Canadian Aviatrix #14 – Marjorie Chauvin

Marjorie Jean Chauvin was born around 1909 in Edmonton, Alberta, to Ernest Edward Chauvin (founder of a real estate and insurance firm, and Secretary of the Edmonton Hockey Club during their Stanley Cup run in 1908-09) and Esther Jean Anderson.

1906 census

1916 census

1921 census

Edmonton AB

Edmonton AB

Edmonton AB

Ernest

29

39

42

Essie

27

37

40

Allyn

3m

10

15

Marjorie

-

7

12

 

The household also included a live-in maid. In 1923, Ernest underwent an operation for appendicitis, failed to recover, and died.

For her fifteenth birthday, Marjorie was given a flight with Wop May and her love of flying was born. She threatened to sue the Northern Alberta and Edmonton Aero Club if they didn’t teach her and Elsie (#11).

On 28 December 1929, Marjorie passed her flying test and received PPL #480, making her the fourteenth female pilot in Canada. She was around 20 years old.

Canadian Aviatrix #14 - Marjorie Chauvin

Photo: The Ottawa Citizen (October 26, 1931)

She was offered a position with Manning Airways in Toronto, which gave her the opportunity to continue flying. By 1931, she was with the Aero Corporation of Canada, flying Aeronca planes for demonstrations and dealing with the administrative aspects of clearing airplanes through Customs.

She was a fan of “barnstorming” – flying to remote farmer’s fields, landing and letting the public look at the aircraft, then charging a small fee for short flights. During the winter months, she took weekly classes in mechanics.

On 15 February 1936, Marjorie married Jack Herity – advertising manager of the Canadian Coleman Company. The couple shared a love of the outdoors and had a summer home at Young’s Point. On his retirement in 1969, Jack was said to be “one of Canada’s best known outdoor personalities”.  

Marjorie was definitely trying to make her career in aviation, but the examiner for her commercial pilot’s license made “improper advances” and failed her. Jack was in poor health, so Marjorie gave up flying in order to look after him.

It’s unclear when Marjorie died, but it may have been before ‘No Place for a Lady’ was written, as only Jack was interviewed by Mrs Render.

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots