NORTH BAY -- North Bay has a history of flight involving all types of aircraft, from mighty air force jets, transatlantic flights and float planes that would touch down in the city.

The North Bay Museum has lift off on a new exhibit looking at the history of aviation in the city. The exhibit, called Gateway To The Sky, aims to show how aviation history led to the current North Bay Jack Garland Airport.

"As much as we often focus on the history of the railway in North Bay being a huge driver of the economy, aviation has a long history, too," said museum director Naomi Hehn.

The first aircraft to land in North Bay was a hydrogen-filled balloon that crash-landed in October 1910 in Lake Nipissing during a balloon race.

The city's first airport was located on Trout Lake, an 800-yard seaplane station, while the first unofficial landing at the old North Bay Airport was in 1938.

"We have unique facilities at the airport said exhibit coordinator Jillian Gear. "I wanted to dig a bit deeper on that and learn how did our airport get to where it is."

The growth of civil aviation outstripped the airport's facilities and by 1963, a new terminal was constructed. In 1966, it was re-named the North Bay Jack Garland Airport.

"Our airport is more than just an airport. It has been an RCAF base. During the 1950s, there was a $6 million upgrade,” said Gear.

The museum received a large portion of the photographs and records for the exhibit from the son of the former airport manager. And Gear worked with 22 Wing heritage officer Doug Newman to bring the exhibit to new heights.

“One hundred and eleven years of aviation -- most people in the city, even up at the air force base and airport -- aren't aware that we have an extensive history in North Bay and area," said Newman.

The exhibit will be on display until early October.