Our History

Below we have gathered information from Pionair Members, Past Presidents, Directors and various historical publications to present the history of the Pionairs.


We'd like to especially thank Jannet Tricarico and John Rodger (both past presidents) for creating the current information and keeping it up to date.

  • Our Founders
  • Past Presidents & Honor Roll
  • AGM History
Our Founders

Air Canada Pionairs Founders

The Pionairs started in 1977 with the following founding members:

Emily (Coxon) Munro **

D.B. (Dave) Clarke **

J.L. (Lindy) Rood **

W.N. (Bill) Sprat

W.J. (Walt) Lawlor

W.C. (Cliff) Seddon **

M.A. (Martin) Betts**


Thanks to NetLetter Editor, Terry Baker, for submitting this Photo


More than 250 retirees, spouses and widows/widowers attended the founding meeting at Miami Beach Sheraton Hotel recently to formally adopt a set of bylaws organizing an association of company employees in retirement.


The group enjoyed themselves to the fullest, in the business sessions, at the ocean, around the pool, at the beaches, at the receptions and banquet, but more particularly in renewing old friendships and making new acquaintances.


The meeting also elected its first executive naming Martin Betts as President. The others are Bill Spratt, first Vice President, Denny Brendon, second Vice President, Dave Clarke, Secretary, and Scott Bradell, Treasurer. All live in the Vancouver area.


One of the articles in the bylaws stipulates that the Executives live in the same city in order to simplify meetings and organization business.


The possibility of establishing district representatives was discussed as well although none yet have been named. The nominating committee comprised of Gil McLaren, Vancouver; Bill Rose, Winnipeg; Elwood Patton, Toronto and Norm Donnelly, Montreal.


In a report to the meeting, Mr Betts outlined why the organization was founded and said that in the year since work began on its formation, there were 842 members, 1700 including wives and widows who all have a vote at any annual meeting.


Mr Betts also read the purpose of the Pionairs which is as follows. "The purpose of the organization is to maintain and continue the close friendships and associations of its members; to foster a spirit of mutual interest and welfare; to contribute our goodwill to Air Canada; to assist the Company with the promotion and selling of its services and interests in whatever viable manner may be appropriate. "


Regular membership is open to retired employees regardless of years of service and will include wives/husbands, widows/widowers of employees or retired employees. Membership fees are $5 annually and meetings will be held every year.


A number of discussions took place on pensions, employee benefits, interline travel and tours, passes, communications, etc. Charlie Eyre, Vice President Personal and Harold Miloff, Director, Employee Communications, attended the meeting and responded to questions.


Guest speaker at the banquet was Air Canada President Claude I Taylor who paid tribute to all retirees for "laying down the foundation on which to build a successful airline".


At the conclusion of the banquet, Mr. Betts, on behalf of the Pionairs, conferred honorary memberships on Mr. Taylor and Chairman of the Board Pierre Taschereau, who was unable to attend.


A special vote of thanks was given to the interim committee composed of Betts, Clarke, Cliff Seldon, Walt Lawlor, Lindy Rood and Emily (Coxon) Munro.

Past Presidents & Honor Roll

Past Presidents

1977 - 1979 Martin Betts ** (YVR)

1979 - 1981 Joseph Lorimer ** (YYZ)

1981 - 1983 George Fox ** (YVR)

1983 - 1985 Nancy Walchuk ** (YYZ)

1985 - 1987 Frank Dunlop ** (YVR) 

1987 - 1989 Mike Lewicki ** (YWG)

1988 - 1991 Leo McIntyre ** (YUL)

1991 - 1993 John Innes ** (YYJ)

1993 - 1995 Wilse Jesse ** (YVR)

1995 - 1997 Fraser Muir ** (YUL)

**deceased

1997 - 1999 Olie Moore ** (YYZ)

1999 - 2001 Saville Hambleton ** (YYJ)

2001 - 2003 Fraser O’Shaughnessy (YYZ)

2003 - 2005 John Rodger (YUL)

2005 - 2007 John A. Hopkins (YYC)

2007 - 2009 Norma Dawson (YWG)

2009 - 2011 Jannet Tricarico (YVR)

2011 - 2013 Gregory Connon (YWG) 

2013 - 2015 Jacques Levesque (YOW)

2015 - 2019 Val Jurkovic (YUL)


Honorary Life Patrons

Pierre Jeanniot

Alexander R. Stevenson 

Lamar Durrett

Ed Leckett

Ed Storrie

Fraser M. O’Shaughnessy

John Rodger

John A. Hopkins

Norma Dawson

Bruce Aubin

Jannet Tricarico

Gregory Connon


Honor Roll: (Surviving Spouse)

