What is the "Elsie"?

The Elsie MacGill Northern Lights Award (the “Elsie”) is an annual award that honours outstanding women in aviation and aerospace in Canada. The purpose of the award is to celebrate the achievements of women and to motivate and inspire other women to  pursue opportunities in these industries. The award is named after Elsie MacGill, a Canadian who is acknowledged to have been the first female aircraft designer in the world. She designed the Maple Leaf II and was pivotal in the production of the Hawker Hurricane in Canada during the Second World War. MacGill also served on Canada’s Royal Commission on the Status of Women. Despite having a disability as a result of polio, MacGill went on to make very significant contributions to aviation and for women in Canada.


Who can be nominated?

  1. Business:

    A woman who has made a significant contribution, and has been a role model, in an aviation or aerospace-related business (owner/operator/entrepreneur, manager or administrator).

  2. Education:

    A woman who has been a role model or mentor, and has made a significant contribution for the inspiration, education, and advancement of women in aviation or aerospace, as a teacher, professor, motivational speaker, promoter, counselor, or researcher.

  3. Engineering:

    A woman who has made a significant contribution, and has been a role model in aviation or aerospace as an engineer or aircraft maintenance technician.

  4. Flight Operations:

    A woman who has made a significant contribution, and has been a role model, in the area of flight operations as a pilot.

  5. Government:

    A woman who has made a significant contribution, and has been a role model in aviation and aerospace services and programs, provided through governmental departments (regulatory oversight/policy and procedures, Search and Rescue, safety, air traffic control, military, medical, political advocacy, space programs).

  6. Rising Star:

    A woman between the ages of 16 and 30, who has demonstrated exceptional promise of leadership, and contribution, in any area of aviation and aerospace, or in a volunteer capacity.

  7. Trailblazer:

    A woman who was first or earliest in any field of enterprise, or progress, in the fields of aviation or aerospace. One who prepared or lead the way. This woman can be honoured in person or posthumously.


Candidate must be a Canadian woman (not an organization) who exhibits:

- determination and perseverance
- enthusiasm
- leadership
- personal accomplishments in aviation or aerospace
- the ability to inspire others
- a contribution over an extended period of time (exception: the Rising Star Award)

In addition, include details of the candidate’s involvement with associations inside and outside of aviation.

  1. All applicable parts of the nomination form must be completed.
  2. It is the responsibility of the nominator and seconder to verify the accuracy of the data provided. Please provide a date or range of dates as they apply to the nominee’s biography history and activities.
  3. Receipt of the nomination will be acknowledged.
  4. Nominations must be received by March 31st in order to be considered by the nominations review committee for that year.
  5. All nominations will remain active, for consideration, for five years from the date of submission. Following that, nominations must be resubmitted for consideration.  Note: The nominations review committee will accept any important new or updated information that can be added to a nominee’s narrative within the five year active timeframe.

Fill in the nomination form online below OR download a copy.

Nomination Form


Select from drop-down menu

Nominated by:

Seconded by:


Please describe the nominee’s contribution to aviation or aerospace, addressing EACH of the nomination criteria (maximum of 100 words for each criterion).