Take A Trip to One of the Three Largest Aerospace Capitals of the World
Feb 2020

The legendary Wright Brothers are rightfully a household name for their iconic maiden flight, a 12-second marvel in 1903 that resulted in their names being engraved in the history books for inventing, building, and flying the world's first successful airplane. They also gave birth to an industry.

The early days of aviation set off a constellation of inventors around the world who envisioned the airplane’s many possibilities. Nearly 120 years later, three locations have emerged as aerospace stars:  Seattle, Toulouse and Montreal. They respectively employ hundreds of thousands of like-minded professionals who share the same passion as those early aircraft pioneers.

However, despite their aeronautical connection, only recently did these three aviation centres link together with non-stop air service by a single carrier. In May, Air Canada will launch its Montreal-Seattle route with its brand-new Airbus A220-300, designed and built in Quebec. A month later, the final link connecting these three aviation hubs takes off when the Montreal-Toulouse service begins.

The business ties make for an obvious reason to connect these three aerospace powerhouses, not to mention a great reason for an aviation enthusiast to visit. However,  it’s perhaps their cultural and natural wonders that might convince a business traveller to stay for a short vacation after meetings are done.

Toulouse

 

Walking through Toulouse, one cannot miss the red brick cityscape, a material traditionally associated in France with industrialization. But, when the sun sets, the bricks turn from red to pink – and so it became known as the pink city. Toulouse’s industrialization era, dominated by chemical and hydroelectric industries, attracted scientists and engineers, and is largely credited for today’s innovation. Its history is evident when walking through narrow romantic French streets, in which one can easily lose themselves taking in the architecture and courtyards. Like most of Europe, the city’s history dates back 2,000 years and its historical influence is present through its mix of Mediterranean and Basque culture. Add to that the energy of 100,000 students who contribute both to the city’s innovation and identity.

In France the croissant needs no introduction, but also not to be missed is one treat that is celebrated here more than anywhere else in the world: the chocolatine. In Toulouse they add chocolate inside of the decedent croissant bread, a tradition honoured each year at the Coupe Mondial de la Chocolatine (Chocolatine World Cup).

Seattle

 

The west coast city of lies between ancient conifer forests, the Pacific Ocean and towering mountains, making it a perfect visit for outdoor aficionados. Between the hundreds of hiking trails near the city and dozens of world class skiing options, the views are unrivalled. The region’s biodiversity, however, is matched by Seattle’s urban diversity. Locals flock to markets like Pike Place, one of the nation’s oldest farmers markets, for a taste some of the country’s best seafood, while restaurants feature an eclectic mix of dishes passionately made with locally produced ingredients. Famous for being the home of grunge, spawning bands of the likes like of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, check out the next big thing at the Gorge amphitheater, said by the Wall Street Journal to be the most scenic concert location in the world. No trip to Seattle would be complete without a visit to Dick’s drive-in to sample its famous burger, shake and fries. It’s been a local institution since 1954.

A trip to Toulouse or Seattle would not be complete without a stop at an aviation museum. View one of the first Wright Brothers’ aircraft on site at The Museum of Flight in Seattle. Take in the story of the Concorde’s conception on site at the Aeroscopia Museum in Toulouse. Both cities each feature, in their own right, world class aviation museums.

 

The pioneers of the aircraft aspired to connect the world through air travel and, over 100 years later, the interconnectedness of the world is greater than at any other point of history. And quite appropriately it is Montreal, a bilingual city where North American and French cultures fuse together, that will bridge the three largest aerospace cities in the world. The three cities share a history of innovation and historical ties to the early days of aviation.