McIntyre, Katherine

Katherine McIntyre was born May 20, 1923 in Toronto.  She grew up in the Forest Hill neighbourhood, where she was lucky to grow up in an affluent family.  Her father was a well-known lawyer, and the family was able to avoid the worst aspects of the Great Depression.  Katherine attended Bishop Strachan School, and after that she went on to Queen’s University.  While there she made the decision to do a 3 year program, followed by a stint in the RCAF, where she entered the Women’s Division (WDs).  Katherine’s brother was in the navy, and she wanted to do her part for the war effort.  After training Katherine was stationed in Sydney, Nova Scotia and then Gander, Newfoundland – considered overseas at the time.  She became an air traffic controller, one of the first group of women to hold that position.  That did create some resentment among the men at the base, but Katherine and the other women persevered.  Gander had a large contingent of Americans, as planes would stop there on the ferry route to Europe and the war.  That created some opportunities to socialize and enjoy the benefits of the American base and PX.  In one memorable episode, Katherine attended a dance on the American side of the base, which she was not supposed to do.  She ended up losing her sergeant’s rank because of that!  Katherine did finish the war in Gander, even spending extra time there as the planes returned from Europe.  She then returned to Toronto, spending some time at the University of Toronto, where she met a young medical student.  The two of them married and spent some time in Europe, and they built their family – six children – and their place in postwar Canada.  Katherine McIntyre was interviewed by Crestwood students at the Sunnybrook Veterans’ Wing in Toronto in August 2023.