Make the inspirational story of Elsie MacGill part of your collection with this seven piece 2023 Collector Keepsake set from the Royal Canadian Mint. This set includes both a coloured and classic version of Canada’s new commemorative dollar coin together with numismatic uncirculated examples of each denomination usually issued for circulation. However, for 2023 all the regular design coins are special collector issues featuring the posthumous effigy of Queen Elizabeth II which will not be issued for circulation. The Royal Canadian Mint has announced that they are waiting until new King Charles III dies are ready before striking new classic design coins for circulation, making these special issue coins both unusual and highly collectible.
The commemorative dollar coin features a portrait of Elsie MacGill (1905-1980), an aeronautical pathbreaker and champion of women’s rights, indicated by the lapel pin she wears representing her tenures as provincial (Ontario) and national presidents of the Canadian Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs. The sky backdrop highlights some of MacGill’s historic engineering achievements, including the Maple Leaf Trainer II (top) – the first aircraft to be produced and designed by a woman – and her key role in the wartime production of Hawker Hurricanes, which is highlighted on the colourized coin.
Denominations include the 5 cent, 10 cent, 25 cent, commemorative dollar in colour, commemorative dollar with classic engraving, a loon dollar, and a $2 polar bear design coin.
About Elsie MacGill
Elsie was the first Canadian woman to graduate with a degree in electrical engineering, the first woman in North America with an advanced degree in aeronautics, and the world’s first woman to become an aircraft designer. She designed, oversaw production and was aboard the test flight of the Maple Leaf Trainer II. She was “Queen of the Hurricanes” and pivotal in the production of the Hawker Hurricane in Canada during World War II and designed a series of modifications including de-icing and skis to equip the plane for cold weather flying.
She went on to serve on aeronautical research and regulatory committees for the National Research Council and the United Nations. During her appointment to the Canadian Royal Commission on the Status of Women, she supported abortion and tax laws that made women responsible for themselves.
Among several awards, Elsie earned four honourary doctorates, made an officer of the Order of Canada, and The Ninety-Nines, Inc., International Organization of Women Pilots presented her with the Amelia Earhart Memorial Scholarship medallion.
All her work and achievements were accomplished even though she contracted polio at the age of 24. The only thing that this stopped was her deep desire to obtain a pilot’s certificate. However, from the rear seat of the Maple Leaf Trainer and for thousands of hours hovering over her engineering drafting table, Elsie flew.