The community of Cramahe Township celebrated one of their own on Monday, October 17, 2022 as a stamp was unveiled in honour of Violet Milstead Warren.
A number of family and friends came from across the province to the unveiling at the Canada Post office in downtown Colborne.
Canada Post honoured “Vi” in a five-stamp collector set which commemorates her as a groundbreaking female pilot, along with a legendary bush plane and three innovators who changed aviation.
Mayor Mandy Martin said it was a “national recognition for one of our heroines of Cramahe Township.”
Marilyn Dickson said she was contacted over two-years ago by Canada Post and asked if she would be able to provide information on Vi for the stamp.
Dickson said Canada Post gets approximately 400 suggestions a year for topics, and that gets narrowed down to approximately 20 topics for stamps.
“It went through the process and the eventually decided in March 2021 that their would be a stamp for Vi.”
The topic is aviation and there are approximately two million stamps produced.
“For me it’s been a thrilling process, but I couldn’t talk about it until last Thursday (when Canada Post announced it).”
After the unveiling by Martin and Dickson, Dickson explained on the right hand side of the stamp there is a copy of page of Vi’s logbook from May 1945.
“She was a remarkable woman. Amazing in many ways.”
A number of Milstead’s relatives were at the ceremony in Colborne including her great nephew David Milstead.
“Growing up I heard a lot of the stories of Vi and all the remarkable things she was able to do. As I became older, I had the opportunity to spend time with her and learn about them.”
“Vi was such a powerful individual, such a go-getter and on the forefront of her field, of her industry – sitting around listening to those stories and hearing her talk about flying miners from Sudbury into the bush – something clicked. As I was growing up, I decided those stories – it was something I really wanted to do. She inspired me to get into engineering and get into mining. The one thing I’ll say, I’m not the only person Vi inspired. Vi inspired hundreds if not thousands of people across Canada and across the world. For that, this tribute by Canada Post is something special.”
Vi Milstead (1919-2014) was one of Canada’s first female bush pilots.
Born in Toronto, Milstead instructed at Toronto’s Barker Field before signing up with Britain’s Air Transport Auxiliary during the Second World War. The civilisation organization ferried military aircraft between factories and front-line squadrons. In over 28 months, Milstead logged more than 600 hours in 47 types of aircraft including massive, multi-engine bombers, trainers and fighters. Following the war, she and her husband Arnold Warren moved to Sudbury, Ontario, where she flew as a bush pilot and also instructed. The Warrens moved to Colborne after their retirement. Vi was very engaged with Cramahe, supporting and volunteering with local community organizations.
In 2004, Vi was awarded the Order of Canada in Ottawa by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.
In 2010, Vi was inducted as a Member of Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame.