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Hot Air Ballooning in Canada

If you think Canada is a beautiful country from the ground, wait until you get a "birds eye" view of the different landscapes when hot air ballooning in Canada. Canadian ballooning offers spectacular views of the Canadian Rockies, the Parliament buildings in Ottawa, the landscape of the Canadian Shield, and the quaint countryside of Atlantic Canada. Hot air ballooning offers an unbelievable solitude as you drift along on air currents to an unknown destination.

No traffic congestion, no horns honking, or telephones ringing...it's a great escape for a few hours. You'll see wildlife foraging for food, people scurrying about, rolling hills, and spectacular mountain views. Hot air balloons can operate in all seasons as long as conditions are right and is becoming a favourite winter activity in Canada especially on Valentine's Day.

History of Ballooning in Canada

The hot air balloon is the oldest form of aeronautics that involves human passengers. The first successful manned hot air balloon flight occurred on November 21, 1783 in Paris, France. The balloon was made by the Montgolfier brothers and was piloted by Jean-Francois Pilatre de Rozier and Francois Laurent d'Arlandes. It wasn't long before an American Quaker, Dr. John Foulke, lifted off on May 10, 1784 from Philadelphia.

Canada (then British North America) never caught on to the worldwide fascination with ballooning until the early 1800's. The first recorded flight of ballooning in Canada occurred August 4, 1840 when American Louis Lauriat took off in his "Star of the East" balloon from Saint John, New Brunswick. Starting in 1944 and continuing to April 1945, Japan launched 9,300 balloons with bombs targeting the west coast of the United States. There were 78 confirmed landings in Canada, mostly in British Columbia; however they were found as far as Saskatchewan.

Hot Air Balloon Construction

A hot air balloon contains an envelope, a gondola, and a heat source. The envelope is the colourful balloons you see drifting through the sky. The gondola is the basket-like passenger and pilot area as well as where the heat source is controlled. Today's hot air balloons are normally made from nylon fabric with the "mouth" being made from fire resistant material due to the heat source.

The air inside the envelope is heated to create buoyancy. This occurs because heated air inside the envelope has a lower density than the cool air outside. The envelope does not have to be closed at the bottom as the air here is at the same pressure as the outside air. This makes it easy to add more hot air to the balloon as needed.

Canadian Ballooning Companies

Sundance Balloons offers ballooning in Canada at 12 locations. You'll gather at your predetermined launch site and meet your flight crew. You'll stare in amazement as the balloon inflates into a 10-story high structure. The trips are normally 1 hour long flights with a traditional champagne toast upon landing. You'll then be taken back to your launch site by the ground crew.

Rainbow Balloons operate out of Calgary taking you on a panoramic view of the Rocky Mountains, the rolling landscape of the foothills, the Bow River snaking down, and the endless prairies. Bring your binoculars and camera as you don't get many chances to view such a wide spectrum of landscapes in a single flight. You'll celebrate your flight with a champagne brunch in the French tradition.

Since 1985, Windborne Ballooning has been taking thrill seekers on Canadian ballooning flights over the nation's capital, Ottawa. They also offer a Balloon Pilot Training program for those who want to do their own ballooning in Canada. Ballooning in Ottawa will provide you with a unique perspective when viewing Canada's Parliament buildings.

Canadian Ballooning Events
  • International Balloon Festival of Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu
    August 8th – 16th, 2009
    Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec
  • Cornwall Lift-Off occurs in early July in Cornwall, Ontario. The festival offers early morning Canadian ballooning rides, nightly entertainment with Canadian entertainers, midway rides, and fireworks displays.
  • Grande Prairie Hot Air Balloon Championship and Festival. They hosted the 1st Canadian Ballooning Championship in 1979.
  • Atlantic International Balloon Fiesta in Sussex, New Brunswick. There are over 200 balloon flights over the lush Sussex countryside. Enjoy the craft displays, parade, rides and games, helicopter rides, and much more.
  • Canadian Hot Air Balloon Championship is an annual competition for the Trumpeter Swan Trophy. The winners become eligible for worldwide balloon competitions.
Ballooning in Canada is an adventure for people from all walks of life. It offers a serene setting for flying in Canada. It has few of the dangers that other high altitude activities such as sky diving in Canada, ski jumping in Canada, and bungee jumping in Canada have...and you get to finish off your flight with a champagne brunch. What could be better than that?
 
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