From 1867 to 1931, Canada's governor general was chosen by the Sovereign, and the person chosen was always a British aristocrat. In 1931, the Canadian government was granted the responsibility to make recommendations to the Sovereign for the position of governor general.
It was only in 1952 that, without first consulting with the British prime minister, a prime minister of Canada recommended to the Sovereign one single name: Vincent Massey, Canada’s first Canadian Governor General. This nomination marked an important evolution in Canadian history.
The naming of a Canadian governor general reflected this country’s new sense of autonomy and identity in the post-war era. Since 1952, all of Canada’s governors general have been and must be Canadian citizens. As you will discover when reading their biographies, Canadian governors general come from all walks of life and are representative of the Canadian population.
Michaëlle Jean was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. She immigrated to Canada with her family in 1968, fleeing the dictatorial regime of the time.
After studying comparative literature at the Université de Montréal, she taught Italian in the Université’s Department of Literature and Modern Languages. During her studies, Ms. Jean worked for eight years with Quebec shelters for battered women, while actively contributing to the establishment of a network of emergency shelters throughout Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. She later ventured into journalism and became a highly regarded journalist and anchor of information programs at Radio-Canada television and CBC Newsworld. She is married to Jean-Daniel Lafond and they have a daughter, Marie-Éden.
Michaëlle Jean was the 27th governor general of Canada, from September 27, 2005, to September 30, 2010.
Born in Hong Kong in 1939, Madame Clarkson came to Canada as a refugee with her family, during the war in 1942. She received her early education in the Ottawa public school system and later obtained an Honours B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Toronto. She also did post-graduate work at the Sorbonne in France, and became fluently bilingual.
A leading figure in Canada's cultural life, Madame Clarkson had a rich and distinguished career in broadcasting, journalism, the arts and the public service. During her career, Madame Clarkson received numerous prestigious awards both in Canada and abroad, in recognition of her outstanding contributions in professional and charitable endeavours. She was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1992, and upon her appointment as governor general in 1999, she became Chancellor and Principal Companion of the Order of Canada.
Madame Clarkson was the 26th Governor General of Canada, from October 7, 1999, to September 27, 2005.
Mr. LeBlanc earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Education at l'Université St-Joseph, Memramcook, and studied French civilization at l'Université de Paris. He also holds a number of honorary degrees.
Mr. LeBlanc spent nine years as a teacher. He quickly developed strong beliefs about the important role educators play in our society.
In 1960, he turned to journalism, working as a correspondent for Radio-Canada. This led to Mr. LeBlanc serving as press secretary to prime ministers Lester B. Pearson and Pierre Elliott Trudeau.
Mr. LeBlanc was elected to the House of Commons in 1972, representing the riding of Westmorland-Kent, in New Brunswick. He was a cabinet minister from 1974 to 1979, and from 1980 to 1984.
As Canada's longest-serving fisheries minister, Mr. LeBlanc won a lasting reputation as a friend of the fishermen. He helped to establish Canada's 200-mile fishing limit and to shape the International Law of the Sea. Under his leadership, conservation and resource management encouraged strong growth in the fishing industry during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Mr. LeBlanc became a senator in 1984, and was appointed Speaker of the Senate in 1993.
As governor general, in addition to the official role and responsibilities, Mr. LeBlanc promoted several personal causes.
The Right Honourable Roméo LeBlanc passed away on June 24, 2009. He was married to Diana Fowler LeBlanc and they had four children.
Rideau Hall has always been one of Ottawa's most interesting landmarks. During the Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn's term of office, the official residence began to be known as a tourist destination, with many Canadians enjoying tours of the public rooms and grounds. In 1991, Mr. Hnatyshyn created the Governor General's Summer Concert Series, which became a popular annual music festival. In the winter of 1992, he re-opened the historic skating rink, which had been closed since the 1989/90 season. The rink is used by members of the public on weekends, and by educational institutions and associations throughout the week.
Mr. Hnatyshyn and his wife, Gerda, were determined to develop Rideau Hall into a showcase for Canadian excellence. In 1994, Mrs. Hnatyshyn co-authored a book, Rideau Hall: Canada's Living Heritage, with the understanding that the proceeds would be used to expand the national collection of art and furnishings at the official residence. Mrs. Hnatyshyn also collaborated with the Canadian Heritage Garden Foundation, an independent charitable foundation, to construct a heritage garden as a particular point of interest on the Rideau Hall grounds.
In his role as governor general, Mr. Hnatyshyn, accompanied by his wife, received leaders and dignitaries from around the world. Their guests included President Lech Walesa of Poland, Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin of Israel, President Boris Yeltsin of the Russian Federation, Their Majesties the King and Queen of Jordan, and President Vaclav Havel of Czechoslovakia. Mr. and Mrs. Hnatyshyn also welcomed many members of the Royal Family, including Their Royal Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Wales, in 1991. The Hnatyshyns also travelled abroad, representing Canada at the 50th anniversary celebrations of D-Day in France, in 1994, and going on several State visits, including one to Ukraine, which was particularly special, given Mr. Hnatyshyn's Ukrainian heritage.
The Hnatyshyns encouragement of the arts in Canada was one of the important accomplishments of their term. They established the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards in 1992, along with the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Voluntarism in the Arts in the same year. Every year, both awards are presented at a ceremony at Rideau Hall, which is followed by the Performing Arts Awards Gala at the National Arts Centre, in Ottawa, which is broadcast on a later date by the CBC.
Mr. Hnatyshyn demonstrated his commitment to education through his support of a number of initiatives: the Governor General's International Award for Canadian Studies, established by the International Council for Canadian Studies; the Governor General Ramon John Hnatyshyn Education Fund, administered by the University Hospital Board and Foundation of Saskatoon; and the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Award for Law, presented by the Canadian Bar Association. He promoted literacy through the Governor General's Flight For Freedom Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literacy, established in 1992.
During their time at Rideau Hall, Mr. and Mrs. Hnatyshyn strengthened ties with Canadian youth. They ensured that young people were invited to as many events as possible and stressed the importance of encouraging Canada's young people to achieve their academic potential. In 1992, Mr. Hnatyshyn hosted a rock concert on the grounds of Rideau Hall, focussing attention on the Stay in School campaign and the Canadian Scholarships Program. The concert aired on YTV as "His Excellency's Most Excellent Rock Concert".
Several other awards and scholarships were established during the Hnatyshyn mandate, including the Ramon John Hnatyshyn Cup, presented annually to the winning team of the Canadian International Dragon Boat Festival; and the Governor General's Canada Scholarships in Environmental Engineering and Environmental Sciences.
As Canada's governor general, Mr. Hnatyshyn understood the vital need to champion the diversity that enriched Canadian society, and was a strong advocate of multiculturalism.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Mr. Hnatyshyn attended Victoria Public School and Nutana Collegiate Institute. He continued his studies at the University of Saskatchewan, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1954, and a Bachelor of Law degree in 1956. He married Karen Gerda Nygaard Andreasen on January 9, 1960, and the couple had two sons.
He was called to the Bar of Saskatchewan in 1957, and to the Ontario Bar in 1986. He was first elected to the House of Commons in 1974, and on June 4, 1979, he was sworn into the Privy Council, after which he held a number of different ministerial portfolios.
Mr. Hnatyshyn's honours include a 1988 appointment as Queen's Counsel (QC) for Canada and, a year later, an honorary life membership in the Law Society of Saskatchewan. In 1989, he received the St. Volodymyr Medal Award from the World Congress of Ukrainians, in recognition of "outstanding contributions to the cause of justice and civil liberties". Following his departure from Rideau Hall and his return to law practice in Ottawa, he received the Mount Scopus Award from the Hebrew University in 1996, for "demonstrating broad humanitarian concern throughout his career."
Throughout her distinguished career, the Right Honourable Jeanne Sauvé achieved a number of notable 'firsts'. In the House of Commons, she was the first female Cabinet member from Quebec, she was the first woman elected as Speaker of the House of Commons, she opened the first daycare on Parliament Hill, and she was the first woman to serve as governor general.
Mme Sauvé was a staunch advocate of issues surrounding youth and world peace, and the dove of peace is one of the elements incorporated into Madame Sauvé's coat-of-arms. Long before her viceregal mandate, she worked as assistant to the director of the Youth Secretariat of UNESCO, served as secretary of the Canadian Committee for the World Assembly of Youth, and initiated and hosted a discussion show for youth. At Rideau Hall, she established two awards for students wishing to enter the field of special education for exceptional children. At the end of her mandate, she established the Jeanne Sauvé Youth Foundation, dedicated to the cause of youth excellence in Canada.
Mme. Sauvé's concern for youth and peace were two of the three central themes of her mandate – the third was national unity. She travelled extensively, making her role as governor general – a symbol of our common identity – accessible to all Canadians. In her installation speech, she spoke about the need for Canadians to forego a narrow sense of their nation and become more tolerant. "This is the price of our happiness," she said, "but happiness will never be found in the spirit of 'every man for himself'."
During Mme Sauvé's term of office, the United Nations General Assembly declared 1986 as the "International Year of Peace". One initiative developed by the Department of Foreign Affairs and other partners was a publication entitled, What Peace Means to Me (Ma vision de la paix). The publication, with a forward written by Mme Sauvé, contained essays written by various members of the Order of Canada, as well as the winning essays and posters from a contest sponsored by the United Nations Association in Canada.
In 1986, on behalf of the 'People of Canada', Mme Sauvé accepted the Nansen Medal, a prestigious international humanitarian award given in recognition of major and sustained efforts made on behalf of refugees. This was the first time since the medal's inception in 1954 that the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees presented it to an entire population. The Nansen Medal is kept at Rideau Hall.
Mme Sauvé's enthusiasm for the value of sports led her to establish the Jeanne Sauvé Trophy for the World Cup Championship in women's field hockey, and the Jeanne Sauvé Cup for the Canadian Ringette Champions. She also created the Jeanne Sauvé Fair Play Award to recognize national amateur athletes who best demonstrate fair play and non-violence in sport. And she encouraged a safer society in Canada by establishing the Governor General's Award for Safety in the Workplace.
During her term as governor general, Mme Sauvé made State visits to Italy, the Vatican and the People's Republic of China. In Thailand, she received an honorary doctorate in political science from the University of Chulalongkorn, Bangkok, and in France, she received the Médaille de la Chancellerie des universités de Paris, from La Sorbonne in Paris. She also made a State visit to Uruguay and Brazil; to commemorate the Brazil visit, she established the Governor General Jeanne Sauvé Fellowship / Bourse commémorative du gouverneur général Jeanne Sauvé, an award to be given each year to a Brazilian graduate student of Canadian studies.
Mme Sauvé also received a number of distinguished visitors, including The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh; Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother; Prince Andrew; The Duke and Duchess of York; King Carl Gustaf of Sweden; Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands; King Hussein of Jordan; Pope John Paul II; U.N. Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuéllar; U.S. President Ronald Reagan; French President François Mitterrand; Chinese President Li Xiannian; and Romanian President Nicolae Ceaucescu, as well as the presidents of Israel, Tanzania, Italy, the People's Republic of the Congo, the Republic of Cameroon, Iceland and the Philippines. As well, in 1988, Mme Sauvé met with Mother Teresa of Calcutta, at the Citadelle of Québec.
She also hosted Prince Edward, who presented the Royal Letters Patent signed by Her Majesty patriating heraldry to Canada, which led to the establishment of the Canadian Heraldic Authority. As the Head of the Canadian Heraldic Authority the Governor General holds the Sovereign's prerogative power and provides for the creation of new heraldic honours in the form of coats of arms, flags, badges and other emblems.
One of her favourite events was the annual Christmas party for the Ottawa Boys and Girls Club and its French counterpart, the Patro d'Ottawa. The children came to Rideau Hall for lunch and a visit with Santa. Mme Sauvé personally hosted her young guests and wore a paper party hat to celebrate the special occasion.
During his wife's mandate, M. Maurice Sauvé continued to pursue his own business concerns while participating in many Canadian cultural activities.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Jeanne Mathilde Benoit studied at Notre-Dame du Rosaire Convent in Ottawa and the University of Ottawa. She was actively involved in student and political affairs, and became the national president of the Young Catholic Students Group at the age of 20. She married the Honourable Maurice Sauvé on September 24, 1948 at St-Jean Baptiste Church in Ottawa. Later that same year, they moved to Europe, where she earned a diploma in French civilization at the Université de Paris. The couple had one child.
