Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Queen of the Hurricanes to Return to Thunder Bay! December 22nd 2014

In 1938, Elsie Gregory MacGill arrived in Fort William, Ontario (now Thunder Bay).  She was ready to start a new and exciting position as Chief Aeronautical Engineer at Canadian Car and Foundry (now Bombardier). 

Elsie left the region suddenly in 1943, but a chance to discuss her incredible life as a a woman of many firsts, a famous war personality during the Second World War, and a prominent Canadian feminist will take place at the Thunder Bay Historical Museum on December 22nd, 2014 at 7pm!

I am looking forward to sharing this incredible story with you!


Sneak peak of pictures from the website:

Amazing Night at BPW Book Launch!

The book launch with BPW Ottawa was a wonderful evening!  Many thank to all the members of BPW Ottawa who organized such a wonderful event at Ottawa City Hall.  It was a great evening of socializing, and sharing the incredible accomplishments and life story of Elsie Gregory MacGill.

Elsie was definitely with us in spirit as a former Toronto Business and Professional Women's Club member, a former Ontario Provincial President and National President!  To share her story with BPW members and guests was a honour.

 BPW Ottawa members with Queen of the Hurricanes

Sunday, November 23, 2014

BPW Ottawa Book Launch! December 11, 2014

This is a quick announcement to let you know that BPW Ottawa will be hosting a book launch for Queen of the Hurricanes on December 11, 2014.  This launch is open to the public please register on event brite to allow for adequate planning for this fun social evening!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Amazing Evening with WISE Ottawa!

Tonight I had the privilege to speak to Ottawa's Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Ottawa about Queen of the Hurricanes.  It was a wonderful opportunity to share the history of Canada's first practicing woman engineer with current and future women in science and engineering. 

Elsie was involved with WISE since its creation and she also spoke to one of the early groups, and received honorary membership. 

WISE members have been very supportive of my research, and I am very grateful for their support and interest.  Thank you to all who came out tonight and for the excellent engaging Q&A session!

Over the weekend I will post photos on the blog and my website.

Next public book launch will be in Thunder Bay, Ontario on December 22nd! 

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Looking forward to WISE Taking Flight Event - November 13, 2014

The WISE Taking Flight book launch event is quickly approaching!  It is at the Colonel By building (RM 707) at the University of Ottawa at 6pm.  More information about the event is on the Facebook Invitation:

Elsie was an honorary member of WISE and supported it from its creation!

See you Thursday!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Good friends and good books!

Thanks to all who were able to come out to the FHS Ottawa book launch.  It was a wonderful evening full to the brim with good friends, good food and drink and great discussions about women's history!  Many thanks to Diana for organizing this event, you support throughout the journey has been much appreciated!

Queen of the Hurricanes Lands in Thunder Bay!

If you are eager to get you hands on a copy of the book right away it is now possible to pick-up a copy at the Northern Woman's Bookstore!

To do so please note the store hours below and the address.

Also don't forget that the Thunder Bay book launch in December 22, 2014, details below!  Books will be available for sale and signing at the launch as well.

Northern Woman's Bookstore:
Store hours: Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.
65 South Court Street
Thunder Bay Ontario P7B 2X2
Phone (807) 344-7979
Book Launch Information:
Event Date: Monday, December 22, 2014 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event Location: Thunder Bay Museum (425 Donald Street East)
Event Fee: Free. Everyone is welcome!
Event Contact Name: Dr. Michel S. Beaulieu
Event Contact Phone: (807) 343-8341
Event Contact E-mail:
Event Contact Web:

More information is available on the History Department's webpage for Lakehead University:

Facebook Events Page for RSVP:  

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Northern Lights Book Launch a Success!!

Thank you to everyone who was able to come out to the book launch last night!  It was a wonderful opportunity to see old friend and meet new ones!  Danielle and I had a wonderful time sharing the stories about our books and answering the amazing questions!

