ARCHIVED - Public Safety Minister Toews and Transport Minister Lebel congratulate Gander on their 9/11 community resilience award

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September 8, 2011 - The Honourable Vic Toews, Canada's Minister of Public Safety and the Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities, made the following statement in recognition of the award received by the Town of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador for its efforts to assist stranded airline passengers following the events of September 11th, 2001.

“In response to the tragic events of September 11th, 2001, U.S. airspace was shut down, requiring Transport Canada to order the diversion of 238 aircraft to Canadian airports across the country. Stranded passengers and crews everywhere received a warm reception from Canadians, who showcased the best aspects of our national character, and exemplified the special friendship we share with our American neighbours.

The people of Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador have become an iconic symbol of unity and compassion. A community of fewer than 10,000 people, they opened their hearts and homes to welcome over 6,500 stranded passengers and crew from the 38 planes that were diverted there. The whole town of Gander spent the days that followed doing their best to comfort their guests and make them feel at home at a time of great anxiety and sorrow.

This extraordinary generosity did not go unnoticed. Strong links between Gander and a range of American communities continue to this day. Today, the Mayor of Gander, Claude Elliott, accepted the International Community Resilience Award from the Washington, DC-based Center for National Policy.

All Canadians can take pride in the actions of the host communities, and particularly the town of Gander, during those difficult days following September 11th, 2001. On behalf of the Government of Canada, we extend our congratulations to the people of Gander for this well-deserved recognition.”

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

Media Relations
Transport Canada, Ottawa

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