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Memorable Manitobans: Lela Ida Finlay McKay (1913-2002)

Flight attendant.

Born at Killarney on 16 June 1913, daughter of David Finlay and Ida Helen Magwood, she grew up on the family farm. She graduated from nursing at the Misericordia Hospital (1935) with a medal in surgical nursing. In 1939, she became the first Winnipeg-based stewardess with Trans Canada Airlines (Air Canada) and flew the Seattle-Vancouver route. The ten-seat Lockheed 10A Electra used on that route is now on exhibit in the Western Canada Aviation Museum. She was an original member of the Canadian Maple Wings Association, an association of former flight attendants, which raised funds for charity, supported Ronald McDonald House, and others. In 1986, she was honored to be one of eight former attendants to take part in Air Canada’s 50th Anniversary Sentimental Journey in a Lockheed 10 that flew across Canada, stopping in 50 Canadian cities on the way to Expo 86. She enjoyed golfing and bowling, was a member of the choir of Young United Church, served as President of the United Church Women, was a volunteer at the Western Canada Aviation Museum. She died at Winnipeg on 11 July 2002.


Birth registration, Manitoba Vital Statistics.

1921 Canada census, Ancestry.

Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 13 July 2002.

“They will never be forgotten” by Kevin Rollason, Winnipeg Free Press, 31 December 2002, page A8.

This page was prepared by Ian Stewart and Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 26 December 2016

Memorable Manitobans

Memorable Manitobans

This is a collection of noteworthy Manitobans from the past, compiled by the Manitoba Historical Society.

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