It's many things to many people. It's a unique aerodrome-in-a-park and occupies a special niche in the minds and hearts of many people, some of them living in far away places.
It was once a farm, but in the early 60s the farmer, who was also a pilot, sensed a growing demand for an aerodrome where pilots could store and fly their airplanes. At that time the only alternatives were Vancouver International Airport or, further east, Langley and Abbotsford Airports. Pitt Meadows and Boundary Bay airports weren't then in operation. The farmer stopped farming and began building hangars and serving hamburgers.
Delta Air Park was born.
The airplanes kept coming until, by the early 70s, there were about 120 airplanes based on the site.
In 1995, the then Greater Vancouver Regional District (now Metro Vancouver) bought the land for a staging area and parking lot as part of its long range development plan for the Boundary Bay Linear Park. Initially the plan was to evict the tenants and bulldoze the buildings but the tenants quickly formed a committee that persuaded the decision makers that the Air Park was a valuable asset and could be accommodated within the larger plan.
Delta Heritage Air Park was born.
Delta Heritage Air Park is managed by the Recreational Aircraft Association of Canada, Chapter 85, under a Licence Agreement with Metro Vancouver Parks. The Delta Heritage Air Park Management Committee oversees all aspects of the Licence Agreement for Metro Vancouver Parks. The Delta Heritage Air Park Operating Committee (DapCom), comprising representatives of RAA, COPA Flight 5 Boundary Bay Flying Club, and the unaffiliated tenants, operates the Air Park. RAA and DapCom are represented on the Management Committee.
Currently there are 36 airplanes housed in hangars and another 24 or so tied down on the grass. Many of the aircraft are vintage models rarely seen at larger airports.
"Mary's Place" is open every day and the coffee is always fresh and hot. Everyone is welcome.
Here's another take on Delta's history, by Tony Swain. He calls it "Story 96, Down on the Farm." It's a pdf file. DOWNLOAD.
Below is a copy of the handout provided at the 1962 Fly-In and Airshow at Delta Air Park, with thanks to Mike Davenport