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New special loonie honours legendary Vancouver-born engineer and feminist

She was the world's first female aircraft engineer.
Vancouver-born Elsie MacGill was the world's first female aircraft engineer.

Elsie MacGill was an impressive woman.

She was the world's first female aircraft engineer. She was the first woman to design an aircraft (the Maple Leaf Trainer II, which was notable for its high altitude performance). She was a feminist and women's rights advocate. She survived polio as a young woman.

She was also born and raised in Vancouver; in fact, her mother was the first female judge in B.C. She even was taught by Emily Carr and Joe Fortes (art and swimming, respectively).

She went on to become a giant of the Canadian aeronautics engineering world and was dubbed the "Queen of the Hurricanes" during WWII; the Hawker Hurricane was one of the major fighter planes for the British and Canadian air forces fighting in the European theatre and 1,400 were built in Canada. MacGIll was responsible for a variety of tasks including streamlining production and redesigning parts to make Hurricanes useable in the winter.

Her work made her famous, a comic was even made about her.

After the war she continued her aeronautical work, even chairing a UN committee (the first woman to do so). She also delved into women's rights and penned a book about her mother. In 1971 she received the Order of Canada.

She died in 1980.

Posthumously she's been recognized in several different ways, including with a stamp and a heritage minute. One of the two boring machines currently under Vancouver is named after her, as well.

Recently the Royal Canadian Mint announced they're releasing a loonie honouring MacGill.

The special coin will include a portrait of her, along with the plane she designed, the plane she was famous for and blueprints. She's also wearing a lapel pin as a reference to her work for women's rights and an engineer's iron ring.

"Although her path wasn’t the easiest route to take, Elsie always persevered and demonstrated excellence despite adversity," writes the Mint on its site. "Not one to let setbacks affect her trajectory, Elsie shot for the stars and elevated others along the way — making her one of the most exceptional and noteworthy Canadians of the 20TH century."