Sign #1 aprox 200 yards along Ontario Street inside the main gate.

Vancouver Wireless Station

The Vancouver Wireless Station (VWS) was built on the site of the WWII Boundary Bay Airport and operated as a Canadian Army Signal Corps site monitoring the Soviet Union Arctic Land, sea and air military communications from 1949 to 1971. Within this area a self-contained community of roughly 500 people was developed to meet the needs of service families and other personnel. The buildings are gone, but the roads and basic foundations of many features are still visible.

Access to VWS was through the main gate if the gatekeeper was satisfied with your documentation and raised the barrier for you. Speed limit on the long stright and bare road was 5 mph. The gatekeepers were usually veterans or ex RCMP on weekdays and military personnel at all other times. They would not hesitate to enforce the regulations. This photo of the entrance was taken after the name of the base changed to Canadian Forces Station in 1967.

A 'pass' or special license plate was issued to the residents at the base and to the employees from off the base.

Royal Canadian Air Force 1940-1945

Construction of the Boundary Bay Airport began in 1940 to serve as a training school for the Royal Canadian Air Force. It also accommodated Lancaster bombers to defend British Columbia against a potential Japanese attack. While the RCAF occupancy on the site was brief, ending in 1945, at one point it accommodated a population of 4,000 personnel.

In 1944 RCAF Station Boundary Bay became the home of No. 5 Operational Training Unit, which trained air crews in heavy bombers for fighting in Sourth East Asia. Parades were a regular part of Station routine. Mitchell B25 and Liberator B24 bombers are parked on the runways.

The RCAF Station Boundary Bay changed roles as WWII progressed. After Pearl Harbor, it changed from pilot training for Europe to a Home War Aerodrome, protecting the west coast from attack. The main aircraft used during this period were Hawker Hurricanes, as seen in this photo.

    WebMaster Notes:
  • At no time during my tour at VWS (1959-71) were the gate guards not members of the Corps of Commissionaires.
    They could have been and likely were ex military or RCMP veterans.

  • I have no idea where the "5 MPH" speed limit came from, unless it was used before the Base became Vancouver
    Wireless Station. The photo clearly shows the speed limit past the gate to be "20 MPH".

  • When the railway was built, it was built between Churchill and Ontario Streets. The gate was
    moved north to Ontario Street which had been extended from McKenzie Street, west to Benson Road.