The province of Saskatchewan in Canada and the Noorduyn Norseman played a pioneering role in the use of aircraft for air ambulance service. Though this may be a surprise to some, keep in mind the Saskatchewan government, led by Tommy Douglas, introduced the first provincial hospital insurance program in Canada during 1947.
With the inaugural flight on February 3, 1946, the service is the oldest organized non-military air ambulance service in North America. On day one, the first and only aircraft was Norseman CF-SAH, a Mark IV, serial number 21. In September of 1946, Saskatchewan purchased serial N29-27, a brand new Mk. V for the air ambulance program and registered it CF-SAM.
Fast forward to 2020 and the airplane can be seen wearing its original identity on static display at the Western Development Museum (WDM) in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan. SAM spent almost all air time over the north half of the province for the government, then subsequent commercial operators before being donated to the WDM.
In 1982 CF-SAM was commemorated on a Canadian 60 cent postage stamp.
The WDM is a collection of four separate museums located in Moose Jaw, North Battleford, Saskatoon and Yorkton that record the social and economic development of the province. Located at the north side of town, the WDM Moose Jaw branch focus is on modes of transportation and is easily accessed off the Trans-Canada Highway. Well worth a visit!