Thanks to:

  • Carolyn for her incredible organization, great spirits and wonderful touches such as the decorations that made the night so memorable!

  • Jim at Perfect Books - you helped make the event perfect!  It was wonderful working with you - and if you are in Ottawa Jim has additional signed copies of our books at his store!
  • Catherine for her great introductions, all the Twitter updates and her overall support for the event!
  • Alex for her great photos and videos to help us remember the event!
  • Everyone who attended!

Friday, October 17, 2014

Confirmed Speaking and Launch Dates

Things are moving pretty fast, actually they are flying along!  To help with the navigation of this site, here is the list of the confirmed speaking and launch dates.  More information for each event can be found by scrolling down the page.  I will continue to update the event posts so do not forget to review them for new information.

  • November 1st, 2014 (6-8pm):  Northern Lights:  Two New Books Explore Canada's Aviation Pioneers at the Canadian Aviation and Space Museum (Ottawa, ON)
  • November 5, 2014 (5:30 - 7pm):  Feminist History Society book launch (Ottawa, ON)
  • November 13, 2014 (6-8pm):  Women in Science and Engineering (Ottawa, ON)
  •  November 20, 2014 - TBC  
  • December 22, 2014 (7pm):  Thunder Bay Historical Museum (Thunder Bay, ON)

Book Launch in Thunder Bay Confirmed for December 22nd at 7pm!

I am happy to announce that I will speaking about my book, and copies will be available for sale in Thunder Bay, Ontario on December 22nd, 2014

This is a wonderful opportunity to share my work on Elsie with my home town of Thunder Bay! Elsie, who worked at Canadian Car and Foundry (now Bombardier) as the Chief Aeronautical Engineer during the Second World War has wonderful historical ties to the city.  As for me, even after she left Fort William in 1943 the she maintained contact with friends and family and an active interest in the region - in her records she has the announcement of the creation of the City of Thunder Bay!

Many thanks to Drs. Michel S. Beaulieu and Ron Harpelle for helping to get this launch off the ground!

Event Date:                                         Monday, December 22, 2014 - 7:00pm to 8:00pm
Event Location:                                   Thunder Bay Museum (425 Donald Street East)
Event Fee:                                           Free. Everyone is welcome!
Event Contact Name:                          Dr. Michel S. Beaulieu
Event Contact Phone:                          (807) 343-8341
Event Contact E-mail:               
Event Contact Web:                 

More information is available on the History Department's webpage for Lakehead University:

Facebook Events Page for RSVP:

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Feminist History Society Book Launch - Ottawa - November 5th, 2014

 Queen of the Hurricanes:  The Fearless Elsie MacGill is the fifth book in the Feminist History Society's collection of books about feminist history from the 1960s to 2010s.

For more information about the Feminist History Society see:

Monday, October 13, 2014

Elsie Gregory MacGill and Women and Science and Engineering (WISE) Ottawa - November 13, 2014

On November 13, 2014 I will be speaking as part of a panel to the members of the Ottawa Women and Science and Engineering (WISE) organization.  This is an exciting opportunity as Elsie was connected to WISE when it was just getting off the ground and became the organization's first honorary member on April 23rd, 1979.  

Event details:

Date:                                  November 13, 2014
Location:                            University of Ottawa, CBY A707 (Ottawa, ON)

For the Facebook event page see:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Queen of the Hurricanes and the Feminist History Society

Queen of the Hurricanes is a Feminist History Society book, and more information about this which is working to preserve the history of the Canadian women's movement between 1960 and 2010 organization is available at their website:

Many thanks to the members of the Feminist Historical Society for their support for this project when it was still in an embryonic state!


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Northern Lights: Two New Books Explore Canada's Aviation Pioneers

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail has been busy and we now have a Facebook Event Page for the November 1st book launch were we will both be presenting our books and doing signings.  As noted on the event page:

Queen of Hurricanes by Crystal Sissons
Come celebrate the launch of two new titles by authors Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail (Polar Winds: A Century of Flying the North (see more information below)) and Crystal Sissons (Queen of the Hurricanes: The Fearless Elsie MacGill) at this exciting event.

