On 9/11/01, when the US closed its airspace due to the terrorist attacks, all the other planes in the sky that were headed to the US had to go somewhere, and where they went was Canada. Many communities across Canada took them in, but none more spectacularly than Gander, Newfoundland.

Gander has an enormous runway for historical reasons. It was an ideal refuelling point midway from the US to Europe, which was used by the Allies in WWII (when Newfoundland was not yet a part of Canada but was run by a joint British-Newfoundland commission of government) and until the end of the Soviet Union by planes going from Moscow-Cuba.


So on 9/11, 38 jumbo jets landed at Gander airport, effectively doubling the size of the town of fewer than 10,000. The people there were extraordinarily generous, giving food, drink, clothing, showers, and pretty much everything they had. Tom Brokaw did a great piece on it during the Vancouver Olympics:

And now, their story is a musical. 30 second trailer here:

5 minutes here:

It’s in Washington, DC until 9 October, then Toronto, then Broadway in February. Go see it if you can!

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