Canadian Aviatrix #18 – Florence Spencer (1893-1964)

Florence Elizabeth Spencer was born on 16 March 1893 in North Dakota to Mark Spencer (a farmer) and Jeanette Eusetia Weir.

Mark was born in England and moved to Canada as a young man. He married Charlotte Gardiner and they had at least five children – Anne and Andrew surviving to adulthood. In 1874, Charlotte died of ovarian dropsy. Mark was remarried to Jane by the 1881 census. It’s unclear what happened to Jane, but in 1892, he remarried again, to Jeanette.


1901 census

1906 census

1911 census

1921 census


Leduc AB

Strathcona AB

London ON

Westminster ON

















Florence married Henry William Miller in 1920, but by 1921 was living with her parents, working as a stenographer and calling herself single. (Henry remarried in 1929, then a third time in 1937.)

On 5 May 1930, Florence passed her flying test and received PPL #514, making her the eighteenth female pilot in Canada. She was 37 years old.

On 2 July 1930, Florence became the third woman to get her commercial pilot’s license. She was also secretary of the London Flying Club. In September, she made the record for the longest solo flight by a woman in Canada, when she flew from Ottawa to London in five hours. She was also the first woman to take off from the Rockliffe Airport in Ottawa.

In the 1931 census, Florence is 38, working as a stenographer and living with a boarder in London, ON.

In the late 1930s, Florence married Frederick Charles Fetherstonhaugh Parkinson and they operated a direct mail advertising business together. In 1946, the couple moved to Langley BC, where Fred was involved in the Scouts and Florence enjoyed gardening.

Florence died in 1964, aged 71. Sadly, I haven’t been able to find a photo of her yet.

Note: Florence 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 and the dates of her private and commercial licenses.

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots





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