Canadian Aviatrix #26 – Enid Norquay (1912-2006)

Enid Marjorie Isobel Norquay was born on 22 November 1912 in Edmonton, Alberta, to Alexander Norquay and Julia Alberta McCauley. Her father was a magistrate for the Northwest Territories and the son of the sixth Premier of Manitoba. Her mother was a well-known curler and horsewoman and the daughter of the first mayor of Edmonton.

1906 census

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1926 census

Edmonton AB

Humboldt SK

Edmonton AB

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Enid lived a privileged life – regularly hosting events for Edmonton society, as well as dancing, performing, playing the piano, and entering golf tournaments. She also attended Alberta College North – studying music and the arts.

She was always fascinating by flying and persuaded her parents to let her take a flight to Winnipeg. She was so excited that she ate a whole box of chocolates on the first leg of the trip, used up all eight sick bags on the plane, and was removed by the pilot in Moose Jaw. The experience made her resolve to learn to fly, “to show the boys that girls were not sissies”.

On 23 November 1931, Enid passed her flying test and received PPL #928, making her the 26th female pilot in Canada. It was the day after her 19th birthday.

Canadian Aviatrix #26 – Enid Norquay (1912-2006) 

Photo: Edmonton Journal (February 4, 1932)

In 1932, Enid spent the summer touring England and met Lady Hay-Drummond, president of the Women’s Institute Association of Aeronautics, who offered to finance her commercial licence. Upon her return, she was elected as a director of the Edmonton and Northern Aero Club.

On 26 June 1933, Enid married William Lowell Hurst (she was 21, he was a 39-year-old bank manager). Four airplanes circled over the wedding reception. The couple honeymooned in Jasper, before setting up home in Saskatchewan. William didn’t approve of her continuing to fly, so she gave it up, and focussed on raising their two children.

William died in 1950 and Enid got remarried to Norman Stewart McDonald.

In 1958, they moved to Guadalajara, Mexico, and Enid began raising funds to build a concert hall – the Auditorio de la Ribera was opened in 1973. Enid was friends with Mexican President, Gustavo Diaz Ordaz, who owned a home in the same area – they played golf together and she received a special commendation from him for organizing a breakfast program for 200 children in need.

Enid remained active in bridge, swimming, badminton, tennis, curling and golf. She was also a writer – starting as a reporter for the aero club newsletter and later contributing to The Guadalajara Reporter, The Travelers Guide to Mexico, and the American Society of Mexico magazine. Her favourite topic was hummingbirds – she raised orphan birds on her terrace, feeding them with an eyedropper, and some became tame enough to perch on her finger. Maybe they sensed a fellow flying enthusiast!

Enid died in 2006, aged 93.

The First 100 Canadian Women Pilots





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