GarrettPigden was born in Winnipeg on July 14, 1970. He attended grade school at St. John’s Ravenscourt. In 1986, he moved to Vancouver with his mother and sister and later graduated from Richmond High School.
Like his family, Garrett always had a passion for airplanes. His father was an Air Canada pilot, his mother was manager of In-flight Operations for Canadian Airlines, his sister a flight attendant with Jazz, his cousin a First Officer with Air Canada.
.He pursued his dream by attending flight school in Boundary Bay, Delta BC and received his private pilot’s license in 1990. He went on to Selkirk College, Castlegar BC, where he completed his aviation diploma and received his commercial license and multi-engine rating in 1992.
His flying career began later in 1992, when a road trip on his motorcycle turned into a love affair with Yellowknife North West Territories and Buffalo Airways where he helped fly the mail in a DC-3 aircraft across Great Slave Lake to Hay River, volunteered to fight forest fires with DC-4 fire bombers and established the training syllabus for flight attendant training. Garrett loved everything about the north. The Northern Lights, walks along the lake and hiking the tundra but most of all, the wonderful friendships he made there and still has to this day.
Garrett had lived in Yellowknife for 6 years when his lifelong goal finally came within reach - Air Canada called to set a training course date and offered him a job as first officer on the RJ jet. His new home was to be in Toronto where his wonderful ability to connect with people from all walks of life continued to forge meaningful friendships in both his personal and his working life. He loved the Toronto waterfront where he played volleyball, rollerbladed, biked and went jogging. It was here that he became passionate about running and in November of 2001, as a personal defiance to the attacks of September 11, Garrett, his mom and sister went to Manhattan where he successfully ran the New York City Marathon proudly finishing in 3 hours and 45 minutes. It was the first of many Marathons and charity runs in Toronto and Vancouver.
Unfortunately, in 2000 Garrett’s flying career was interrupted due to what we now understand to have been an insurmountable illness that forced him to change his life plans and give up his life-long love of flying forever. As only Garrett could do though, he turned even this terrible news into an opportunity to grow even further in his career and completed the training to become a Dispatcher for Air Canada, all the while keeping up his long-standing contracts for Buffalo Airways.
In his last years, months, weeks and days, he divided his time between Yellowknife, Vancouver, Winnipeg and Toronto.
He loved being with friends and family as well as entertaining at his loft in downtown Toronto. His taste was always for the best of everything. Second would never do. Everyone who came in contact with Garrett will never forget him and the incredible amount of love in his heart. He gave that love to all of us and, as only Garrett can, somehow, beyond reason and logic, still does.
Garrett’s suffering came to an end
August 8th, 2004, in his 34th year.
Click Photos to see an enlargement and then "Return" or "Back" on your Browser.