booms that supplied the harbour’s many sawmills, Victoria’s major industry at the time. It was decided that Victoria’s commercial seaplane activity would be serviced out of Esquimalt Harbour. This remained the case until 1939. Though individual charter flights could register were to land in Victoria’s harbour.

Wings Across the Water