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Trailblazers pushing boundaries socially, politically, creatively or in business.
Maverick of the Year: Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail
Author / President, Canadian Aviation Historical Society
When a plane flies overhead, Danielle Metcalfe-Chenail’s husband will joke, “That’s a Turbo Beaver!” Danielle can’t help chiming in, “Actually, it’s a Turbo Otter, probably converted at Viking Air in Victoria.” At 29, she is the youngest president, and the first female one, of the Canadian Aviation Historical Society (CAHS), whose membership is largely older men. Although she grew up in a family of aviation nuts (her grandfather flew Lancaster bombers in the Second World War and her father took her flying when she was young), the Edmonton-based writer isn’t a pilot. “I’ve met a lot of plane crazy people — they’re very mechanical and love to know how things work,” she says. “I’ve never been like that. I’m a historian — I like dusty archives and interviewing people about their stories.” Danielle joined the CAHS while researching her first book, For the Love of Flying: The Story of Laurentian Air Services, and was named president last year. Now, she’s working on a novel about a female bush pilot in the ’30s and a history of aviation in the North. “A lot of the stories that haven’t been told involve women, First Nations and non-white Canadians, so my research centres on those groups,” she says. “My dad can’t get over the fact that I’m going to Yellowknife to talk to ice pilots and getting rides in DC-3s and Norsemans with [legendary northern aviator] ‘Buffalo’ Joe McBryan at the controls. I’m having so much fun!”
Meet the rest of Canada’s top trailblazers:
Learn more about each of our Finalists. Read their stories.
2011 Women of the Year Winner Categories
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How the winners were selected:
Winners were chosen based on their work and accomplishments in combination with votes by Chatelaine readers and our Leadership Panel.