Canadian Aviatrix #17 – Alex Samarow (1900-1991)

Edith Alexandra Samarow (known as Alex or Alexa) was born on 24 May 1900 in Montreal, Quebec, to Professor Otto Boris von Konigsberg de Samarow (a Russian pedagogue and piano virtuoso, who had been a pupil of Rubinstein and Liszt) and Edith Manon Von Rappard.

Otto died in 1919 and, by 1921, Edith and her two daughters were living with Edith’s father and two lodgers.


1921 census


Sainte-Agathe QB

Eugene Von Rappard









Alex attended the Margaret Eaton School in Toronto – one of the few schools in Canada providing advanced education for women at the time. It initially focussed on dramatic arts and literature, but by 1926, specialized in physical education. Alex graduated in 1927 and taught in several private schools.

On 3 March 1930, Alex passed her flying test and received PPL #512, making her the seventeenth female pilot in Canada. She was 20 years old.

Canadian Aviatrix #17 – Alex Samarow (1900-1991)

Photo: The Leader Post (July 5, 1930)

By July, she owned her own plane – thought to be the first woman in Canada to do so. It was a Moth biplane with silver wings, yellow struts, a blue fuselage, and black top decking with a yellow stripe. “Nobody would want to drive a shabby car and why would they enjoy an airplane which is not attractive?”

In October 1931, she moved to North Bay for the winter, in order to complete her training for a commercial license. She doesn’t appear to have attained the license.

Alex’s flying experience wasn’t always smooth. When she was still a student, she was a passenger on a cross country flight for another student’s commercial test. The pilot got lost and had to make a forced landing about three miles away from the intended destination. His face was partially frozen and he broke part of the landing gear in the field. In April 1931, she was a passenger in another forced landing – this time in her own plane. She was being flown to Detroit to attend the air show, but her pilot had struggled in 60 mile an hour winds and run out of fuel. In December, the plane (without Alex on board) had yet another forced landing, but this time was seriously damaged.

By 1940, Alex was married to Albert Victor Green, who was in the RCAF and later operated a fruit orchard in Kelowna. He suffered from chronic bronchitis and emphysema for over 20 years, so the couple may have moved to the Okanagan for the climate.

Albert died in 1976. Alex died in 1991, aged 90.

Note: Alex was listed with an asterisk in No Place for a Lady – meaning the author hadn’t been able to find her. I just had her name, the date of her PPL, and the fact that she flew with the Toronto Flying Club.

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots





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