Wings Magazine

Callander museum highlights Earhart

The Callander Bay Heritage Museum will display an exhibit to honour one of the most controversial figures of the 20th century. In 1937, famed aviator Amelia Earhart came to Callander to visit the Dionne quintuplets just weeks before she disappeared over the Pacific Ocean on July 2.

July 4, 2017  By

The exhibit, which opened on the weekend, covers her life as a child up until her disappearance – including many of the theories and mysteries surrounding it.

Born in Atchison, Kan., on July 24. 1897 to parents of German descent, Earhart would become one of the most famous female aviators.

It wasn’t until 1918 when a stunt plane dived head first at her during an air fair in Toronto that she felt a calling in aviation.

“I am sure he said to himself, ‘Watch me make them scamper,'” she said in her book, Last Flight. “I did not understand at the time, but I believe that little red airplane said something to me as it swished by.”


Earhart arrived in Toronto in 1917 to visit her sister, Grace. After seeing the returning wounded from the battlefields of Europe during the First World War, Earhart decided to stay and volunteered to work at the Spadina Military Hospital where she would prepare food in the kitchen and hand out medication while training with the Red Cross to become a nurse’s aid.

In 1918, the Spanish flu seeped into Canada, giving Earhart many busy nights at the hospital – and leaving her bedridden with pneumonia and a sinus infection from November to December. The sinus infection would plague Earhart’s health for the rest of her life.

Her family reunited in California in 1920. Again, her father accompanied her to an airfield in Long Beach on Dec. 28, where Frank Hawks, an air racer, gave her a 10-minute ride costing $10. After the ride, Earhart would enrol in flying lessons costing $1,000 she raised by various jobs.

While many regard Earhart as the top ace of female aviators, her teacher, Anita Snook, had an impressive resume herself.


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