Want a free review copy of Polar Winds?

Are you a professional reviewer or reader? My publisher, Dundurn Press, recently posted the electronic advanced reader copy on NetGalley. You can request a copy by clicking here. Hope you enjoy it! And of course, if you’d like to post a review or rating to Goodreads, Amazon, or Chapters-Indigo that would be much appreciated!



Book Tour Part 1: Toronto, Yellowknife, Whitehorse

Polar Winds is set to launch and I’m so excited to hit the road and celebrate with the people who made this book possible (and who want to read it!). I hope you’ll come out and raise a glass with me this fall.

The first leg of this self-directed tour brings me to three great cities, Toronto, Whitehorse, and Yellowknife. I’d like to thank Air Canada and my friends at Air North for helping make these trips possible!

247 On Thursday, September 25 join me at The Pilot pub in downtown Toronto from 5-7pm. We’ll be in a section at the back of the main floor. Apparently it was built in 1944 and has lots of aviation connections, so a fitting scene for the book party!

The evening of Friday, September 26, I’ll be receiving the Rising Star award from the lovely people at the Elsie MacGill Foundation’s Northern Lights Awards in Vaughan, Ontario (just north of Toronto). I am so honoured and can’t wait to meet fellow recipients Roberta Bondar, Lynne McMullen, Eva Martinez, Sandra McDonald, and Nachelle White. With 300 attendees, it promises to be a grand evening! Tickets are $100 and can be purchased by clicking here.



On Sunday, September  28 at 1pm join us in the Café of the Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories for cake and conversation. Judith from the Book Cellar will have copies of both my books for sale and signing, and hopefully we’ll have a couple of special guests to add their autographs. We’ll celebrate in there until we get the boot at 2:30pm, then we can continue to chat in the aviation gallery. I spent a lot of time here in the archives in 2011 and can’t wait to get back!




On Tuesday, September 30, I’ll be doing a book signing at Mac’s Fireweed Books in Whitehorse, Yukon from noon to 1pm. I can’t wait to chat with folks on their lunch breaks – hopefully a few friendly faces from my time in the Yukon in 2010 and 2011 will stop by!









From 6-9pm on Tuesday, September 30 we’ll have the big party at the Yukon Transportation Museum, which is hosting the event. There will be wine and Yukon Brewing Co. beer for sale, and free nibblies. Come hobnob with folks from the aviation, heritage, arts, and writing communities in town and have a great time!



Then in October I’ll be involved in a series of events here in Edmonton and environs before jetting off to Ottawa, Montreal, Red Deer and Calgary in November. December I’ll return to the coast for dates in Victoria and Vancouver. Keep checking back here and on my Speaking page for more info, or sign up for my e-newsletter through the contact page or by emailing me directly. If you’d like me to do an event in your city or Skype in for a class, community, group, etc – please get in touch!

Book Launch and Free Writing Workshop in Jasper, Alberta

Writing Workshop Poster LongBook Launch Final Revised


July #yeghistory round up!


Finally went to the RAM for a tour. Really impressed with their programming and plans for the future and the exhibits were pretty darn cool, too!


Loved all the fibre art decorating front steps and trees because of the Western Threads exhibit.

Display table at the Telephone Museum inside the Prince of Wales Armouries. This was during the Historic Festival & Doors Open kick-off event on July 6.


My grandmother was a “Hello Girl” back in Montreal in the 1930s, so it was neat learning about some of the history here.


The EDHS team was behind this great event – thanks for all their hard work!


The theme this year was “Many Voices, Many Stories, One City” so there were great displays from different cultural groups around Edmonton.


Had a great chat with these folks and hope to attend the Harmony Brunch next March. My favourite table might have been the Mandarin-English bilingual school one, though. They had this neat stick fortune set-up. Mine said to keep doing community and charity work and all my wishes will come true. Done!


There were dances and performances all afternoon, including an official “drum-in” by Nii Koney for speakers and dignitaries. Hope to see some of these performances at Heritage Festival this weekend too!


There were lots of wares and food for sale. Really tempting!


Some of the Fort Edmonton Park interpretive team did a little skit and were on hand to teach visitors about Edmonton’s past eras. It was great seeing some familiar faces from the discussions in June, too!

Amazing Aviatrix Vi Milstead Passes Away at 95

vi milstead 250
Vi Milstead (Warren) in 1946 prior to flying Miss Canada
to Washington.

Photo Courtesy – CASM

CAHS Member # 2490

October 17, 1919 – June 27, 2014

Vi passed gently on June 27 surrounded by caregivers and her good friend Marilyn Dickson. In the background Vera Lynn was singing White Cliffs of Dover while goldfinches looked in from their feeder just outside her window.

Born in Toronto October 17, 1919 to Edith and Harold Milstead, Vi had one brother Fred. All have predeceased her.

As a young teenager Vi wanted to be a surgeon, but when her mother opened a wool shop, Vi was taken out of school, thus ending that dream. In the meantime Vi set her sights on aviation. Vi helped out in her mother’s shop, saving all of her earnings to pay for flying lessons. When she began flying lessons, her instructor had a film made, Let’s Learn To Fly, starring Vi. No doubt he chose Vi to demonstrate that “even girls can learn to fly”. Soon after she completed her Private Pilot License, her mother sold the wool shop and Vi lost her income source. So she started her own business to earn money to pay for her commercial lessons.

Within the next 10 years, besides owning and operating a business in north Toronto, Vi taught others to fly at Barker Field. When civilian flying ceased during WW II, Vi joined the Air Transport Auxiliary in England, delivering airplanes from factories to the military bases. With the ATA Vi logged over 600 hours on 47 different types of aircraft, 74 if we count different marks. As a First Officer, she was qualified on all but the four engine planes. After the war, Vi instructed again at Barker Field. One of the highlights of this time was flying 1946 Miss Canada to Washington to invite the President of the United States to Toronto for Canada’s first international air show. While at Barker Field Vi met Arnold, the man she later married. They moved to Sudbury, instructing and flying as bush pilots. They also worked stints at the Windsor Flying Club, and then on the Sagamo on Muskoka Lakes before moving to Indonesia where Arnold taught flying. Though officials gave Vi a piece of paper allowing her to fly in Indonesia, they would not hire a woman as an instructor.

Once Arnold completed the terms of his contract, they returned to Canada where they found more lucrative employment, Arnold at a community college and Vi as a librarian at Orenda and then the Ontario Water Commission. They continued to fly recreationally after retirement, between the Magdalen Islands and Colborne.

Vi was active in several Colborne organizations such as Inner Wheel (Rotary), Second Helpings, Meals on Wheels and volunteering in the elementary school. Some of the Rotary exchange students continued to keep in touch with Vi. Vi was a gracious hostess, warmly welcoming guests and wanting them to be comfortable. Vi deeply missed Arnold after his death in June, 2000, but she welcomed new friends in her life, particularly Marian Carter. They enjoyed wonderful times together until Marian’s passing.

Vi has received many awards for her flying career and her community work, including an Amelia Earhart Medal, a Paul Harris Medal, the Rusty Blakey Memorial award, an Order of Canada, a Diamond Jubilee Medal, and induction into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.

Vi knew how she wanted to live her life and could be feisty if she sensed other people’s plans interfered with hers.

Her wish to stay at home with her dog, in her beautiful log house was possible because of the loving care of a wonderful team of caregivers, as well as the St. Elizabeth personal support workers, nurses and others who attended to Vi’s personal needs. Neighbours, relatives and friends visited, often bringing some of Vi’s favourite food, a book, article or photos. Visits usually included stimulating conversation over a glass of sherry.

Vi will be deeply missed and fondly remembered by several nieces and nephews and their families, Arnold’s three daughters and their families, as well as neighbours and friends. This tiny woman will leave a huge hole in our lives!

There was be a celebration of Vi’s life on Saturday, July 5 at 1:30 p.m. with visitation starting at 12:30 at MacCoubrey’s Funeral Home, Colborne. Following the service all were invited to a reception at the Colborne United Church. Memorial donations are welcome for the Vi Milstead and Arnold Warren Flight Training Scholarship Fund, the David Suzuki Foundation or a charity of your choice.


*this was taken from the Canadian Aviation Historical Society newsletter. To become a member or receive its free newsletter, please visit www.cahs.ca

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