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Learn about the history of flight in Canada at this hidden gem museum in Metro Vancouver (PHOTO)

The Canadian Museum of Flight is a great "layover" spot for anyone interested in aviation and B.C. history.

As small aircraft take off and land on the adjoining runway you can journey back in time to discover the history of flight in Canada at a small museum in Langley.

The Canadian Museum of Flight, staffed by passionate volunteers, is a great "layover" spot for anyone interested in aviation and B.C. history.

The tiny hidden gem of a museum has called YNJ - the Langley Regional Airport - home for nearly three decades and takes pride in its eclectic collection of books, memorabilia, and aircraft.

Guests can set off on a self-guided tour of the museum, looping through the outdoor yard with all sorts of engines and aircraft to get up close and personal with. Some come with plaques to describe the often unique origins and life spans of the aircraft. During non-COVID times, people can climb aboard some of the planes and choppers. The popular favourite with kids is the Sikorsky S-55 (UH-19) RCAF chopper. 

Among the collection are a Canadair CT-114 Tutor that was used in the 1970s for the Snowbirds, a salvaged Handley Page Hampden (it's got a torpedo and flew only once before crashing in B.C. waters), and several other small aircraft - including a few that can still fly. 

Inside the hangar, which is packed with aviation ephemera like the plates and utensils used decades ago aboard trans-Canadian flights or flight attendant uniforms, you can immerse yourself in the tales of the earliest years of flight in Canada, from the rousing success to the heartbreaking losses, such as the 1956 Trans-Canada Air Lines Flight 810 crash at Mount Slesse.

Don't forget to look up - the ceiling has a few more treasures to behold, including a beautiful glider.

A separate area outside houses several engines - if that's your speed.

People can enjoy the whole museum doing a quick perusal in about 45 minutes to an hour, while those who are true flying fans  - or who are accompanying older family members who are connected to Canada's aviation history - may end up spending several hours at the museum.

An outdoor area next to the museum building is free and open to the public for sitting down and picnicking with a view of the YNJ airstrip.

The Canadian Museum of Flight is open Wednesday to Sunday, by pre-booked time slots. Visits can be booked by calling 604-532-0035. Admission is $10 for adults; $7 for seniors and youth; $25 for families (up to two adults and five children); and kids 6 and under are free. The museum is located at Hangar #3 - 5333 216th St in Langley, B.C.