Mme Sauvé was a founding member of the Institute of Political Research and for over 20 years had a distinguished career as a journalist with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She was elected as a Liberal member of Parliament for Ahunstic (Montréal) in 1972 and was subsequently appointed Minister of State for Science and Technology. She was re-elected in July 1974 and given the environment portfolio. Then, in 1975, she was appointed Minister of Communications with responsibility for French speaking countries in the Department of External Affairs.
After completing her term of office as Governor General in 1990, the Sauvés retired to Montréal, where she worked to forward the interests of the Jeanne Sauvé Youth Foundation. She died three years later after an extended illness, her husband having pre-deceased her in 1992.
One of Edward Schreyer's first encounters with Rideau Hall came in 1975 when he was awarded the 'Governor General Vanier Award as an Outstanding Young Canadian of the Year'. Three years later, Mr. Schreyer was appointed Governor General and he and his family moved from Manitoba into Rideau Hall. At 43, Edward Schreyer was the youngest Governor General since Lord Lorne in 1878 (33 years old) and Lord Lansdowne in 1883 (38 years old).
Mr. Schreyer was a strong advocate of Canadian unity and promoter of bilingualism. He travelled throughout the country, often to very remote regions, encouraging an atmosphere of goodwill and friendship between peoples and provinces. Lily Schreyer accompanied her husband on these tours, and her great popularity with Canadians enhanced their appearances.
During his term, Mr. Schreyer promoted the equality of women and the protection of the environment. In 1979, he established the Governor General's Award in Commemoration of the Persons Case to recognize the lengthy legal and political battle led by five Alberta women for Canadian women's constitutional right to be recognized as persons. His awareness of the importance of promoting environmental issues led to the creation of the Governor General's Conservation Awards in 1981. He also instituted the Edward Schreyer Fellowship in Ukrainian Studies at the University of Toronto. And in 1983, the first Governor General's Canadian Study Conference, which takes place every four years, was held.
Lily Schreyer's interest in issues affecting the family led her to become involved with many like-minded organizations such as UNICEF. She wanted the official residence to reflect this commitment and she and her husband opened the grounds to families from every background across Canada. Her concern for children and adults with physical disabilities prompted Mrs. Schreyer to have an accessible entrance and an elevator installed in the official residence. During the International Year of the Disabled, she inspired the construction of the Fountain of Hope, dedicated to Terry Fox, which is now in front of the main entrance at Rideau Hall.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Edward Schreyer studied at United College St. John's College and the University of Manitoba, earning a Bachelor of Pedagogy in 1959, the first of four degrees. He received a bachelor of education in 1962, a Master of Arts in International Relations and a second Master of Arts in Economics in 1963. His political career began when he was first elected to the Manitoba Legislative Assembly at the age of 22. He ventured into the academic world as a professor of International Relations at St. Paul's College of the University of Manitoba from 1962 to 1965. In 1965, he was elected to the House of Commons. On June 8, 1969, he was chosen leader of the New Democratic Party of Manitoba, and subsequently served as Premier of Manitoba from 1969 to 1977.
On June 30, 1960, Edward Schreyer married Lily Schulz, and the couple had two daughters, Lisa and Karmel and two sons, Jason and Tobin.
When his term of office ended in 1984, Mr. Schreyer announced that for five years his Governor General's pension would be used to fund the Canadian Shield Foundation, an organization that studies the flora and fauna of the Canadian shield and provides grant monies and employment in that area, and Mr. Schreyer continues to serve as its Chairman. Also that year he was sworn-in as a Member of the Privy Council. Mr. Schreyer was subsequently appointed High Commissioner to Australia.
He has since returned to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he works as the national representative for Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit housing organization. He is also Honorary Director of the Sierra Legal Defence Fund, and Honorary Advisor to the Canadian Foundation for the Preservation of Chinese Cultural and Historical Treasures and a Founding Member of the Winnipeg Library Foundation.
Lily Schreyer continues to have an interest and involvement in many organizations such as Girl Guides, Canadian Home and School, and others that address the needs of children. As a result of her long-time interest in arts and crafts, she works to raise the visibility and accomplishments of Canadian Crafts artists. She has been very generous in donating to charity the proceeds from the sale of her own paintings.
Six months after being sworn in as Governor General, Jules Léger suffered a stroke while at the University of Sherbrooke, Quebec where he was to receive an honorary degree. As he recovered from his stroke, Madame Léger played an important role. She replaced her husband at certain events and helped him in various duties, such as reading part of the Speech from the Throne. Her contributions to her husband's term were recognized by her inclusion in Mr. Léger's official portrait, which hangs in the Reception Room at Rideau Hall. Gabrielle Léger is the only spouse to have been featured in a portrait along with the Governor General.
In December of 1974, Jules Léger resumed his duties by presiding over an investiture of the Order of Canada, and a year later he welcomed Prince Charles. In 1976, after fire destroyed several rooms at La Citadelle, the Governor General's official residence in Québec, Madame Léger was actively involved in the restoration project.
The Légers travelled all across Canada after the full resumption of duties. Their desire to encourage excellence in cultural endeavours resulted in the Jules Léger Prize for New Chamber Music in 1978 and the Gabrielle Léger Medal for heritage conservation in 1979. Also in 1979, the Canadian government honoured the Légers by establishing the Jules and Gabrielle Léger Fellowship, which is awarded to outstanding Canadian scholars for research and writing on the role, function and historical contributions of the Crown and its representatives in Canada. As well, the Jules Léger Scholarship was established in 1974 at the University of Regina to promote academic excellence in bilingual programs.
On October 19, 1975, Mr. Léger received an honorary Doctor of Law degree from the University of Ottawa, and Mme Léger receive an honorary Doctor of the University degree in the same ceremony.
The Légers also appreciated Canadian fine art, and continually encouraged artistic endeavour. They were close friends of painters such as Jean Paul Lemieux, Alfred Pellan and Jean Dallaire.
When he retired in 1979, Jules Léger left a legacy of encouraging Canadian unity and humanity while introducing an intellectual aspect to the office of Governor General of Canada.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Jules Léger came from a deeply spiritual family; he was the younger brother of Cardinal Paul-Emile Léger. He married Gabrielle Carmel on August 13, 1938, and the couple had two daughters.
Studying first at the Collège de Valleyfield and then at the University of Montreal, he completed a degree in law prior to receiving a doctorate from the Sorbonne in Paris in 1938. He was an associate editor of Le Droit in Ottawa from 1938 to 1939, and from 1939 to 1942 he taught the history of diplomacy at the University of Ottawa.
Jules Léger joined External Affairs in 1940, the start of a successful career as a diplomat. In 1953 he became Canada's Ambassador to Mexico. He was later appointed as the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs, and in 1958 was made Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council and Canadian representative to the Organization for European Economic Cooperation in Paris. In 1962 and 1964 he held posts as Ambassador to Italy and France respectively, followed by his appointment in 1973 as the Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg.
After leaving Rideau Hall, they continued to live in Ottawa. Jules Léger died on November 22, 1980; Gabrielle Léger died on March 10, 1998.
Roland Michener was appointed Governor General the same year that Canada celebrated 100 years of Confederation. Mr. and Mrs. Michener had barely started their term of office when the long procession of visiting dignitaries began. It was 1967 and Rideau Hall was rarely empty – 53 heads of State arrived to celebrate the Centennial and visit Expo '67 in Montreal.
On July 1, 1967, the Order of Canada was born and Governor General Michener presided over the first presentation ceremony in November of the same year. In 1972, the Order of Military Merit and Decorations for Bravery were introduced, and in 1973 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II presented Mr. Michener with the Royal Victorian Chain, one of only two Canadians ever to receive the honour. (The other was former Governor General Vincent Massey in 1960.)
Mr. Michener was an avid sportsman and athlete who followed a daily exercise regime – he could be seen jogging every morning. His encouragement to engage in daily exercise has had a lasting effect on the physical well-being of many Canadians. Many people still remember his support of the 'Participaction Program' – a campaign aimed at increasing the fitness of all Canadians. He further encouraged sport by establishing the Roland Michener Trophy for the Juvenile "AAA" championship in Ontario as well as a championship trophy for sport fishing, called the Michener Tuna Trophy.
Mr. Michener was a great motivator of Canadian youth and he encouraged them to be part of Canada's great future by achieving their full potential. He believed that his role as Governor General put him in a unique position to inspire Canadians by applauding their best efforts. His encouragement of excellence also extended to journalism with the creation of the Michener Awards for Journalism in 1970.
During their stay at Rideau Hall, Roland Michener and his wife Norah relaxed protocol in a number of ways – the most well-known example was the dropping of the curtsey. They were a gracious vice-regal couple and Government House became a centre for social life during their tenure. They returned the Governor General's New Year's Levee to Rideau Hall from the Senate Chamber in 1972. The Micheners frequently visited abroad and they also instituted periodic meetings with provincial Lieutenant-Governors, which started in 1973.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Roland Michener attended the University of Alberta for his undergraduate degree, then earned graduate degrees at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. While he was at Oxford he met Lester B. Pearson – the two men would become lifelong friends. He practised law in Toronto while sitting on the Executive Council of Ontario and became the secretary general for the Rhodes Foundation.
He married Norah Willis on February 26, 1927 in St. Mary Magdalen Anglican Church in Toronto, and the couple had three daughters. Sadly, one daughter, Wendy, died at the age of 33 on January 1, 1969, while the Micheners were in office.
For her thesis on the French philosopher, Jacques Maritain, Mrs. Michener received her doctorate from the University of Toronto in 1953. From 1957 to 1962, Mr. Michener was speaker of the House of Commons, then High Commissioner to India and first Canadian Ambassador to Nepal from 1964 to 1967.
After his term as Governor General, the couple moved to Toronto where Mr. Michener served as Chancellor of Queen's University until 1980, all the while remaining active in business throughout Canada.
In his later years, a mountain in Alberta was named in his honour and, still energetic at age 80, he climbed to the peak to celebrate the naming ceremony. Following his death at the age of 91, his ashes were interred beside those of his wife, who had died on January 12, 1987, at St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church in Ottawa, directly across from Rideau Hall.
As a young man, Georges Vanier was appointed an aide-de-camp to then-Governor General Lord Byng, in 1921. He and his wife had been married less than a year when they came to live in Rideau Cottage, on the grounds of Rideau Hall. Thirty-eight years after that first introduction, Georges and Pauline Vanier came to live at Rideau Hall as the newly appointed vice-regal couple.
The appointment of Georges Vanier was announced at a Cabinet meeting in Halifax presided over by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. The respect and affection which General Vanier inspired made him an appropriate successor to the popular Governor General Vincent Massey.
Although Canada was experiencing turbulent times and General Vanier suffered from a heart condition, he reacted to the news of his appointment with the deep faith that was his constant companion. "If God wants me to do this job," he said, "He will give me the strength to do it." The Vaniers' strong religious beliefs led them to champion the disadvantaged, youth and the family. Their concern for the state of the family in Canada led them to organize the 'Canadian Conference of the Family' at Rideau Hall in 1964, which led to the founding of the Vanier Institute of the Family.
During General Vanier's term, the separatist cause accelerated in Quebec. General Vanier firmly believed in Canadian unity and his speeches often attempted to improve relations between Francophones and Anglophones. He possessed a masterful command of both languages and promoted a policy of bilingualism long before his tenure as Governor General. The depth of his concern for Canada is revealed in one of the last speeches of his life, where he said, "The road of unity is the road of love: love of one's country and faith in its future will give new direction and purpose to our lives, lift us above our domestic quarrels, and unite us in dedication to the common good... I pray God that we may all go forward hand in hand. We can't run the risk of this great country falling into pieces."
General Vanier's poor health never stopped him from making trips across Canada. His doctor worried that the cross-country tours would be too strenuous, but he always found both Vaniers invigorated on their return. The Vanier's travels increased the affection of the Canadian people for the vice-regal couple, and they are remembered for their genuine kindness to all they met, especially their attention to children and senior citizens. Among his travels, he attended the inauguration of the St. Lawrence Seaway in Cornwall, Ontario on January 29, 1960, and was made Chief Big Eagle of the Blackfoot tribe in Calgary in June 1965.
