As discussed in the Trans-Canada history Air Canada officially came into existence on January 1 1965, though the Queen had actually travelled on the first Air Canada liveried aircraft in 1964. That new livery introduced the maple leaf on the tail, black titles and a red cheatline with black anti-glare sloping down from the cockpit to the nose. It was designed by the firm Stewart, Morrison & Roberts.
The name change itself was controversial and though applauded by the French half of the population (as the name was pronounced the same in both French and English) there was plenty of ill-feeling amongst staff. There was even the suggestion that Air Canada in English usage actually really meant 'Ventilate Canada' as in the verb 'to air' so it didn't actually mean the same in both languages! In retrospect the new name and logo set a precedent for a new Canadian identity as the Maple leaf was used for the new, and current, Canadian flag which was only adopted on February 15, 1965.
Trans Canada’s large Viscount fleet transitioned over to Air Canada colours from late 1964 and continued in service until the mid-1970s. Only one was lost in service, CF-TGL being destroyed as early as October 1958 when it was hit by an L-1049 which went out of control on take-off. The Viscounts saw much service on domestic and US cross-border routes but were gradually replaced by DC-9s. CF-THS was sold in April 1974 to IAS and on-sold to Beaver Enterprises in June 1975. She was acquired in November 1982 by the Western Canadian Aviation Museum and is preserved at Winnipeg.
The DC-9 was the first twin-jet airliner to be operated in Canada and Air Canada was the first airline to operate them outside of the USA, from February 1966. They were also the first new type of aircraft to be delivered in Air Canada colours. Initially six DC-9-14s arrived but these were swiftly followed by fifty DC-9-32s. Later, in 1972, seven ex-Continental DC-9-15Rcs were also added. Much of the DC-9’s airframe was actually manufactured in Canada though at the purchase time this did little to lessen the controversy of purchasing US equipment over British or French. The Nines replaced Viscounts and Vanguards and continued in service until January 18, 2002.
CF-TLI (above) was the second series 32 delivered and was leased to Altair in 1982 as N901AK. She was only with them briefly before passing to PSA as N705PS in April 1983. Taken into the USAir fleet when PSA was merged into it in 1988 she was reregistered as N913VJ. She continued in service with US until 11th January 2001 when she was stored at Mojave and scrapped from 2004 onwards.
I'm Richard Stretton: a fan of classic airliners and airlines who enjoys exploring their history through my collection of die-cast airliners. If you enjoy the site please donate whatever you can to help keep it running: