March 11th, 2013 - Stewards of Cootes
THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR
MONDAY, MARCH 11, 2013
TIRED OF POLLUTERS
Colin Fox helps stack a massive pile
of tires that were recovered from
the Cootes Paradise watershed as
part of an ongoing cleanup involving
the RBG and the Stewards of the
Cootes Watershed, a local
environmental group. The cleanup
continues with another event
scheuled for March 24 at Princess
Below left, Truaxe Fox, 8, and his
sister Mecca, 5, help sort and stack
Below right, Tys Theysmeyer from
the Royal Botanical Gardens helps
move some debris.
PHOTOS BY BARRY GRAY
THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR
Role models of the runway
STORIES BEHIND LOCAL PLACE NAMES
new display celebrates
women in aviation
THE PLACE: On Anson Avenue, near
Upper Ottawa Street and Mohawk
THE NAME: It is named for Sir
John Lisgar, one of the country’s
earliest governors general.
The Hamilton Spectator
The Canadian Warplane Heritage
Museum has unveiled what it’s calling the nation’s ﬁrst exhibit of trailblazing women in aviation.
The most highly prized item in it
is the ﬂight suit worn by Canada’s
ﬁrst licensed female pilot, Eileen
Vollick, who spent some time training in Hamilton.
After the Canadian Air and
Space Museum was evicted from its
Downsview location in 2011, Vollick’s family worried the suit would
end up in the back of a closet.
“It’s made the rounds, but (Hamilton) is its home now,” said granddaughter Martha Lawrence.
The exhibit launched Sunday is a
culmination of Women in Aviation
Wiarton-born Vollick trained in
Hamilton at the Flying School at
Ghent’s Crossing on Burlington
Bay in the 1920s before obtaining
The former textile worker then
ﬂew across the country, and made
trips into the United States. She also
took up aerobatic ﬂying.
After she married, Vollick moved
to New York State, where she lived
until her death in 1968.
In 1975 she was posthumously
awarded an Amelia Earhart Medallion by the Ninety-Nines, an international organization of women pilots, and a plaque was installed in
her honour outside the CWH museum in 1976.
Growing up, Lawrence always
heard stories of her adventurous
grandmother’s life in the sky.
“I’d always heard the stories that
she’d walked the wings, that she’d
parachuted … but she was just
Grandma. It wasn’t until the NineC
GARY YOKOYAMA, THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR
CONTINUED FROM // A1
Captain Kim Wilton speaks of her experiences flying helicopters during the
event at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum Sunday.
ty-Nines got involved that I realized, wow, she’s kind of a big deal,”
Vollick is indeed still an inspiration for girls such as 15-year-old
Vanessa Leger. The Stouffville cadet has dreamt of becoming a pilot
since she was forming her ﬁrst
words, and couldn’t wait for the exhibit to open.
“I think it’s pretty important for
more people to be aware that there’s
room for females in this ﬁeld,” she
Captain Kim Wilton would
agree. After a career in truck driving, she said she found the Royal
Canadian Air Force much more
welcoming. Still, only 6.5 per cent of
Canadian pilots are women.
“It’s deﬁnitely a career-driven
life, it can be hard to have children,”
Wilton admits, though she said she
knows plenty of pilots who have
managed to balance career and
She can’t say enough about the
perks of her job, and says the ﬁeld
has changed dramatically even in
“I’ve learned that if I do my job
well, I earn my reputation … I always say to young women: pick the
jobs that are traditionally male,
they pay better,” she joked.
“(In Afghanistan) I was in
charge. I bossed guys around all
day and I never had any problems.”
Wilton got into the air force after
realizing how expensive it would be
to get her commercial licence. She’d
fallen in love with helicopters after
watching one land at a Vancouver
airport while on a delivery, and never looked back.
Today, she ﬂies Chinooks (heavylift helicopters) in Afghanistan.
“They’re just so cool,” she said.
Photos from her missions and
others throughout history are part
of the CWH display.
Lesley Price, chairperson of the
First Canadian Chapter of NinetyNines, said it is refreshing to hear
young women refer to aviation vocations as “cool.”
She hopes the permanent exhibit
at CWH will open the eyes of more
young women to the joys of ﬂying.
“Diversity in any industry is important, and this is not just about
piloting … it’s about science and
technology,” she said.
But Hamilton Councillor Sam Merulla said he believes it’s only a matter of time before that happens.
The Great Canadian Gaming Corporation said in a statement Saturday that it believes the conﬁrmed
continuation of OLG slots at the
tracks will be helpful in further discussions with the province to secure the horse racing funding.
Georgian Downs at Barrie, another track operated by Great Canadian Gaming, has also entered into
an agreement in principle with the
OLG to continue their slots program.
It has been a tumultuous time for
the horse racing industry after the
Dalton McGuinty government announced last year it planned to cancel the $345-million-a-year share of
slot machine revenues that went to
Flamborough MPP Ted McMeekin conceded recently that the budget announcement created “doom
and gloom” about the horse racing
But Flamborough Councillor
Robert Pasuta said this latest news
is encouraging for the local rural
Pasuta also said the announcement “makes Flamboro ofﬁcially vi-
THE STORY: Lisgar, previously a
lawyer, was Canada’s second GG,
serving from 1869 to 1872, at which
time he returned to his native
The Hamilton school — one of
several in the country to honour him
— opened in 1964.
able” for a casino.
Council declared Flamboro
Downs the preferred location for a
casino (should the city get one) in
February, unless it could be proved
The OLG announcement “supports our vision,” Pasuta said. “It
shows right now that everyone is
supporting our ﬁrst choice: Flamboro Downs and the Flamboro
OLG spokesperson Tony Bitonti
said Sunday that this agreement
does “not necessarily” rule out the
possibility of a downtown casino.
That decision will depend on the
request for proposal process to secure a private sector operator.
“All this does mean that we (the
slots) are legally there past March
31, 2013,” Bitonti said.
For now, Councillor Sam Merulla
said he “applauds the OLG for endorsing our original position.”
“From my perspective, it (the casino debate) should be over and I
look forward to it being over,” he
Despite this weekend’s good
news, the local horse racing industry will still be shrinking.
“The reality is, the industry is going to be smaller than it was and
we’ve said that all along … but
there’s room in Ontario for horse
racing,” Wynne said Friday.
Pasuta said he expects about twothirds of the horse racing industry