Polar Winds by Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail


There will be an engaging, illustrated talk by the authors followed by a Q&A and book signing. Guests will also be invited to join in a special themed cake and coffee and tea.

This event is generously being hosted by the Canada Aviation and Space Museum with additional sponsorships and promotional partnerships from: Women in Science and Engineering, Canadian Aviation Historical Society (National), and event coordinator Carolyn Leslie. If you would like to be added to this list, please contact Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail (

It is FREE and open to the public, but please RSVP by joining this event or sending a note to Danielle at the above email address by October 25.

We are happy to announce that Perfect Books will be onsite to assist in book sales during the event!

The event page is located at: 

Biographical Note - Crystal Sissons

Crystal Sissons is an independent historian and works at the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in Ottawa.  She completed her Master’s and Ph.D. in history at the University of Ottawa, after finishing undergraduate degrees in history and education at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Crystal is also active in a number of organizations, including the Business  and Professional Women’s Club of Ottawa within BPW Canada.

Biographical Note - Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail

Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail is an award-winning writer, speaker, and historian, and occasional CBC radio columnist. She is the author of For the Love of Flying (2009) and Polar Winds: A Century of Flying the North (2014), and is working on a children’s book, historical novel, and anthology project. She was writer-in-residence at Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon; Chatelaine’s  Maverick of the Year in 2011, and is currently serving as Edmonton’s Historian Laureate.

Monday, October 6, 2014

November 1st Launch Location Secured!

I am happy to announce that the November 1st book launch with Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail has been secured at the Canadian Aviation Space Museum!  Details so far:

November 1st, 2014

As soon as more information is available I will post it online.  Stay tuned!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Additional Pictures from the Elsie Gregory MacGill Northern Lights Awards

An excellent blog post has been put up by BK On the Scene with wonderful photos from this event. They really capture the magic of this powerful evening:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Joint Launch at the Ottawa Aviation Museum - November 1st, 2014

VENUE WILL BE CHANGING More information will be posted as soon as it is available

I am currently working on plans for a joint launch at the Ottawa Aviation Museum with fellow author Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail (for more information on her books, including her most recent one Polar Winds see: Stay tuned for more information!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Publication Information: Second Story Press

For the latest information on my book from Second Story Press please see:

Saturday, September 27, 2014

A Dream Realized - Flight Plan Executed

On Thursday, September 25th, 2014 I received surprising news, the softcover versions of my book Queen of the Hurricanes: The Fearless Elsie Gregory MacGill had arrived early in Toronto, and they were ready for me to pick-up! I had not expected them for at least another week, and it was really exciting news especially because I was headed to Toronto as a guest speaker at the Elsie Gregory MacGill Northern Lights Awards!

Through the wonders of technology arrangements were quickly made to ensure that the book would be onsite upon my arrival at the venue. It was a wonderful moment, more than a decade of work, and finally a book! And, what better way could there be for it to make its official debut than at a gala celebration of women in aviation? It was incredible to be at this event where such incredible women were being honoured: Dr. Roberta Bondar - Pioneer Award Eva Martinez - Business Award Lynne McMullen - Education Award Sandra McDonald - Government/Military Award Machelle White - Flights Operations/Maintenance Award Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail - Rising Star Award Congratulations to each and everyone of you - an may your horizons know know ending! It was also wonderful to share this evening with supporting friends from BPW Canada Valerie and Ethel Clarke who have supported the work since I met them in 2006:

My book is published by Second Story Press in Toronto and it is the fifth book of the Feminist History Society collection. As more information about the book becomes available I will post updates here on launches, ordering etc. For more information on the Elsie Gregory MacGill Northern Lights Awards see:

 Cheers, Crystal