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Governor General's Cup – Established the Same Year as EAA!

By Catherine Tobenas, Director General, Aviation Connection

April 2021According to research by Rosemary Doyle-Morier, advisor on protocol and special programs at Rideau Hall, the Governor General's Cup was inaugurated in 1953 by the Right Honorable Vincent Massey, Governor General of Canada. Currently the Governor General's Cup is awarded as part of a series of international air rallies organized by Catherine and her team at Participants in these exciting air rallys are often amateur aircraft builders with a passion for adventure. — Ed.


Dorothy Rungeling — Cup reads "Governor General's Cup – Annual Air Race"

The first winner of the cup in 1953 was Dorothy Wetherald Rungeling (May 12, 1911 – February 17, 2018). She was a Canadian pilot from Fenwick, Ontario hailed as one of Canada’s most experienced air racers. She was the adopted daughter of Ethelwyn Wetherald, the Canadian poet and journalist. In 2004, Dorothy published a collection of her mother’s writing, "Life and Works of Ethelwyn Wetherald 1857-1940" (Ridgeville, Ont, 2004, D. Rungeling). Dorothy is also known for own her writing as a published author and Aviation Editor for the Evening Tribune, Welland and won an Aviation Writers Award at the 1953 AITA convention. Before venturing into flying, Dorothy also trained and showed horses and wrote a series of instructions for fellow trainers.


The cup with many award recipient engravings.

As a pilot, she participated in Canadian and International Aviation competitions including: All Women’s International Air Races, the Women’s Transcontinental Air Races, and the Canadian Governor-General’s Cup Air Race. Once she received her private pilot licence, she joined the Ninety-Nines (worldwide organization of female pilots formed in 1929). She also worked to make Welland an air-marking and it is believed to be the first air-marking in Canada. This was a program originally established in the US to enable pilots to identify where they were by marking buildings such as aiport hangars with identifiers readable from the air. She worked in politics, and in 1964 she became the first woman to serve on Pelham town council.

In 2003, she received the Order of Canada for her accomplishments as a female pilot, which include receiving her pilot’s licence, commercial licence, instructor’s certification, and senior commercial pilot’s licence. She was the first Canadian woman to solo in a helicopter. A commemorative stamp was issued in honour of Dorothy Rungeling, the first woman to solo a helicopter, on her 99th birthday. She turned 100 in May 2011. Dorothy continued her writing in a column for The Voice of Pelham entitled Viewpoints. She wrote her last article for the publication in February 2013 at the age of 101. In 2015, when Rungeling was 104, the Niagara Central Airport was renamed Niagara Central Dorothy Rungeling Airport following consent of Bill 20.

Dorothy Rungeling died at a nursing home in Fonthill, Ontario on February 17, 2018 at the age of 106. One of her many accomplishments was to participate in an air rally to Cuba and she met Fulgencio Batista, the 9th president. We were about to launch the first GGC Cuba Air Rally before private flights from the US to Cuba were banned. We are just waiting for an opening which will be soon and we have full support from Cuban Civil Aviation for VFR flights across the country.

The GGC actually helps set up the aviation programs in Canada but also set up simulators in schools in the visited Caribbean countries through the events. The Governor General's Cup was reactivated and officially passed to Aviation Connection in 2007.


Readers are encouraged to learn more and consider supporting this program through and selecting your language of choice. Donating will provide flight simulators for kids in Canada and the Caribbean.

We have over 900 kids registered in the program in eight high schools in Quebec and we are expanding into Ontario. We now provide Artificial Intelligence courses using small drones to learn Python coding which you can also see on the website.

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