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Victoria International Airport and “The Lost Airmen of the Empire” Monument at Patricia Bay’s “Hospital Hill”

Apr 28, 2016

Victoria Airport Authority (VAA) is pleased to announce the commission of “The Lost Airmen of the Empire“sculptural monument at Hospital Hill honouring the Allied Airmen who gave their lives at the Patricia Bay Air Station during the Second World War.   Victoria Sculptor Illarion Gallant will commence work on this project in Spring 2016 with completion in September 2016.

Hospital Hill, located along Mills Road on the North side of the airport, was home to the medical facilities for the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) Station Patricia Bay during the Second World War.

On October 22, 1939 the first Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft arrived at Patricia Bay flown by George Walter Du Temple with crewman Corporal W.S. (Rusty) Hopper.

This monument was selected by the VAA and a group of citizens who formed a working group that had the common goal of increasing the awareness of the proud military history of the airport.  Approximately 1,000 salvaged bricks from the previously demolished military administration building have been saved and will be incorporated into the project.  This new display at Hospital Hill will recognize and honour those who gave their lives while serving at the airport during the Second World War.

 A Hospital Hill Commemorative Working Group made up with a representatives from the duTemple family, The District of North Saanich Council Heritage Advisory Committee, a North Saanich Councillor, two local area historians, and the VAA was formed to select a design and guide the project.

“I applaud the VAA for establishing the working group and for assisting its dedicated members to develop and choose a fitting tribute to the men and women who served in Canadian Armed Forces at the airport during the Second World War “said Wallace (Wally ) George du Temple.

The main feature of this sculptural work will be 25 – 12 foot high Corten Steel Cooper’s Hawk Feathers.  The Cooper’s Hawk is a predator known for its extraordinary agility in flight and ferocity in hunting.  The names of the lost airmen will be water jet cut into the feathers.

The area surrounding the monument will be landscaped.  A row of red maples will stand on either side of the path leading to the memorial and interpretive signage.  Seating areas will feature the saved bricks from the RCAF headquarters.  The central seating area will also hold a time capsule where community members can place sealed letters they have written to Veterans.

“Growing up in Post War Toronto (Scarborough), my neighbourhood was made up of immigrants, including my parents, from war torn Europe.  Memories of the Second World War created a quiet background to the hope and optimism of starting a new life in Canada.  The presence of Veterans and their memories from both World Wars were an indelible influence in my early life.  “The Lost Airmen of the Empire” has given me the opportunity to create a visual dialogue which articulates the community’s heartbreak for those who sacrificed their life for what they believed in.  Their country,” Sculptor Illarion Gallant.  

“Our goal is to recognize the pivotal role that Victoria International Airport played during the Second World War by honouring those who lost their lives while training for their duties.  We look forward to seeing Illarion bring his concept to life and to adding this unique feature to the multi‐use community path, The Flight Path,” said Geoff Dickson, VAA President and CEO.

Nationally recognized, Illarion Gallant has work across Canada and in Europe.  Locally his work includes the Aluminum Arbutus Sculpture “Bowker Accord” at the Fort Street Medical Building, the Granite Avocados at the Grand Pacific Hotel,” “Commerce Canoe” in Bastion Square and Bouquet of Memories” at the Victoria International Airport Air Terminal Building.  Nationally his work includes “Rock Water Reeds,” in Richmond, “When the Bulrushes Out” in Calgary and “Tom Thomson’s Canoe” in Toronto. 

 Illarion and his wife Twyla Rusnak maintain a Landscape Architecture and Public Art Practice in Victoria, British Columbia.

About Victoria International Airport
Victoria International Airport (Airport Code: YYJ) is the 10th busiest airport in Canada with over 1.7 million passengers per year. Victoria is well served with more than 120 daily flights throughout North America. YYJ was rated among one of the top ten most‐loved airports in the world by CNN Travel and is the 2012 and 2014 winner of ‘Best Regional Airport in North America’ by Airports Council International.

Media Contact:
James Bogusz, Vice President Operations & Development
Phone: 250‐953‐7570

For more information about submitting an email or letter to be included with the memorial time capsule, please email