Saturday, May 15, 2010

Llanding in Lloydminster

As you all cleverly deduced, I was sent to Lloydminster, the only municipality in Canada that straddles a provincial or territorial border. According to a historical plaque I found posted across the street from a natural meat slaughterhouse, the community was founded in 1903 by a group of British people. They had a falling out with their original leader, who was succeeded by the Reverend Lloyd, after whom the town is named. Note that it's Lloydminster, three syllables, not LloydminIster. Also Canadians pronounce Ll just the same as a single L, not with authentic Welsh gagging. A couple years after the Lloydministerians had established their town, the Canadian government decided that the Alberta-Saskatchewan provincial border would run down the 110th meridian of longitude, which as surveyed at the time went right through the middle of town. For a few years the town had to act as two separate towns, one in each province, but eventually special legislation was enacted to allow them to have one town--and later city--that is in two provinces at once.

If you recall, we were parked in Red Deer. At that airport we loaded and secured all our baggage into the clean airplane and ran up for departure. At the time we left there was no snow there, and after takeoff we didn't see any snow on the surrounding landscape either. We turned northeast and kept our eyes peeled for traffic while Alberta slid by underneath us. We pointed at things out the window and declared what towns we thought we were looking at, and then checked them on the map. I verified that our track wouldn't take us through the restricted area at Wainwright. From the air it appeared that the area under the restricted airspace was a different colour. And then as we progressed further north we realized that it was. There was still snow up here.

The FSS answered when we called and the runway was clear of snow, at least in the middle, so we landed and went around the piles of snow on the apron to the FBO. I had phoned in advance and they had assured us that parking, ample fuel and plug-ins would be no problem. The number on the hangar was easy to spot and the ramp outside was almost entirely cleared so there was plenty of room to park. We shut down there and unloaded. Inside the FBO, all the leather furniture was cat scratched. The cat's name is Margo, and in addition to her obvious claim on all the couches, she has a dog-sized cat bed and a cat-tree climbing/scratching thing. The manager's name is Dennis and he does not appear to have destroyed any furniture.

Dennis shows us around: washrooms, fancy coffee machine, all the access codes to get into here and the hangar, and how to turn on the fuel pumps and where to sign for fuel if we take it when he's not here. He also has a tow cart so we don't have to do an extra engine start just to move between parking and the pumps. (He knows we like to reduce the reduce the number of times we start an engine because every time we start, there are a few seconds with very low oil pressure, and also the starter on an airplane engine isn't as heavy duty as the one on a car, so it wears out easily too). It looks like this will be a good place to work out of. I suspect that if we need to fly in one of our own mechanics there will be no problem borrowing hangar space to work out of.

The airport is in Alberta, and so is the hotel, but the cab company has a Saskatchewan area code. All the cabs are in Saskatchewan, Dennis explains, because the regulations governing taxicabs are easier to comply with there. Even though the city is not divided, the provincial laws still apply whereever you are. The two jurisdictions aren't as different as Wendover, UT/West Wendover, NV, but they do have different time zones, different drinking ages, and different sales taxes. Plus rats are banned in Alberta. If you want a pet rat you'd better live on the east side of town.


dpierce said...

Interesting. Reminds me of the story of Derby Line / Rock Island on the Vermont / Quebec border. They need some special legislation, too.

Putting leather furniture in with a cat is pretty brave.

Anonymous said...

Is the weather in Alberta and Saskatchewan much different?

The joke goes: they were drawing up the border between Russian and Poland at some point in history (end of WW I?). They'd got it all agreed except one place where the line they'd drawn divided a farm in two. The border commission realised that would be silly but couldn't agree who'd have the farm so decided to go ask the farmer and let him choose. They arrived at the farm and found the farmer was Russian but, when they explained the situation, he said he'd rather be in Poland. On being asked why he replied "I couldn't stand another Russian Winter".