City of Grande Prairie grants $50K for upcoming air show

The Grande Prairie Regional Airshow is gearing up for its first flight this summer.

City council approved a $50,000 large-scale tourism grant to the show, that is also being used as a fundraiser to support the renovations and expansion of the D Company (D Coy) Armouries building.

“We've got a fully booked show,” said Bruce Tattrie, Grande Prairie Regional Airshow organizer.

He said the show will have more than two hours of entertainment including parachute acts, jet cars, wing walkers, sailplanes, flying aerobatics teams, Second World War aircraft and modern military jets. Additionally, static displays allow patrons to get close to aircraft, along with activities for children like bouncy castles, face painting and booths for awareness groups, will be on site.

Tattrie said the grant is needed to ensure that all the acts coming to the show can be paid. He noted that fundraising has already helped secure acts for the show.

City Coun. Dylan Bressey said he is glad to support the event because it is working to raise funds that will benefit the community beyond the air show weekend.

“I hope it's a phenomenal success, I hope it's something that draws people from out of our region to see these awesome jets flying, and I hope it's something that raises a lot of money.”

The show aims to help raise funds for the $3.8 million needed to begin renovations at the D Coy Armouries and raise awareness of the Canadian Armed Forces.

The 76-year-old building requires maintenance repairs as well as an expansion for its current user groups that include Air and Army cadets, Department of Defense Zone Training Officer, YMCA North Programs and Play Zone Summer Camps.

“We're trying to come up with something novel to offer the people in Grande Prairie to help donate, and that's where we landed on the airshow,” said Tattrie.

“We'd like to cover all our of our costs, and if we made $100,000 to donate back to the D Coy (project), that would be a huge win for us.”

Tattrie is confident that Grande Prairie will put on a good show, noting that many variables can affect the show, including weather and smoke from wildfires.

He noted that the United States Air Force aircraft are confirmed to be coming, but attendance by the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) aircraft can’t be known until about six weeks before the show. Tattrie said the air show has been in talks with the RCAF but due to its “limited amount of assets” it is unknown if it will bring planes to Grande Prairie this year.

Tattrie hopes the show will happen every two years, and raising funds for different community projects each year.

The air show will be at the Grande Prairie Airport on July 27 and 28. For more information, visit

Jesse Boily, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Town & Country News