Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Persons Day - Think about it!

Today is Persons Day in Canada which commemorates when Canadian women were legally recognized as Persons in 1929. This significant event opened a wide range of possibilities to women including being able to sit in the Senate and opened more avenues for women in various other avenues of life.

When I talk about Elsie MacGill seeing societal change I usually reference women earning the vote in the provinces and nationally and Persons Day because these events occurred early in her life and had demonstrated what could be possible, and she never stopped believing in women's power to effect change! 

Take some time to reflect on this important history via some of these sources:

Women and Gender Equality Canada



Friday, October 6, 2023

Top flight way to celebrate Women's History Month!!

October is Women's History Month is Canada!  It is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the incredibly diverse ways that Canadian women have helped shape our country's history!  My publisher Second Story Press has a fantastic promotion to help you celebrate: for each copy of Queen of the Hurricanes: The Fearless Elsie MacGill that is sold via their website, a commemorative $1 circulation coin will be included! 

Don't miss this great opportunity! 

For more information, see their Facebook page!

#ElsieMacGill #RoyalCanadianMint #FeministHistory #Women'sHistoryMonth #HawkerHurricane #Promotion

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Remembering Monique Bégin

It was with sadness that I heard the news that Monique Bégin had passed away. She was such a trailblazer and was one of the only people besides Elsie MacGill who was a self-proclaimed feminist prior to working on the Royal Commission on the Status of Women. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during those meetings, to learn from all the debates and discussions that took place, and Monique was there through it all. 

Her career after the Report of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women was published is distinguished including both important political files as an MP and key academic roles at the University of Ottawa. I was privileged to be able to speak to her briefly during my research and that is something that I hold dear. 

For more information on this incredible feminist see: 

-the CBC article

-The Canadian Encyclopedia 

Friday, September 8, 2023

Great article by John Chalmers!

I have had the pleasure of connecting with John Chalmers, of the The Canadian Aviation Historical Society Membership on more then one occasion regarding Elsie MacGill over the years. His recent article about the launch of the $1 commemorative circulation coin honouring Elsie MacGill is a wonderful account of that special day!

Monday, August 7, 2023

The BPW Connection


It was great to reconnect with some friends from the Business and Professional Women’s Clubs during the $1 commemorative coin launch honouring Elsie MacGill. During Elsie’s lifetime the organization was known as the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women, and she played a prominent position in the organization as a member, then as provincial President of Ontario (1956-58 and subsequently national president (1962-64).

It was therefore fitting to see Karin Gorgerat, BPW Immediate Past National President, Shannon McEwing, BPW Canada First Vice President, and Colleen Babiuk-Ilkiw BPW Canada Vice President, at the event!

Thursday, August 3, 2023

Adding a special material history touch to a special event!

There is something truly special when someone goes out of their way to make a special day spectacular. Bert Furlong did that for me at the Hangar Flight Museum at the launch of the $1 commemorative coin honouring Elsie MacGill. He had obtained an original patch from the Canadian Car and Foundry plant (presently Bombardier Inc.) in Fort William, Ontario (presently Thunder Bay, Ontario).

I had never seen one of these before, but the importance of the material history was clear. In aviation history it is easy to get star struck by the leading actors of material history which are usually the aircraft themselves. This is understandable when you are standing in front of a multi-million-dollar piece of technology.  

While this patch could be seen insignificant in comparison, the reality is that it was a personal artifact that one of the members of Canadian Car and Foundry owned. It was a sign of identity and belonging to an important team that helped produced 1400+ Hawker Hurricane aircraft during the Second World War which made an important contribution to the Battle of Britain. Behind every aircraft were teams of supporting actors that dealt with design details and the actual construction and assembly of these planes, and many of them were women.

Historical research often requires a blend of historical resources (paper (documents and books), oral, paper, etc.) and it is truly special to see the unique material pieces as it further illuminates the story and gives it an increased personal touch. 

Thanks for sharing this great resource Bert!

Wednesday, August 2, 2023

Seeing an idea become reality: The $1 Elsie MacGill commemorative circulation coin

 Almost a year ago, I received a text from Matt Traversy at the Royal Canadian Mint. He told me that the Royal Canadian Mint was starting work on a proposal for a $1 commemorative circulation coin that would feature Elsie MacGill, and he wanted to know if I would be able to help out with the project. I am always happy to help amplify the Elsie’s story, and I was happy to support this idea.

Over the months, Matt and me had great exchanges about how to ensure the design was fully reflective of Elsie’s ability to weave together her strong ties to the engineering and feminist worlds. It was a fascinating process, and I learned a lot along the way from his insightful questions and comments as he sought to ensure she was well-depicted on the coin and that her story was accurately told in the supporting materials.

Once the project got the green light, I also had the opportunity to assist with the review of the various publicity materials that the incredible team at the Royal Canadian Mint engineered ranging from their dynamic landing page to the fascinating promotional video that emphasizes the need for young women to reflect on Elsie’s story while drafting their own unique flight paths!

If you haven’t had a chance to see these resources and the video, they are available via the Royal Canadian Mint. Just click HERE to go direct!


Being asked to serve as the emcee for the launch event was truly an honour! Working with the onsite team leading up to and at the unveiling of the coin in Calgary, Alberta at the Hangar Flight Museum provided a glimpse of professional efficiency at its best. Special shout out to Deneen Perrin, Alex Reeves, Pascale Poulin, Tyler Rabb, and Leanne Lovsin who ensured the take-off was smooth and turbulence free!

Thanks again to the whole Royal Canadian Mint team for the opportunity to help send this coin soaring, and my you all have unlimited horizons!