2022 was fantastic for Southport Aerospace Centre Inc. and 2023 is looking to be even better.

It was a milestone year according to CEO Peggy May who says this past year was their 30th anniversary.

"We had a lot of opportunities to celebrate throughout the year, certainly, the first one being that COVID is kind of behind us," says May. "We're happy that businesses got back to being somewhat normal. Our recreation facilities and accommodation buildings are back up and running and busy again as they weren't for the last couple of years."

Over the past year, they demolished the old warehouse building on site to get ready for a new mess dining hall facility which will be built over the next few years. They planted hundreds of trees to replace those that were lost in various wind storms. Another project involves adding rental units and upgrading residential units. Currently, there are only fourteen units to be retrofitted out of 188. They also plan to build a new office building as their team continues to grow.

Perhaps the most visually impressive project of 2022 has to be how they found a way to show off some aircraft throughout the base.

"We restored an old Musketeer aircraft and put it up on a pedestal, as we're going to do with a number of aircrafts that have flown here over the years, which is part of the legacy of Southport, I believe," says May. "We put that one up in September on a pedestal, just outside the recreation complex, and we're working on a new one for the coming year of Beechcraft CT-134. At some point, we'll have all of the planes that flew here at Southport up on pedestals around the site."

She adds they are proud of their aviation history as 80 per cent of the Canadian Forces get their wings (learn to fly) at Southport. They are planning an airshow for July 2024 to celebrate 100 years since the Royal Canadian Air Force begun their military training.