June Dalziel - (J. Gordon Dalziel**)

Elaine Rowe - (Willian (Bill) Rowe**)

Mary Moore - (Olie Moore**)

Barbara Hambleton - (Saville Hambleton**)

**deceased

Jean Muir - (Fraser A. Muir**)

Laura Innes - (John Innes**)

Mary Jessee - (Wilse E. Jessee**)


Air Canada Pionairs Ex-Officios

Carol Zoeller

Kevin Howlett

Calin Rovinescu

Susan Welscheid

Louise-Hélène Sénécal

Inas Assaad

Gretchen Dawson

Brad Gajria

AGM History

Pionairs Past Presidents and AGM History

Year

President

Agm

Location

1978

Martin Betts* (YVR)

1st AGM

Miami, FL

1979

Martin Betts* (YVR)

2nd AGM

Anaheim, CA

1980

Joseph Lorimer* (YYZ)

3rd AGM

Anaheim, CA

1981

Joseph Lorimer* (YYZ)

4th AGM

Anaheim, CA

1982

George Fox* (YVR)

5th AGM

Anaheim, CA

1983

George Fox* (YVR)

6th AGM

Anaheim, CA

1984

Nancy Walchuk* (YYZ)

7th AGM

Anaheim, CA

1985

Nancy Walchuk* (YYZ)

8th AGM

Anaheim, CA

1986

Frank Dunlop* (YVR)

9th AGM

Seattle, WA

1987

Frank Dunlop* (YVR)

10th AGM

Seattle, WA

1988

Mike Lewicki* (YWG)

11th AGM

Anaheim, CA

1989

Mike Lewicki* (YWG)

12th AGM

Anaheim, CA

1990

Leo McIntyre* (YUL)

13th AGM

San Francisco, CA

1991

Leo McIntyre* (YUL)

14th AGM

San Francisco, CA

1992

John Innes* (YYJ)

15th AGM

San Francisco, CA

1993

John Innes* (YYJ)

16th AGM

San Francisco, CA

1994

Wilse Jesse* (YVR)

17th AGM

Miami, FL

1995

Wilse Jesse* (YVR)

18th AGM

Vancouver, BC

1996

Fraser Muir* (YUL)

19th AGM

Ottawa, ON

1997

Fraser Muir* (YUL)

20th AGM

Montreal, QC

1998

Oli Moore* (YYZ)

21st AGM

Toronto, ON

1999

Oli Moore* (YYZ)

22nd AGM

Vancouver, BC

2000

Saville Hambleton * (YYJ)

23rd AGM

Vancouver, BC

2001

Saville Hambleton * (YYJ)

24th AGM

Calgary, AB

2002

Fraser O’Shaughnessy (YYZ)

25th AGM

Halifax, NS

2003

Fraser O’Shaughnessy (YYZ)

26th AGM

Ottawa, ON

2004

John Rodger (YUL)

27th AGM

Edmonton, AB

2005

John Rodger (YUL)

28th AGM

Niagra Falls, ON

2006

John Hopkins (YYC)

29th AGM

Quebec City, QC

2007

John Hopkins (YYC)

30th AGM

Victoria, BC

2008

Norma Dawson (YWG)

31st AGM

Houston, TX

2009

Norma Dawson (YWG)

32nd AGM

Winnipeg, MB

2010

Jannet Tricarico (YVR)

33rd AGM

Montreal, QC

2011

Jannet Tricarico (YVR)

34th AGM

Vancouver, BC

2012

Gregory T. Connon (YWG)

35th AGM

Toronto, ON

2013

Gregory T. Connon (YWG)

36th AGM

Ottawa, ON

2014

Jacques Levesque (YOW)

37th AGM

Calgary, AB

2015

Jacques Levesque (YOW)

38th AGM

Halifax, NS

2016

Valentin Jurkovic (YUL)

39th AGM/APC

Winnipeg, MB

2017

Valentin Jurkovic (YUL)

40th AGM/APC

Vancouver, BC

2018

Valentin Jurkovic (YUL)

41st AGM/APC

Calgary, AB

2019

Valentin Jurkovic (YUL)

42nd AGM/APC

Halifax, NS


Largest Attendance:

1985 - Anaheim - 700

1990 - San Francisco - 870

1995 - Vancouver - 860

Lowest Attendance:

2008 - Houston - 165