In his journeys, General Vanier encouraged young people to work hard and achieve excellence. His commitment to youth was evident in his enjoyment of his role as Canada's Chief Scout and his active support of the Scouting movement. He initiated in 1967 the Vanier Awards for Outstanding Young Canadians, which recognized excellence in the Canadian Junior Chamber of Commerce. And to recognize excellence in public service at the federal, provincial or municipal level, the Vanier Medal of the Institute of Public Administration of Canada was established in 1962.
General Vanier was a great sports enthusiast who established both the Vanier Cup for the university football championship in the Canadian Intercollegiate Athletic Union and the Governor General's Fencing Award in 1965. Above all, he loved hockey and was an enthusiastic fan of the Montreal Canadiens hockey team.
During their time at Rideau Hall, the Vaniers hosted a long list of memorable guests. The distinguished visitors included United States President John Kennedy and Mrs. Jacqueline Kennedy, the Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie, David-Ben-Gurion, Prime Minister of Israel, the Shah of Iran and General Charles de Gaulle, President of France. The Vaniers also made many changes made to Rideau Hall -- the chapel was re-established (the previous one had been removed in 1912), and the smoking room became the Canadian room (renamed The Pauline Vanier Room in 2003) with the addition of Quebec antiques and pine panelling.
Georges Vanier received several honours while he served as Governor General -- he was promoted to the rank of Major General in 1942 and appointed by the Queen to the Imperial Privy Council of the United Kingdom in 1963. He also received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Toronto.
In 1966, General Vanier's strength was failing. Although the daily round of visits and tours did not diminish, he was increasingly feeble and tired. Then on Sunday March 5, 1967, the morning after watching a hockey game, General Vanier died. He was only the second Governor General to die in office since Confederation. His State funeral took place on March 8, 1967 at Notre Dame Cathedral in Ottawa, and his now famous son, the philanthropist Jean Vanier, read the lesson. The General's remains were interred on May 4, 1967 at the commemorative chapel at La Citadelle in Quebec City
Recognition of their love for humanity and deep spirituality recently led to Georges and Pauline Vanier's nomination for beatification in the Roman Catholic Church -- a tribute to this vice-regal couple who exemplified noble qualities and cared so deeply for Canada and the Canadian people.
Life Before Rideau Hall
Georges Vanier studied at Loyola College in Montreal, and received a law degree at the Montreal branch of Université Laval. During the First World War, he was a founding member of the 22nd Battalion of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, the French-Canadian battalion that, in 1920, became the famous Royal 22e Régiment. He received the Military Cross in 1916, and the Distinguished Service Order, and Bar to the Military Cross in 1919. While leading an attack at Chérisy, France in 1918, he lost his right leg. After a long convalescence, he returned to Montreal to practice law. He married Pauline Archer on September 29, 1921, and the couple had five children.
In 1921, he was appointed aide-de-camp to Lord Byng, beginning many years of service to the Office of the Governor General. In 1925, he took over command of the Royal 22e Régiment at La Citadelle, and the following year was appointed an honorary aide-de-camp to Lord Willingdon and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1924.
In 1928, Georges Vanier began a long career in the diplomatic service when he was appointed to Canada's military delegation for disarmament to the League of Nations. Then in 1931, he was named Secretary to the Office of the High Commissioner in London. This was followed in 1939 with his appointment to the position of Canadian Minister to France -- a post he was forced to flee when the Nazis invaded in 1940. He was appointed commander of the military district of Quebec in 1941, and began an early policy of bilingualism in the army. By 1942, he was promoted to Major-General, and following the war was Canada's delegate at the Paris Peace Conference. He was appointed as Canada's first ambassador to France in 1944 and his distinguished service at this post continued until his retirement.
Before retiring in 1953, General Vanier once again served as Canada's representative to the United Nations. After retirement, he and his wife returned to Montreal where they became involved in social work in the city. Georges Vanier was also a director with the Bank of Montreal, Credit Foncier Franco-Canadien, and the Standard Life Assurance Company, and served on the Canadian Council of the Arts.
Prime Minister Pearson appointed Madame Vanier a member of the Privy Council, and she was sworn in on April 11, 1967. She was the first non-political woman to receive this honour, which was given to her because her husband died before the end of his term, which is when a Governor General is normally appointed a Privy Councillor. Madame Vanier was also among the first recipients of the Order of Canada, and was appointed as a Companion on July 6, 1967.
Pauline Vanier died in 1991 at "L'Arche", a community for handicapped adults founded by their son, Jean Vanier, in Trosly, France, at the age of 92. She was buried next to General Vanier at La Citadelle.
With Vincent Massey's appointment as Governor General, a new tradition began – he was the first Canadian appointed to the post, and from that day the Governor General has always been a Canadian citizen. If the innovation had any detractors, they were soon won over by Mr. Massey's exceptional qualities in the vice-regal role.
Vincent Massey believed that the Crown belonged to Canadians, and as the Sovereign's representative his job was to strengthen that bond. He combined a respect for the Crown and its ceremonies with a commitment to using the Office of Governor General to promote Canadian unity and identity. He was tireless in his travels, visiting every corner of the country – where plane or ship couldn't reach, he went by canoe or dog team.
Mr. Massey's speeches often praised Canada's cultural diversity, and he emphasized the need to learn both English and French. Whether he was speaking to the Jewish Congress, being honoured by the Blood First Nation in Alberta, or visiting fishing villages in the Maritimes, he was a champion of all Canadians.
Encouraging the arts was one of Mr. Massey's noteworthy achievements. His promotion of a national festival of the arts began a movement that eventually led to the founding of the National Arts Centre. At Rideau Hall, he established writer's weekends to help create a Canadian literary identity. The then fledgling Stratford Shakespearean Festival received his enthusiastic support and he lent the prestige of his position to the opening of numerous art exhibitions. In 1953, he established the Governor General's Awards for Architecture, and he presented Canada Council awards to many artists, including the composer Sir Ernest MacMillan.
However, Vincent Massey was careful not to concentrate exclusively on any one area – he encouraged excellence in every field. His greatest ambition, creating a Canadian honours system, was not realized during his term, but his efforts helped lead to its creation in 1967, and Mr. Massey was one of the first Companions appointed in 1967. He established the Governor General's Gold Medal for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in 1954, and the Massey Medal to recognize national exploration, development, and description of geography for the Royal Canadian Geographical Society in 1959. Canada was developing a new confidence through its accomplishments in science, business and the arts, and Vincent Massey helped foster this positive identity.
Mr. Massey revived the use of the State carriage in 1953 when it was used in Ottawa for the Coronation celebrations of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Amid much pageantry, the carriage brought Vincent Massey and his staff to Parliament Hill under escort by members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Mr. Massey introduced Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II's Coronation speech, broadcast in London and around the world. The carriage he used that day is still used for the opening of Parliament and during official State visits. To commemorate Her Majesty's Coronation, Mr. Massey issued silver spoons to all Canadian children born on that day, June 2, 1953.
Mr. Massey conferred new regimental colours on the Governor General's Foot Guards, and presented a regimental mascot to the Royal 22e Régiment at La Citadelle in Québec, a well-behaved goat of Persian ancestry from the Royal herd called "Baptiste". The mascot was received by the regiment's honorary colonel, General Georges Vanier, who would become Vincent Massey's successor as Governor General.
Mr. Massey's term as Governor General was extended twice, first by Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, and then by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker before he left office on September 15, 1959.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Vincent Massey came from a prominent Canadian family – successful in business and active in philanthropy. His brother was the popular actor Raymond Massey, and his father was president of the Massey-Harris Company, known worldwide for manufacturing agricultural equipment.
His early education took place at St. Andrew's College. He continued his studies at the University of Toronto and then went on to attend Oxford – an early experience of England that gave him a lasting appreciation of its traditions and institutions.
After returning to Canada, he became Dean in Residence of Modern History at Victoria University in Toronto. On June 4, 1915, he married Alice Parkin, daughter of Sir George Parkin, a former principal of Upper Canada College and secretary of the Rhodes Trust. Sadly, Mrs. Massey died in July 1950, just 18 months before her husband's appointment as Governor General. As a result, his daughter-in-law, Lilias, acted as Chatelaine of Rideau Hall while Mr. Massey was in office.
Before beginning his career in diplomacy, Vincent Massey spent four years as president of the business his father had founded. During this time, he pursued philanthropic interests – promoting the arts, education and letters. He also began compiling one of Canada's great art collections and through the Massey Foundation, influenced the construction of Massey College at the University of Toronto.
In 1926, he was appointed first Canadian Minister to Washington and then High Commissioner to London in 1935. He made such a favourable impression in England that in 1946, King George VI invested him with the Companion of Honour. In 1949, he was appointed chairman of the Royal Commission on National Development in the Arts, Letters and Sciences. The ensuing report issued in 1951, known as the Massey Report, led to the creation of the National Library of Canada and the Canada Council.
After his term as Governor General, he retired to Batterwood, his home near Port Hope, Ontario, and he continued to chair the Massey Foundation, as he had done since 1926. The Foundation, incorporated in 1918, was the first trust of its kind to be established in Canada. He devoted his time to two of the foundation's endowments on the University of Toronto campus – Massey College and Hart House, a beautifully-designed student centre. For his achievements representing Canada's Sovereign, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II awarded him the Royal Victorian Chain on July 22, 1960. At the time, he was the only Canadian to receive this great honour.
In 1961, the Massey Lectures were created to honour Vincent Massey, in recognition of his energetic support for the humanities in Canada. The Massey Lectures allow a noted scholar or public figure to give a talk on a subject of his or her choice, and are considered by many to be the most important public lecture series in Canada.
Vincent Massey died while visiting England on December 30, 1967, and was given a State funeral in Canada in early January. He is buried in an Anglican cemetery near his home in Port Hope.
The news that King George VI had appointed the then-Viscount Alexander as Governor General caused excitement across the country. He was a hero of the Second World War, and was considered Britain's greatest military commander since the Duke of Wellington.
In addition to his reputation for military genius, Lord Alexander had a charismatic gift for making friends and communicating with people. This made him a popular and successful Governor General. He took his duties seriously – indeed, when he was asked to kick the opening ball in the 1946 Grey Cup final, he spent a number of early mornings practising. This was no token ceremonial punt!
He saw his role as a vital link between Canadians and their head of State, and was eager to convey that message wherever he went. His interest in personally communicating with Canadians never waned, whether he was meeting with residents of the Yukon Territory, speaking at a Canadian Club luncheon in Ottawa, talking with members of various First Nations or with a villager in rural Ontario. He travelled the country extensively, eventually logging more than 184,000 miles during his five years as Governor General.
On his first major visit out west, he was presented on July 13, 1946, with a totem pole made by Kwakiutl carver Mungo Martin, to mark his installation as an Honorary Chief of the Kwakiutl, the first white man to be so honoured. The totem pole remains a popular attraction on the front lawn of Rideau Hall. During a later visit in 1950, he was made Chief Eagle Head of the Blackfoot Indians.
Lord Alexander's term – the post-WWII years – was an era of change for Canada. The post-war economy boomed in Canada, and a new prosperity began. In Letters Patent of 1947, King George VI gave the Governor General all of His Majesty's powers and authorities in respect of Canada. The document continues to be the source of the Governor General's powers today. And in 1949, at the Commonwealth Prime Ministers Conference, the decision was made to use the term "member of the Commonwealth" instead of "Dominion".
That same year, Newfoundland entered Confederation, and Lord Alexander visited the new province that summer. But by 1950, Canada was once again embroiled in war, as Canadian Forces fought in Korea against Communist North Korea and the People's Republic of China. Lord Alexander visited the troops heading overseas to give them his personal encouragement.
Lord Alexander hosted various dignitaries, including Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip who came to Canada for a Royal Tour in October 1951, less than two years before the Princess would become Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada. The Alexanders hosted a square dancing party which the Princess and Prince attended. Lord Alexander also travelled abroad on official trips, visiting President Truman in the United States in 1947, and paying a State visit to Brazil in June 1948.
Generally, though, the Alexanders led an informal lifestyle. Lord Alexander was an avid sportsman, enjoying fishing, golf, hockey and rugby. Fond of the outdoors, he enjoyed attending the harvest of maple syrup in Ontario and Quebec, and personally supervised the tapping of the maple trees on the grounds of Rideau Hall. He was also a passionate painter, and in addition to setting up a studio for himself, in the former dairy which still stands today at Rideau Hall, he organized art classes at the National Gallery of Canada. Lady Alexander became an expert weaver while in Canada, and had two looms in her study.
Lord Alexander encouraged education in Canada. Many Canadian universities gave him honorary degrees, and he also received Honorary Doctor of Laws from Harvard and Princeton Universities in the United States. He also received the Order of Merit from King George VI in 1959.
In 1951, Lord Alexander received the chandelier that hangs in Rideau Hall's Ballroom. It was a gift from the British government to thank Canada for their contributions during World War II.
In early 1952, after his term was extended twice, Lord Alexander left the office of Governor General, after British Prime Minister Churchill asked him to return to London to take the post of Minister of Defence. Lord Alexander returned to England quietly, due to the sudden death of King George VI on February 6, 1952. He was temporarily replaced by an administrator prior to the appointment of the Right Honourable Vincent Massey.
Life before and after Rideau Hall
Lord Alexander was educated at Harrow, in Great Britain, and then pursued a military career by attending the Military College at Sandhurst. He was commissioned in the Irish Guards in 1911. He commanded a battalion of his regiment on the western front in the First World War and was wounded twice. For his meritorious service in the field, he was awarded the Military Cross in 1915, the Distinguished Service Order in 1916 and the Legion of Honour.
On October 14, 1931, he married Lady Margaret Diana Bingham, second daughter of the Earl of Lucan. They had four children, including one adopted during their stay in Canada.
At the outbreak of war in 1939, Lord Alexander was a Major-General in command of the First Division. He had been promoted in 1937, at the age of 45, making him the youngest general in the British army. In 1942, he commanded the forces in Burma and then became Commander-in-Chief in the Middle East. He was promoted to Field Marshal in 1944 after the capture of Tunis in 1943 and subsequently captured Rome in 1944. In May 1945, he imposed terms of unconditional surrender on the German armies in south-western Europe.
On March 1, 1946, he was elevated in the peerage as Viscount Alexander of Tunis and in December 1946 he was made a Knight of the Garter.
After serving as Governor General, he returned to England in 1952 to join the British House of Commons. He was created 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis and Baron Rideau of Ottawa, and of Castle Derg, county Tyrone on March 14, 1952. That same year, he was sworn into the British Privy Council, and was also a Canadian Privy Councillor.
Canada remained close to the Alexanders' hearts and they returned often to visit family and friends, and also because Lord Alexander held a directorship of the Aluminum Company of Canada. Lord Alexander died in 1969. His funeral was held June 24, 1969, at St. Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle, and his remains are buried in the churchyard of Ridge, near Tyttenhanger, his family's Hertfordshire home. Lady Alexander died in 1977.
Following the sudden death of Lord Tweedsmuir while in office, the Earl of Athlone, uncle of King George VI, was approached to assume the post of Governor General. There had been calls from government and the media for a Canadian Governor General, but Prime Minister Mackenzie King did not feel the time was right for this. Canada had been at war since 1939 and the country was adjusting to the difficulties of committing military personnel and materiel to the war against Nazi Germany.
The trip to Canada with his wife, Princess Alice - a granddaughter of Queen Victoria - was complicated by the war, and their ship zigzagged across the Atlantic to avoid submarine attack. But they arrived safely in Halifax.
As World War II continued, the Earl of Athlone was very active in supporting the war effort by continuously inspecting troops, training schools and military hospitals. Princess Alice was Honorary Commandant of the Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service, Honorary Air Commandant of the Royal Canadian Air Force (Women's Division) and president of the nursing division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade. Lord Athlone travelled throughout Canada to encourage Canadians, and to let them know that Canada's Sovereign stood with them in fighting totalitarianism.
The Earl of Athlone and Princess Alice hosted Prime Minister Mackenzie King, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and American President Franklin D. Roosevelt at La Citadelle in Québec on two separate occasions in 1943 and 1944. These meetings, known as the Quebec Conferences, helped decide the strategies of the Western Allies that would lead to victory over Nazi Germany and Japan in 1945.
Not everything was focussed on the war, though. The Earl of Athlone created the Athlone-Vanier Engineering Fellowship at the Engineering Institute of Canada, recognizing academic excellence, leadership and management potential. He also enjoyed the social activities around Ottawa, hosting tobogganing parties, skiing in Gatineau Park and learning how to skate.
The Governor General's office situated in the East Block on Parliament Hill was closed and moved to Rideau Hall in 1940. However, Rideau Hall’s main function during this period was as a temporary home for many stateless members of royal families displaced by the War, many of whom were relatives of the Lord Athlone and Princess Alice. Among the house guests were Crown Prince Olav and Crown Princess Martha of Norway, Grand Duchess Charlotte and Prince Felix of Luxembourg, King Peter of Yugoslavia, King George of Greece, Empress Zita of Austria and her daughters, and Queen Wilhelmina, Princess Juliana, Princess Beatrix, and Princess Margriet of the Netherlands. Princess Margriet was born in Ottawa at the Civic Hospital, where the delivery room was temporarily declared Dutch soil to ensure that the Princess was born in the Netherlands. To this day, Holland sends tulips to Ottawa to commemorate the assistance Canada gave to Holland.
Lord Athlone took part in the celebrations marking both victory in Europe and victory over Japan in 1945. And when he received an Honorary Degree from McGill University, he spoke about the future of young Canadians -- one not marked by war, but by reconciliation and reconstruction, in which Canada would play a leading role.
Lord Athlone witnessed major changes in Canada as it emerged from the war. The country was an independent nation with a strong, vital economy and active in world affairs.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Prince Alexander (he did not become the Earl of Athlone until 1917) came from a distinguished background. He was the son of the 1st Duke of Teck and Princess Mary Adelaide. A brother of Queen Mary's, he was the uncle of King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II's father. Following his education at Eton, Prince Alexander went into the military, training at the Military College at Sandhurst and was appointed Second Lieutenant with the 7th Hussar in 1894. He served in the Matabele campaign in Africa in 1896-96 with the 7th Hussars, and received the honour of being mentioned in dispatches. In the South African War of 1899 - 1901 he served with the Inniskilling Dragoons and awarded the Distinguished Service Order in 1900. In WWI, he was again mentioned in dispatches twice.
On February 10, 1904, he married Princess Alice Mary Victoria Augusta Pauline, daughter of Prince Leopold and granddaughter of Queen Victoria. They had three children, although one died within a year of birth, and another at age 20.
Originally, Prince Alexander had been appointed Governor General of Canada in 1914, but he convinced King George V to release him for wartime service. He acted as a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem and, from 1923 to 1930, served as Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of South Africa. Returning to England in 1931, he became Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle.
After their term in Canada, the Earl of Athlone and Princess Alice returned to England, where they lived at Kensington Palace. The Earl of Athlone became the Chancellor of London University from 1932 to 1955, and Princess Alice became the first Chancellor of the University of the West Indies in 1950. He died in 1957. Princess Alice returned to Rideau Hall in 1959 as a guest of the Vaniers. She also came to Ottawa in 1963 when, as honorary colonel of the Princess Louise Dragoon Guards, she presented their new regimental colours. Princess Alice died on January 3, 1981 at Kensington Palace, at the age of 97.
When Lord Tweedsmuir became Governor General, Canada was graced with a very literary vice-regal couple. Lord Tweedsmuir was a prolific author, writing two or three books a year – his suspense novel Thirty-Nine Steps later became famous when Alfred Hitchcock made it into a movie. Lady Tweedsmuir wrote many books and plays under the name of Susan Buchan.
During his time as Governor General, Lord Tweedsmuir continued to write and his book Augustus, and his autobiography, Memory Hold-the-Door, were penned at Rideau Hall. While he pursued his own writing career, he also promoted the development of a distinctly Canadian culture. In 1936, encouraged by Lady Tweedsmuir, he created the Governor General's Literary Awards, which continue to be Canada's most prestigious recognition of literary merit.
Lady Tweedsmuir was active in promoting literacy in Canada. She used Rideau Hall as a distribution centre for 40,000 books, which were sent out to readers in remote areas of the west. Her program was known as the "Lady Tweedsmuir Prairie Library Scheme". Together, Lord and Lady Tweedsmuir established the first proper library at Rideau Hall.
Lord Tweedsmuir took his responsibilities in Canada seriously and tried to make the office of Governor General relevant to the lives of ordinary Canadians. In his own words, "a Governor General is in a unique position for it is his duty to know the whole of Canada and all the various types of her people".
Lord Tweedsmuir travelled throughout Canada, including the Arctic Circle. He took every opportunity to speak to Canadians and to encourage them to develop their own distinct identity. He wanted to build national unity by diminishing the religious and linguistic barriers that divided the country. Lord Tweedsmuir was aware of the suffering experienced by many Canadians due to the Depression and often wrote with compassion about their difficulties.
Lord Tweedsmuir was recognized by Glasgow, St. Andrews, McGill, Toronto and Montreal Universities, all of which conferred on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, and he was made an Honorary Fellow and an Honorary D.C.L. of Oxford.
When His Majesty King George V died in 1936, the front of Rideau Hall was covered in black crepe and Lord Tweedsmuir cancelled all entertaining during the period of mourning. The new heir to the throne, King Edward VIII, soon abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson – creating a crisis for the monarchy. However, when the new King, His Majesty George VI and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth travelled throughout Canada in 1939, the regal visit – the first visit to Canada by a reigning Sovereign – was extremely popular.
Like many people of his time, the experience of the First World War convinced Lord Tweedsmuir of the horrors of armed conflict and he worked with both United States President Roosevelt and Prime Minister Mackenzie King in trying to avert the ever-growing threat of another world war.
While shaving on February 6, 1940, Lord Tweedsmuir had a stroke and injured his head badly in the fall. He received the best possible care – Canada's famous Dr. Wilder Penfield operated twice – but the injury proved fatal. On February 11, just 10 months before his term of office was to expire, Lord Tweedsmuir died. Prime Minister McKenzie King reflected the loss that all Canadians felt when he read the following words over the radio, "In the passing of His Excellency, the people of Canada have lost one of the greatest and most revered of their Governors General, and a friend who, from the day of his arrival in this country, dedicated his life to their service."
This was the first time a Governor General had died during his term of office since Confederation. After the lying-in-state in the Senate Chamber, a State funeral for Lord Tweedsmuir was held at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Ottawa. His ashes were returned to England on the warship H.M.S. Orion for final burial at Elsfield.
Life Before Rideau Hall
Long before his appointment to Rideau Hall, Lord Tweedsmuir was well known for his poetry, histories and novels. After studying at the universities of Glasgow and Oxford, he received a Master of Arts, and was then called to the Bar in 1901.
Lord Tweedsmuir married Susan Charlotte Grosvenor, cousin of the Duke of Westminster, on July 15, 1907. Together they had four children, two of whom would spend most of their lives in Canada.
Following the South African War, he worked with Lord Milner, High Commissioner in South Africa, in an effort to rebuild that country. During the First World War, he was a correspondent for the London Times in France before becoming Director of Information under Lord Beaverbrook in 1917. He held many positions including the president of the Scottish Historical Society, trustee of the National Library of Scotland, director of a publishing company and, on two occasions, was accepted as His Majesty's High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. When Tweedsmuir entered politics in 1927, he was elected member of Parliament for the Scottish Universities.
Upon accepting his appointment as Governor General of Canada, he also received a peerage, and was created Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield in the county of Oxford on June 1, 1935.
Communications was a hallmark of Lord Bessborough's term of office. His installation was the first to be broadcast nationally by radio. He inaugurated the first trans-Canadian phone system in 1932, speaking from his study at Rideau Hall to each of the Lieutenant Governors, and had a direct telephone link established between his office and that of Prime Minister R.B. Bennett. He also saw the creation of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Like his predecessors, Lord Bessborough travelled throughout Canada – voyages that helped him understand the national character. This was the era of the Great Depression and Lord Bessborough witnessed first-hand its impact on the country. While he was deeply affected by the suffering of so many people, he also admired their dignity and perseverance. In a speech given in Shawbridge, Quebec he remarked, "Having seen the Dominion during this period I think I have learned to appreciate Canadians far more than I would have been able to do in time of general prosperity. There is nothing more encouraging and cheering than the calm steady way Canadians have pursued their daily tasks during the difficult period with a supreme faith in the destiny of their country." His sympathy for the hardships of others prompted Lord Bessborough to recommend a reduction of 10 per cent in his salary – a suggestion that was accepted.
After it was agreed that the Governor General of Canada would no longer represent the British Government, by patent of His Majesty George V, a new standard was designed for the office. In 1931, Lord Bessborough was the first to fly this new Vice-Regal standard designed specifically for Canada, showing a heraldic lion with the word Canada underneath. It is flown to indicate the presence of the Governor General at Rideau Hall or at other locations for official ceremonies, a tradition that continues to this day.
Despite the Depression, Canada was a growing country with new institutions and an emerging international role, and as Governor General, Lord Bessborough played an important role in these developments. In 1932, he opened the Imperial Economic Conference in the House of Commons -- Ottawa's first great international gathering. He also opened the new Welland Canal and the new building of the National Research Council of Canada in Ottawa.
At both Rideau Hall and La Citadelle, the Bessborough's welcomed a number of prominent visitors – including Prince and Princess Takamatsu of Japan and the King and Queen of Siam, Winston Churchill and Sir Hubert Wilkins, the Arctic explorer.
Lord and Lady Bessborough brought their interest in theatre to Canada – their son, Viscount Duncannon, was active in the Ottawa Little Theatre. One of the highlights of the Bessborough's term was the organization of the Dominion Drama Festival. With help from Vincent Massey and Colonel Henry C. Osborne of the Ottawa Little Theatre, Lord Bessborough created a nation-wide competition for amateur companies with the finals held in Ottawa. The first Festival was in April 1933 and the highest award, the Bessborough trophy, was won by a group from Winnipeg. The Bessborough trophy was later replaced by the Calvert trophy. The festival's official photographer later rose to prominence – Yousuf Karsh's extraordinary career was launched with his subsequent portraits of the Bessboroughs.
The Bessboroughs took an active interest in Canadian life in other ways, too. They participated in a campaign to increase membership in the Scouts. In January 1935, they launched the King's Jubilee Cancer Fund with a radio broadcast from Rideau Hall. And one of the last events during Lord Bessborough's term was the celebration of King George V's Silver Jubilee in May 1935.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
After completing his education at Harrow and Trinity College, Cambridge, Lord Bessborough began his career in law in 1903. This was followed by his marriage to Roberte de Neuflize, the only daughter of Baron Jean de Neuflize of Paris, France. They were married on June 25, 1912, and had four children. In 1925, their ten-year old son died in a riding accident. Their fourth child was born in Canada four months after their arrival and given the name of George St. Lawrence (after the river) Neuflize.
Lord Bessborough ran for various positions of public office. He held seats in the London County Council from 1907 to 1910 and the House of Commons as a Member of Parliament for the Conservative Party from 1913 to 1920. Then on the death of his father, he succeeded to the Earldom in the Irish peerage as 9th Earl of Bessborough and entered the House of Lords.
Following the war, he pursued a successful business career, holding directorships in several large commercial firms, one of the most notable being his position as deputy chairman of DeBeers Consolidated Mines.
After his term as Governor General ended, Lord Bessborough returned to England and for a short time returned to his earlier business pursuits. On June 2, 1937, he was created 1st Earl of Bessborough in the United Kingdom for his services in Canada. During the Second World War, he helped establish a department within the Foreign Office that looked after the welfare of French refugees in Britain.
A year before his death in 1956, Lord Bessborough and his wife made a last visit to Canada and stayed with Vincent Massey at Rideau Hall. During his time in Canada, he witnessed a country that had successfully emerged from the Depression of the 1930s, but also a country changed by World War II and the Korean War.
Lord Willingdon assumed his new duties as Governor General just as Canada embarked, domestically and internationally, on a new direction as an independent nation. Canada's change in status resulted from the Imperial Conference, held that same month, which gave the Dominions autonomy, making them equal to Britain. Consequently, Lord Willingdon was the first Governor General to represent the Crown and act on the advice of Canadian ministers rather than acting as an agent of the British government.
Lord Willingdon travelled throughout Canada and met with a wide variety of Canadians. He was the first Governor General to travel by air, flying from Ottawa to Montreal and back. In one of his early speeches after taking office, Lord Willingdon foresaw a destiny for Canada that many Canadians today would endorse: "I hope and pray that our country may take a long step forward towards the fulfilment of its destiny, that of becoming a great nation, exercising a powerful influence in securing peace and contentment among the people of the world".
The Prince of Wales and Prince George, with the Right Honourable Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister of Great Britain, visited Canada in July 1927 to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Confederation. It was Canada's Diamond Jubilee and the joyful ringing of the new carillon for Parliament's Victoria Tower (now called the Peace Tower) was radio broadcast throughout the country on July 1. That same year, Governor General Willingdon travelled to Washington – the first official visit by a Governor General – and received State honours from the President of the United States. During this trip, he was received by Vincent Massey, the first Canadian minister to Washington (a position we now call Ambassador), who later served as Governor General from 1952 to 1959.
Governor General Willingdon was a keen sportsman. He particularly enjoyed fishing, golf, tennis, skating, skiing, curling and cricket, and he welcomed the opportunity to have many of the same sports played at Rideau Hall.
Both Lord and Lady Willingdon had an appreciation for the arts and they furnished Rideau Hall with rare carpets, screens and objets d'art they had collected during their travels in China and India. (In 1993, the Long Gallery at Rideau Hall was restored in the Chinese style of Lady Willingdon's time.) They also introduced the Willingdon Arts Competition which built on the Lord Grey Competition for Music and Drama, adding awards for painting and sculpture.
As his term of office drew to a close, the Great Depression was beginning its ruinous course and although Lord Willingdon was leaving Canada for a new posting in India, he often expressed his concern for the unemployed.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Before he became Canada's Governor General, Lord Willingdon had gained education and experience that made him well-suited for the position. He was schooled at Eton and Cambridge University and had a wealth of experience in the functions of government and overseas administration. His marriage to Lady Marie Adelaide was a source of strength to Lord Willingdon and a lifelong partnership. On many occasions, he recognized the able support she had provided. "My wife", he once remarked, "has been a constant inspiration and encouragement." Together, they had two sons; the older was killed in action early in the First World War.
From 1900 - 1910, Lord Willingdon served as a Liberal member of Parliament. His life in politics ended when he took his seat in the House of Lords after being raised to the peerage on July 20, 1910 as Baron Willingdon of Ratton in the county Sussex. Lord Willingdon then acted as both Lord-in-Waiting and an enthusiastic tennis partner to His Majesty King George V.
Lord Willingdon began his experience in overseas administration as an aide-de-camp to his father-in-law, who was Governor of Victoria in Australia from 1897 - 1900. He was Governor of Bombay from 1913 to 1918, and then Governor of Madras from 1919 to 1924. On June 23, 1924, he was elevated to Viscount Willingdon. While on a diplomatic mission to China, he received word of his appointment on August 5, 1926 as Governor General of Canada.
After leaving Canada in 1931, Lord Willingdon served as Viceroy of India until 1936. In that capacity, he faced many challenges including Mahatma Gandhi's campaign of civil disobedience. Lady Willingdon is remembered in India for her work to improve human rights. After returning to England, Lord Willingdon was sworn in as a member of the Privy Council and elevated as the 1st Marquess of Willingdon. He was one of the first commoners to be raised to this level.
Lord Willingdon died in 1941; Lady Willingdon died in 1960.
Lord Byng was well-known to Canadians before his appointment as Governor General. In 1916, during the First World War, he took command of the Canadian Army Corps on the western front. He gained his greatest glory with the Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge in April 1917, an historic military victory for Canada that inspired nationalism at home. During his travels across the country throughout his term of office, he was enthusiastically greeted by the men he had led.
Lord Byng's appointment was less controversial than that of his predecessor, the Duke of Devonshire. This was partly due to his popularity but also because he was appointed following direct consultation with the Canadian government. Lord Byng took to his office enthusiastically, further entrenching many of the traditions established by his predecessors. He also broke with tradition and was the first Governor General to appoint Canadian aides-de-camp -- one of them was Georges Vanier, who later served as Governor General from 1959 - 1967.
He was always passionate about sport, and both he and his wife particularly loved ice hockey – Lord Byng rarely missed a game played by the Ottawa Senators. In 1925, Lady Byng presented a trophy to the National Hockey League, which, to this day, recognizes sportsmanship and excellence in play.
Lord and Lady Byng also travelled more than any of their predecessors, making extended trips to western Canada and the North, taking the opportunity to meet with many Canadians. Lord Byng established the Governor General's Cup at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and Lady Byng created a rock garden at Rideau Hall, which still delights visitors today.
The most notable issue during Lord Byng's term of office was the "King-Byng Affair" – a political crisis that arose between the Governor General and Prime Minister Mackenzie King. It was watched closely by both the Canadian and British governments, and came to redefine the role of Governor General.
Traditionally, the position of Governor General had represented both the Sovereign (the King or Queen of Canada) and the British government, a situation that had evolved with Lord Byng's predecessors and the Canadian government as well as the Canadian people into a tradition of non-interference in Canadian political affairs.
In September 1924, Prime Minister Mackenzie King requested a dissolution of Parliament to call an election, which Lord Byng granted. In the 1925 election, the Conservative party won the most seats, but not a majority. Counting on the support of the Progressive Party to overcome the Conservative minority, Mackenzie King, the Liberal Party leader, did not resign as Prime Minister and remained in power in the House of Commons until 1926.
Then, a political scandal in the Ministry of Customs and Excise became public, and in Parliament the Conservative Party alleged that the corruption extended to the highest levels of government, including the Prime Minister. Mackenzie King fired the Minister of Customs and promptly named him to the Senate, creating even more dismay among the members of the Progressive Party, who had already been withdrawing their support for the Liberal government.
Facing a third vote on the question of government corruption, and having already lost two previous votes on questions of procedure, Mr. King went to the Governor General seeking a dissolution of Parliament. Lord Byng refused the request and the crisis began. Prime Minister King requested that before any decision was made, Lord Byng consult the British government which he represented. Governor General Byng again refused, citing non-interference in Canadian affairs.
The next day, Mr. King presented Lord Byng with an Order-in-Council seeking the dissolution of Parliament, which Lord Byng refused to sign. As a result, Canada was left temporarily without a Prime Minister and government until the Governor General invited Arthur Meighen to form a government. Mr. Meighen did so, but within a week lost a non-confidence vote in the House of Commons. Prime Minister Meighen requested a dissolution of Parliament, which was granted by Governor General Byng, and a new election was called.
Politically, much was made of the 'Byng-King Crisis' during the election campaign. The Liberals were returned to power with a clear majority and Mackenzie King as Prime Minister. Once in power, Mackenzie King's government sought to redefine the role of Governor General as a representative of the Sovereign and not the British government, and this was soon put into effect.
On leaving Canada on September 30, 1926, the Byng's returned to England with many close friendships they had established while serving Canada. Lord Byng had worked to represent the interest of Canadians as much as possible, and despite the political crisis, did leave a much-respected man.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Lord Byng had studied at Eton, and then began a military career in which he saw service in India and in South Africa during the war of 1899 - 1900. During this campaign, he asked Marie Evelyn Moreton, the only daughter of Sir Richard Charles Moreton, comptroller at Rideau Hall during the term of office of the Marquess of Lorne, to marry him. He was so anxious to receive an answer that he asked her to send her reply by cable. Lord Byng framed her answer, "Yes, please return immediately", and kept it on his desk for the rest of his life. They were married on April 30, 1902, and had no children.
When the First World War came, Lord Byng first campaigned in France with the British Expeditionary Force as commander of the Cavalry Corps. Later, he commanded the 9th Army Corps in the ill-fated Dardanelles Campaign and supervised the withdrawal from the Straits. By 1916, he was given the command of the Canadian Army Corps. Following the victory at Vimy Ridge, Lord Byng took command of the 3rd British Army where he conducted the first surprise attack using tanks at Cambrai, considered a turning point in the war. For these services he was promoted to the rank of general, and after the war was raised to the peerage as 1st Baron Byng of Vimy of Thorpe-le-Soken, in Essex, on October 7, 1919.
Following his term as Governor General, Lord and Lady Byng returned to England where he was raised in the peerage as Viscount. He served as Commissioner of the London Metropolitan Police and was promoted to the rank of Field Marshal, finally retiring with his wife to Essex, England. Lord Byng died in 1935 and Lady Byng returned to Canada during World War II to live with friends. She died in 1949.
The appointment of the Duke of Devonshire as Governor General caused brief political problems because Prime Minister Borden's government had not been consulted by the British Prime Minister. Such consultation had become an established practice, and the insult Prime Minister Borden felt at this caused considerable difficulties at the beginning.
But by the time his term ended, the Duke of Devonshire had overcome the initial suspicion surrounding his appointment. He displayed great dignity and wisdom, particularly with the many Canadians he met. Prime Ministers Borden and Meighen both came to view him as a personal friend and a friend of Canada. Borden said of the Duke of Devonshire that, "No Governor General has come¼ with a more comprehensive grasp of public questions as they touch not only this country and the United Kingdom, but the whole Empire."
There was great social upheaval in Canada during the Duke of Devonshire's term of office. World War I still raged, and Canada continued to commit supplies and troops. The Canadian victory at Vimy Ridge in 1917 confirmed the fighting ability of our troops, and fuelled Canadian pride and nationalism at home. The Duchess of Devonshire took an active part in volunteer organizations to help ease the suffering of people affected by the war, and she visited many military hospitals across the country.
The war was also causing social problems. The Canadian government introduced conscription shortly after the Duke of Devonshire's arrival. The decision was particularly divisive between French and English Canadians. Devonshire did what he could to encourage reconciliation, but he was very conscious of his role as Governor General, which at that time was still closely linked to the British government. As a result, he was careful to consult with Prime Minister Borden and the opposition leaders, and to not interfere in political matters.
As well, the women's suffrage movement grew in strength and, during the Duke of Devonshire's term, women were given the vote. Social unrest also came, however, in the form of the Winnipeg General Strike, as Canadians made new demands of society and of the political system that served them. Prime Minister Borden retired towards the end of the Duke of Devonshire's term, and was replaced by Prime Minister Meighen.
While the Duke of Devonshire did not intervene in politics, he was clearly interested in Canadians and their lives, and undertook several tours across the country. In 1918, he went to Washington to visit, informally, President Woodrow Wilson at the White House. The following year, he received the Prince of Wales in Ottawa on the Prince's first tour of Canada.
With his own experience in England as an agricultural land owner, he was extremely interested in the development of farming in Canada. During his travels, he discussed agricultural issues with farmers and others in the industry. They found he had the knowledge and expertise to back up his interest in this field.
He visited many agricultural and horticultural fairs, shows, and sugaring-off parties in the Gatineau. In 1921, the Duke of Devonshire Trophy for the Ottawa Horticultural Society was established. One of his major projects was to encourage the establishment of experimental farms, including the Government of Canada's major experimental farm, then on the outskirts of Ottawa. His speeches often spoke of Canada's potential to lead the world in agricultural research and development.
The Duke of Devonshire was also a patron of the arts. He often visited the National Gallery of Canada, and encouraged frequent theatrical performances at Rideau Hall. Skating and tobogganing parties also continued on the grounds during the winters, where the Duchess was able to refresh the skating techniques she had learned as a girl at Rideau Hall. The Duke also loved ice hockey, and attended many matches. They also made improvements to Rideau Hall by building tennis courts and developing the gardens. And in 1918, the Duchess of Devonshire became the first woman to plant a ceremonial tree, a sugar maple, on the grounds of Rideau Hall. Of everything the Duke enjoyed about Canada, however, he especially enjoyed the residence at La Citadelle in Quebec City, and he loved spending time there.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Beginning his education at Eton, he carried on his studies at Trinity College, Cambridge prior to beginning a career in politics in 1891. He married Lady Evelyn Emily Mary Fitzmaurice, eldest daughter of Lord Lansdowne (Canada's fifth Governor General), on July 30, 1892. Together, they had two sons and five daughters. Two of their daughters married ADC's to their father while he was Governor General: Lady Maud Cavendish married Captain Angus Mackintosh in 1917, and Lady Dorothy Cavendish married Captain Harold MacMillan, who later became Prime Minister of Britain, in 1920. Their youngest son, Charles Arthur Francis, married Adele Astaire, the sister of Fred Astaire, in 1932.
On the death of his father in 1891, who represented West Derbyshire, he succeeded his father unopposed, becoming the youngest member of the House of Commons. He remained elected to that seat until 1908. He also acted as Treasurer to His Majesty's Household from 1900 to 1903, then Financial Secretary to the Treasury from 1903 to 1905. He was Mayor of Eastbourne from 1909-10 and of Chesterfield from 1911-12, and a Civil Lord of the British Admiralty between 1915 to 1916. He was appointed Governor General of Canada in 1916.
On returning to England after his term in Canada, he worked for the League of Nations and was then Secretary of State for the Colonies until 1924. On his retirement from political life, he lived on his estate in Derbyshire until his death in 1938. Lady Evelyn died in 1960.
Prince Arthur, the Duke of Connaught, was the third son of Queen Victoria, and was the first member of the Royal Family to become Governor General of Canada.
During the Duke of Connaught's term of office, Sir Robert Borden was Prime Minister and Canada continued to grow and mature as a nation. In 1914, however, World War I gave Canada one of its greatest challenges. The call to arms as a colony of Britain between 1914 and 1918 taxed Canada's human and physical resources. At the same time, it was a chance to strengthen Canadian nationalism and to create a larger role for Canada internationally. Against the background of war, the Duke of Connaught stressed the importance of Canadian military contributions, but also sought to enhance charity at home. The Connaughts also made an effort to contribute to the social life of the capital, making Rideau Hall a major site for events for Canadians from across the country.
The Duke of Connaught went to his office in the East Block of Parliament Hill daily when he was in Ottawa. He also travelled throughout Canada with his family, meeting all kinds of Canadians, who received them with great enthusiasm. Port Arthur, now part of Thunder Bay, Ontario, was named in his honour. He emphasized military training and readiness for Canadian troops departing for war, and gave his name to Connaught Cup for the Royal North West Mounted Police, to encourage pistol marksmanship for recruits, a competition originally established in 1912 as the Revolver Challenge Cup. He was active in auxiliary war services and charities and conducted hospital visits, while the Duchess of Connaught worked for the Red Cross and other organizations to support the war cause. She was also Colonel-in-Chief of the Duchess of Connaught's Own Irish Canadian Rangers battalion, one of the regiments in the Canadian Expeditionary Force.
Their daughter, Princess Patricia, also lent her name and support to the raising of a new Canadian army regiment -- Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry. Princess Patricia personally designed its badge and colours for the regiment to take overseas to France. As the regiment's Colonel-in-Chief, she played an active role in the regiment until her death. She was succeeded in 1974 by her cousin and god-daughter the Rt. Hon. Lady Patricia Brabourne, who became the Countess Mountbatten of Burma.
For Christmas in 1915, the Duchess sent a card and a box of maple sugar to every Canadian serving overseas. She also had a knitting machine on which she made thousands of pairs of socks for soldiers. The Duke of Connaught and his family grieved the loss of many of their personal staff serving overseas during the war. Following the war, he commissioned a stained glass window in their memory which is located in St. Bartholomew's Church next to Rideau Hall, which the family attended regularly.
Princess Patricia was an avid skater and became a society favourite in Ottawa. She started a tradition of dress dinners where guests arrived in various national dress and she hosted
numerous skating parties at Rideau Hall. With her husband, she held many fancy dress balls and organized huge children's parties, and he continued the 'Lord Grey Competitions for Music and Drama'. In September of 1916, he laid the cornerstone for the new Parliament buildings in Ottawa, after the old building was almost completely destroyed by fire in February of the same year.
Many improvements were made to Rideau Hall during the Connaught's term. The present facade, which includes the Royal Coat of Arms carved in stone, was added to the front of the building. The Long Gallery was built, the greenhouse was extended, and a new cloakroom also added. A police guardhouse, the present three-car garage, and a second staff residence were also added to the grounds, in addition to the hundreds of deciduous trees that were planted.
As his term drew to a close in 1916, he publicly stated his regret on leaving Canada, as he and his family had grown very comfortable here.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
The Duke of Connaught completed a military career which included formal education at the British Royal Military College, followed by service in South Africa, Egypt, India, Ireland and Canada, during the Red River Rebellion of 1870. He married Princess Louise Margaret of Prussia on March 13, 1879, and together they had three children: Princess Margaret, Prince Arthur and Princess Patricia. They lived in India for many years prior to his appointment as Governor General of Canada.
After his term at Rideau Hall, the Duke of Connaught returned to military service for the remainder of the war. The Duchess, who had been ill during their years at Rideau Hall, died in March 1917. The Duke of Connaught spent a long life in retirement, and died in 1942, at the age of 91.
In February 1919, Princess Patricia married Captain Alexander Ramsay, her father's Aide-de-Camp. Because he was a commoner, she felt obliged to renounce her royal titles and became Lady Patricia Ramsay.
Earl Grey was a very active Governor General. He was in constant contact with the Prime Minister, offering ideas for social reform. He sought greater political inclusion for all, and worked to reach as many ordinary Canadians as possible. In fact, he was so dedicated and involved that then-prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier said Lord Grey gave "his whole heart, his whole soul, and his whole life to Canada."
Lord Grey was in office during a time of increasing economic development, industrialization and immigration in Canada. Both Alberta and Saskatchewan entered Confederation in 1905. It was also a time of change. In 1911, Sir Wilfrid Laurier's government was defeated by Sir Robert Borden over the issue of trade reciprocity with the United States. King Edward VII died in 1910, and King George V was crowned in 1911.
Earl Grey travelled throughout Canada extensively, from the Maritimes to the north and to western Canada. He was the first Governor General to travel to Newfoundland, where he issued a warm invitation for them to join Confederation. He also developed strong bonds with U.S. President Roosevelt, visiting the United States on different occasions.
With his desire for social reform and cohesion, Earl Grey was a strong promoter of national unity among French and English Canadians, as well as a supporter of unity within the entire British Empire. He also advocated prison reforms in Canada to provide greater social justice.
On June 16, 1905, a second Commission was issued that appointed Lord Grey as "Governor General of Canada and Commander-in-Chief of the Dominion of Canada". This reflected the passing of the Militia Act in 1904, and resulted in changes to the Letters Patent Constituting the Office of the Governor General.
Earl Grey sought to promote culture among Canadians. From 1906 to 1908, he was heavily involved in the Quebec Tercentenary, the celebrations, pageantry and social functions marking the 300th anniversary of the founding of the city. He also influenced the decision to have the Plains of Abraham, the battlefield where the French and English fought in 1759 which led to the fall of New France, designated a national park in Quebec City.
He supported the arts, and established the "Grey Competition for Music and Drama" which was first held in 1907. Today, professional football teams still compete for the Grey Cup, which he donated to the Canadian Football League in 1909.
In 1907, Lord Grey received Canada's first important foreign royal visit, Prince Fushima of Japan. In 1908, as part of the Quebec Tercentenary celebrations, he welcomed the Prince of Wales (later King George V), who reviewed 12,000 Canadian military personnel along with a host of ships visiting Quebec.
Lady Grey was the first spouse of a Governor General to be designated as "Her Excellency", an appellation approved by His Majesty King Edward VII. She was very interested in her husband's role and duties. She sponsored contests for beautiful gardens in Ottawa, known as the "Lady Grey Competitions", (which continued a tradition begun during the Minto term) and also planted daffodils on the west lawn, which visitors to Rideau Hall can still see today.
During his term, Lord Grey added both the Governor General's study and a new conservatory (which was removed in 1923-24) to Rideau Hall. And upon his departure, he sold the State Landau, which he had purchased from the Governor General of Australia, to the Canadian government – the carriage is still used for official functions. Lord Grey also recommended that a "great" railway hotel be built in the nation's capital – an idea that grew into the Chateau Laurier.
Lord Grey and his wife received many accolades for their work with Canadians and for their championship of social reform.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Earl Grey was educated at Harrow and Trinity College, and graduated from Cambridge, where he studied history and law. He came from a family that had enjoyed successful political careers based on reform, including colonial reform. In 1846, his uncle, as Colonial Secretary, was the first to suggest that colonies should be self-sustaining and governed for the benefit of their inhabitants, instead of for the benefit of England. In 1877, he married Alice Holford and together they had five children, one of whom died in early childhood.
Earl Grey served as a member of Parliament from 1880 to 1886 and became a member of the House of Lords in 1886. He travelled extensively throughout the British Empire, and was Administrator of Rhodesia from 1896-97. He also gained commercial experience as the Director of the British South AfricaCompany from 1898 to 1904.
On leaving office in 1911, Earl Grey and his family returned to England, where he became president of the Royal Colonial Institute (now the Royal Commonwealth Society) in London. Lord Grey died at his family residence in 1917.
Long before his vice-regal appointment, Lord Minto spent several years in Canada serving as an Aide-de-camp to General Middleton during the North West Rebellion. On his departure home to England, Sir John A. Macdonald apparently said to him, "I shall not live to see it, but some day Canada will welcome you back as Governor General". Sir John A. Macdonald's prediction came true when Lord Minto was named Governor General of Canada in the summer of 1898.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier wrote that Lord Minto "took his duties to heart" and a review of his life reveals an energetic man who welcomed many challenges and responsibilities.
Governor General Minto's term of office was marked by a period of strong nationalism which saw economic growth coupled with massive immigration to Canada. Relations with the United States were strained as border and fishing disputes continued to create problems between the two countries.
In September 1901, after Queen Victoria's death in January, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York (later to become King George V and Queen Mary) visited Canada, and travelled with Lady Minto to western Canada and the Klondike.
Lord Minto, like his predecessors, travelled throughout the young country -- he crossed Ontario, Quebec and western Canada, visiting former battlegrounds where he had served during the North West Rebellion. He rode throughout western Canada with the North West Mounted Police, and enjoyed the Quebec countryside on horseback.
Lord Minto's convictions about the importance of preserving our heritage led to the creation of the National Archives of Canada.
Lord and Lady Minto were sports enthusiasts and the Minto Skating Club, which they founded in 1903, has produced many famous skaters. They both excelled at the sport and hosted many lively skating parties during their time at Rideau Hall. In the summer, the Minto family loved to bicycle and play lacrosse. In 1901, Lord Minto gave his name to the Minto Cup Canadian Lacrosse Association championship award. He loved the outdoors, championed the conservation of natural resources and promoted the creation of national parks.
In education and health, Governor General Minto encouraged a forward-looking approach. He believed that Canada's progress depended on the cultivation of patriotism and unity, and this conviction was reflected in his desire to see a wider history curriculum developed in Canadian schools. In response to the health crisis posed by tuberculosis, he helped establish the first anti-tuberculosis foundation in Canada.
Governor General Minto also took great interest in the development of the Canadian military and emphasized the need for training and professional development. He was appointed honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Governor General's Foot Guards Regiment on December 1, 1898, and was subsequently appointed honorary Colonel, a tradition that has continued with the post of Governors General to this day.
On his trip back to England in 1904, having finished his term as Canada's Governor General, Lord Minto wrote in his journal ". . .so our life in Canada is over and it has been a great wrench parting from so many friends and leaving a country which I love, and which has been very full of interest to me".
Life before and After Rideau Hall
Before coming to Canada as Governor General, Lord Minto's life was one of accomplishment and adventure. After completing his education at Eton College and Cambridge University, he enlisted as an officer with the Scots Fusilier Guards in 1867, serving in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877 and the Afghan War of 1879. He acted as private secretary to Lord Roberts at Cape Colony in 1881 and was with the army occupying Egypt in 1882, thus furthering his military career and his experience of colonial administration.
In 1883, Lord Minto came to Canada as military secretary to Governor General Lansdowne. With him came his new wife, Mary Caroline Grey, sister of Earl Grey, Governor General from 1904-1911, whom he had married in England on July 28, 1883. On this first Canadian visit, he was very active in raising a Canadian volunteer force to serve with the British Army in the Sudan Campaign of 1884. He served as an aide-de-camp to General Middleton during the North West Rebellion of 1885. When he was offered command of the North West Mounted Police, he decided instead to pursue a political career in England.
His political aspirations were checked with his defeat in the1886 general election. He then applied himself with great enthusiasm to promoting a volunteer army in Britain. He organized a volunteer peacetime auxiliary regiment of the British Army, the Border Mounted Rifles, which he soon turned into one of the most efficient regiments in England.
After serving as Governor General of Canada from 1898 to 1904, Lord Minto became the Viceroy of India in 1905, where he instituted many reforms and carried on the traditions he had established in Canada. He retired to England in 1910 and, for his lifetime of service, was made a Knight of the Garter.
Even before Lord Aberdeen became Governor General in 1893, he and Lady Aberdeen had fallen in love with Canada. They had taken a world tour in 1890, which included an extensive visit to Canada. The Aberdeens were so impressed with this country that they purchased "Coldstream Ranch", located in the Okanagan Valley of British Columbia, in 1891. They named the ranch "Guisachan", after Lady Aberdeen's father's estate in Scotland, and the house stands to this day.
Lord Aberdeen was Governor General during a period of political transition, throughout the terms of four Prime Ministers – Sir John Thompson, Sir Mackenzie Bowell, Sir Charles Tupper and Sir Wilfrid Laurier. It was also an era of controversy marred by competing issues, from the abolition of separate French schools in Manitoba – which created a unity crisis – to the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway to the discovery of gold in the Yukon Territory. Lord Aberdeen was well-equipped to take on the challenges of the position, with the experience and knowledge from his previous travels in Canada, and family history of success in this country – his father was instrumental in boundary negotiations between the United States and Canada.
Above all, Lord Aberdeen believed that, as Governor General, he could improve the well-being of Canadians generally, and he and Lady Aberdeen again travelled extensively throughout the country in an attempt to meet and talk with Canadians from all walks of life. This included a journey to the Maritimes where he met, among others, Dr. Alexander Graham Bell, as well as many inhabitants of Cape Breton who spoke Gaelic and were themselves from the highlands of Scotland. He also travelled west to meet with many people, including many First Nations peoples, and was made an honorary chief of both the Six Nations and Blackfoot people.
Lord and Lady Aberdeen were enthusiastic supporters of outdoor sport in Canada, and personally participated in curling, hockey and sleighing at Rideau Hall. They also contributed to the social and cultural life of the capital by hosting a variety of balls and official dinners, and the Aberdeen family often participated in theatrical performances in the ballroom at Rideau Hall. In 1893, Lord and Lady Aberdeen had a chapel built at Rideau Hall, which was removed in 1912.
Lord and Lady Aberdeen participated in the celebration of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and the commemoration of various anniversaries and celebrations throughout Canada. Lord Aberdeen was also involved in the Canadian military. He conducted fleet inspections of the Canadian Navy on three different occasions and became Honorary Lieutenant Colonel of the Governor General's Foot Guards in 1898.
While her husband was in office, Lady Aberdeen made lasting contributions to Canadian society. She was the first president of the International Council of Women and encouraged the creation of the May Court Club. Her most significant achievement was establishing the Victorian Order of Nurses in 1897. This organization, dedicated to the care of ill people in their own homes, was at first mistrusted by the medical establishment, but Lady Aberdeen won its acceptance. Today, the VON continues to be a vital part of our health care system.
Lord Aberdeen's legacy was a reformed role in how the office of Governor General dealt with Canadian society. He and his wife had sought to show interest in the welfare of less privileged Canadians. By meeting Canadians in all regions of Canada and discussing their concerns, Lord Aberdeen transformed the role of Governor General from that of the aristocrat representing the King or Queen in Canada to a symbol representing the interests of all citizens. He had also sought to strengthen communication and trade links with the overseas Dominions, seeing the future benefits of openness between countries.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Following his education at St. Andrews and Oxford Universities, Lord Aberdeen succeeded to the earldom in 1870, assuming his seat in the House of Lords, where he was a close friend and supporter of Prime Minister Gladstone. This was followed by his marriage to Ishbel Maria Majoribanks in 1877. Together they had five children, although one died soon after birth. He gained experience in overseas administration with his appointment as Lord Lieutenant of Ireland in 1886, and he was also a representative of Her Majesty Queen Victoria at the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.
After his term as Governor General of Canada, Lord Aberdeen returned to the United Kingdom and to the post of Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Lady Aberdeen served as president of the International Council of Women until 1939. They continued their friendships with a number of Canadians until their deaths, Lord Aberdeen in 1934 and his wife in 1939.
In 1893, Lord Stanley gave Canada a treasured national icon -- the Stanley Cup. He originally donated the trophy as an award for Canada's top-ranking amateur hockey club. Then in 1926, the National Hockey League adopted the Stanley Cup as the championship prize in professional hockey. That this now famous cup bears Lord Stanley's name is a fitting tribute to his encouragement and love of outdoor life and sport in Canada. In recognition of this, Lord Stanley was inducted into the Canadian Hockey Hall of Fame in 1945 in the "Honoured Builders" category.
During his term as Governor General, Lord Stanley travelled often and widely throughout the country. His visit to western Canada in 1889 gave him a lasting appreciation of the region's great natural beauty as well as permitting him to meet the people of Canada's First Nations and many western ranchers and farmers. He also experienced the joys of fishing and avidly pursued the sport whenever his busy schedule allowed.
When the Prime Minister died in office of heart failure on June 6, 1891, Lord Stanley lost the close friendship he had enjoyed with Sir John A. Macdonald. Lord Stanley asked Sir John Abbott to take over as Prime Minister. Once the administration was in place, Sir Abbott resigned due to illness and turned the government over to Sir John Thompson.
Lord Stanley helped cement the non-political role of the Governor General when he refused to agree to a controversial motion in the House of Commons. The motion called on him as Governor General to oppose the Jesuit Estates Bill passed by the government of Quebec. The opposition to the bill was introduced by the other provinces who were motivated by mistrust of the Roman Catholic Church in Quebec. Lord Stanley declined to interfere, citing the proposed disallowal as unconstitutional. In holding to this decision, he gained popularity by refusing to compromise the vice-regal position of political neutrality.
Lady Stanley, whom Sir Wilfrid Laurier described as "an able and witty woman", made a lasting contribution during her husband's term of office. In 1891, she founded the "Lady Stanley Institute for Trained Nurses" on Rideau Street, the first nursing school in Ottawa. She was also an enthusiastic fan of hockey games on the Rideau Hall skating rink.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
The son of the 14th Earl of Derby, a politician and British Prime Minister, Lord Stanley of Preston entered politics after having studied at Eton College and Sandhurst. He served briefly as an officer with the Grenadier Guards, but his family's prominent role in British politics soon called him to political life. He served as a Conservative member of parliament in the British House of Commons and a member of the cabinet. He married Lady Constance Villiers on May 31, 1864 and they had ten children.
Lord Stanley's term as Governor General of Canada was due to end in September 1893. However, in April of that year, his brother, the 15th Earl of Derby, died. Lord Stanley succeeded him as the 16th Earl of Derby. As a result, he left Canada on July 15, 1893 and returned to England. An Administrator was appointed to fulfil his duties until Lord Aberdeen was sworn in that September.
Back with his family in England, he soon became the Lord Mayor of Liverpool and the first chancellor of the University of Liverpool. During the last years of his life, he increasingly dedicated himself to philanthropic work. Lord Stanley died on June 14, 1908, and Lady Stanley died on April 17, 1922.
The Marquess of Lansdowne was Governor General during turbulent times in Canada. Sir John A. Macdonald's government was in its second term and facing allegations of scandal over the building of the railway, and the economy was once again sliding into recession. The Northwest Rebellion of 1885 and the controversy of its leader, Louis Riel, posed a serious threat to the stability of Canada.
Yet the Marquess of Lansdowne took the opportunity to travel extensively throughout western Canada in 1885, meeting many of Canada's First Nations peoples. While the railway to British Columbia was not completed, this did not stop the Governor General from travelling throughout the Rockies on horseback and by boat. On his second trip out west, Lord Lansdowne took the new Canadian Pacific Railway, and was the first Governor General to use the line all the way out west.
His experiences in western Canada gave the Marquess of Lansdowne a great love of the Canadian outdoors and the physical beauty of Canada. He was an avid salmon fisherman, and was also intently interested in winter sports. His love of the wilderness and Canadian countryside led him to purchase a second residence on the Cascapedia River in Quebec.
It was with the issue of fishing rights between the United States and Canada that the Marquess of Lansdowne proved himself as an adept statesman, helping to negotiate a peaceful settlement to a potentially serious dispute between both countries. He was also a supporter of scientific development, presiding over the inaugural session of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1884.
The Marquess of Lansdowne departed Canada with a true appreciation of the beauty of the wilderness and an equal appreciation of the diversity of Canadian society. He was considered a very able Governor General, and gave his wife, Lady Maud Evelyn Lansdowne, a great deal of the credit for his success in Canada. One of her happiest and most successful endeavours while at Rideau Hall was a party she threw for 400 Sunday school children. Lady Lansdowne was decorated with the Order of Victoria and Albert and the Imperial Order of the Crown of India.
It is interesting to note that the Marquess of Lansdowne's military secretary, Lord Melgund, benefited greatly from serving the Governor General. He later became Lord Minto and served as Governor General between 1898 and 1904.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
After studying at Eton and Oxford, the Marquess of Lansdowne succeeded to the title at the relatively young age of 21 in 1866. Three years later, he married Lady Maud Evelyn Hamilton and they had two sons and two daughters. The Marquess of Lansdowne served in the Gladstone government as a Liberal Member of Parliament from 1869 to 1872. He was appointed Under-Secretary of State for India in 1880, and having gained experience in overseas administration, was appointed Governor General of Canada in 1883.
He was appointed Viceroy to India the same year he left Canada, finally returning to England in 1894 to serve the British government until 1900.
When Lord Lorne's appointment was announced, there was great excitement throughout Canada. For the first time, Rideau Hall would have a royal resident – Queen Victoria's fourth daughter, Princess Louise, had married Lord Lorne on March 21, 1871. The Canadian Prime Minister relaxed his busy campaign schedule to prepare for her arrival and to organize a special carriage and corps of guards to protect the princess.
During Lord Lorne's term of office, the recession plaguing the Canadian economy ended and Sir John A. MacDonald returned as Prime Minister. Canada was experiencing a renewal of optimism and an upswing of nationalism.
At age 33, the Lord Lorne was Canada's youngest Governor General, but he was not too young to handle the many demands of his post. He and Princess Louise made many lasting contributions to Canadian society especially in the arts and sciences. They encouraged the establishment of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts and the National Gallery of Canada, even selecting some of its first paintings. In addition to acting as a patron of arts and letters in Canada, Lord Lorne was the author of many books of prose and poetry. His writings show a deep appreciation of Canada's physical beauty.
Throughout his term of office, Lord Lorne was intensely interested in Canada and Canadians. He travelled throughout the country encouraging the establishment of numerous institutions, and met with members of Canada's First Nations and with other Canadians from all walks of life. At Rideau Hall, he and Princess Louise hosted many social functions, including numerous skating and tobogganing parties as well as balls, dinners and State occasions.
Princess Louise was an accomplished writer, sculptor and artist – she painted well in both oils and water colours. A door she painted with sprigs of apple blossoms can still be seen in the Monck wing corridor at Rideau Hall. She gave the name Regina (which is Latin for Queen) to the capital of Saskatchewan, and Alberta's Lake Louise was named after her. Although she was often unwell, she was a compassionate woman who, during an epidemic of scarlet fever, personally nursed the sick.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
As the eldest son of the Argyll line of Campbells, Lord Lorne held the courtesy title of Marquess of Lorne from and was heir to the title of Duke of Argyll from 21 months until he was 54. He received an excellent education at Edinburgh Academy, Eton, St. Andrews and Cambridge. For ten years before coming to Canada, the Duke represented Argyllshire as a Liberal member of Parliament in the British House of Commons.
They returned to England in 1883. Lord Lorne was Governor and constable of Windsor Castle from 1892 to 1914, and he sat as a member of the House of Commons in England from 1895 until the death of his father on April 24, 1900, when he became the 9th Duke of Argyll. He and Princess Louise lived at Kensington Palace until his death in 1914. Princess Louise died on December 3, 1939, at the age of 91.
Lord Dufferin served as Governor General of Canada during a period of rapid change in Canadian history. During his term, Prince Edward Island was admitted to Confederation, and several well-known Canadian institutions, such as the Supreme Court of Canada, the Royal Military College of Canada, and the Intercolonial Railway, were established.
Lord Dufferin concentrated on promoting Canadian unity and travelled to every province, seeking contact with as many Canadians as possible. He was at ease speaking with a wide variety of people, whether addressing the National Club in English in Toronto, la societé de St-Jean le baptiste in French in Montreal, or speaking with residents of Icelandic settlements in Manitoba and labourers in British Columbia. As an orator and writer, Lord Dufferin also closely followed political debate in Parliament, although as Governor General he was not permitted inside the House of Commons. Instead, Lady Dufferin often attended the debates and reported back to him. He did, however, established an office of the Governor General in the east wing of the Parliament buildings.
A firm believer in recognizing excellence among Canadians, in 1873 he established the Governor General's Academic Medals for superior academic achievement by Canadian students - awards that continue to be given out in high schools, colleges and universities to this day. Also that same year, the Governor General's Match for shooting was created, and the Governor General's Curling Trophy for the Royal Caledonian Curling Club was established the following year.
Lord Dufferin realized that Rideau Hall needed space where ceremonial events could be held, and so the government added the Ballroom in 1873. Three years later, he had the Tent Room built to balance the appearance of the building and to accommodate the increasing number of social functions held by the Governor General. Lord and Lady Dufferin organized numerous balls, concerts, dinners, theatrical performances and receptions of all kinds -- and Lady Dufferin loved to perform the lead role in the plays at Rideau Hall. Their enthusiasm increased Rideau Hall's role as a centre for social affairs.
Other changes were made to the grounds. Lord Dufferin contributed $1,624.95 of his own money to build a skating rink, curling rink and toboggan slide at Rideau Hall in 1872-73, money later reimbursed by the government. These were available to the public on the condition that people "were properly dressed". The gasometer, currently known as the Dome Building, was constructed in 1877-78 to manufacturer gas from crude petroleum to supply fuel to Rideau Hall, avoiding the uncertain supply at the time from the city of Ottawa.
The Dufferins were the first to use La Citadelle in Quebec City as a second vice-regal residence. Like many other Governors General, Lord Dufferin and his family thought the city was beautiful. When municipal officials proposed to take down the walls that surrounded the city, a remnant from its days as a garrison town, in order to have room for the city to grow, he convinced them to abandon the idea. Saving the walls helped preserve the city's historical character, which was recognized in the 1980s when Old Quebec was recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage site. In recognition of his contributions in Quebec, Lord Dufferin's last public event was to lay the foundation stone for Dufferin Terrace, a walkway overlooking the St. Lawrence River in Quebec City, in October 1878, which was built from his design.
Lady Dufferin was very active during her husband's term as Governor General. She was the first spouse to accompany the Governor General on a tour, visiting southern Ontario in 1872. By the end of their term, she had visited every province with her husband. During a trip to Manitoba in September 1877, Lord and Lady Dufferin each drove a spike in the line of what would become the Canadian Pacific Railway. And in May 1874, she presented the regimental colours to the Governor General's Foot Guards.
Throughout the Dufferin's term of office, Lady Dufferin wrote weekly letters to her mother back in Ireland. These were later published as a diary of their time in Canada, called "My Canadian Journal." In it she said that, of all her experiences, she had spent her happiest times in Canada.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Lord Dufferin succeeded his father in 1841 as 5th Baron Dufferin in the peerage of Ireland after having studied at Eton and Christ Church, Oxford. He was appointed a Lord-in-Waiting to Queen Victoria in 1849. In 1850 he was created Baron Clandeboye, of Clandeboye, County Down, in the peerage of the United Kingdom. His experience in overseas administration was enhanced in 1860 with his appointment as Commissioner to Syria, followed in 1864 by his appointment as Under-Secretary for India and then as Under-Secretary of War within the British Government in 1866. He also held the position as Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster in 1868 in Prime Minister Gladstone's government, and in 1871 he was raised in peerage to the 1st Earl of Dufferin, County Down and Viscount Clandeboye, of Clandeboye, County Down.
Lord Dufferin married Hariot Georgina Rowan Hamilton on October 23, 1862. They had seven children; the two youngest, a son and a daughter, were born in Canada.
After leaving Ottawa in 1878 at the end of his term, Lord Dufferin returned to Great Britain to continue his diplomatic career. He served as ambassador to Russia from 1879-81 and to Turkey from 1881-84, Viceroy of India from 1884 to 1888, and then as ambassador to Italy from 1888-91 and to France from 1891-96. On November 17, 1888, he was advanced to the Marquessate of Dufferin and Ava and the Earldom of Ava, in County Down and in Burma. Lord Dufferin died on February 12, 1902, and Lady Dufferin on October 25, 1936.
Lord Lisgar, Canada's second Governor General, was not shy about voicing criticism or strong opinions. While some resented his independent mind, Sir John A. Macdonald thought Lisgar the most able of the Governors General he had known. A review of Lord Lisgar's term of office and accomplishments explains this high regard.
Lord Lisgar was appointed Administrator of Canada from the time that Lord Monck left office in 1868 until he was sworn in as Governor General on February 2, 1869. In his first year in office, the Red River rebellion began under Louis Riel. On December 6, 1869, hopes of appeasement led him to declare an amnesty during the Riel confrontation. Then, in 1870, a rebel group of Irish-Americans, called Fenians, raided Canada in an attempt to win Irish independence from Britain. In both conflicts, Lord Lisgar was a wise mediator who helped lessen some of the potential bitterness. He also prevented the execution of the captured Fenian invaders by sending a sternly worded telegram to those who were ready to apply quick justice.
During this time of considerable turmoil, Canada was also experiencing a period of growth and increasing unity. Manitoba joined Confederation in 1870 and British Columbia, though still uncommitted, was considering union. When a delegation from British Columbia came in June 1870 to discuss joining Canada, Lord Lisgar spoke to them personally of the young country's wish to include the colony in Confederation. British Columbia joined Canada in 1871.
The proposed 1869 transfer of Rupert's Land from the Hudson's Bay Company to the Crown was delayed until 1870 by the Riel rebellion. In the interim, Lord Lisgar was the nominal Lieutenant Governor of the huge parcel of land. He was a strong supporter of Confederation and played a positive role in building a united Canada by touring the country extensively and promoting this goal.
Lord Lisgar made important advances in relations with the United States. He was the first Governor General to travel to the United States, meeting President Ulysses S. Grant and inaugurating a rail link between Boston and Portland with St. John and Fredericton, New Brunswick in 1871. In 1869 he also received the first royal visitor since Confederation – the 19-year old Prince Arthur, third son of Queen Victoria. Prince Arthur would return to Canada in 1911, as the Duke of Connaught, to be Governor General.
Lord Lisgar and his wife, Lady Adelaide Annabella Dalton Lisgar, added many important traditions to Rideau Hall. They held the first recorded New Year's Levee in 1869, while he was Administrator, and organized Christmas and Garden Parties. And in 1872, the noon gun firing on Parliament Hill was established, and the Governor General's Foot Guards army regiment was created. The first duty of the new regiment was to provide a guard of honour for Lord Lisgar on his departure from office in June of the same year.
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Prior to coming to Canada, Lord Lisgar had gained extensive experience in both politics and colonial administration. Between 1831 and 1835, he sat as a member of Parliament in the British House of Commons. He married the 14-year-old Lady Adelaide Annabella Dalton on April 8, 1835. From 1841 to 1846, he occupied a cabinet minister's post in the government of Sir Robert Peel.
After completing his term of office in Canada, Lord Lisgar returned to Ireland. He was appointed Lord High Commissioner to the Ionian Islands from 1855 to 1859, followed by a post as the Governor of New South Wales, Australia, from 1860 to 1867. Lady Lisgar re-married twice after Lord Lisgar's death on October 6, 1876, and died in Paris on July 19, 1895 at the age of 74.
Viscount Monck was Canada's first Governor General – but he had actually served as Governor of British North America since 1861. Lord Monck worked hard to build Confederation. His efforts to unite and stabilize the young country were recognized with his appointment to the position of Canada's first Governor General in 1867.
In 1861, when Lord Monck first arrived in his official post, there were simmering tensions between Canada and the republic to the south. Then, 20 days before he took office on November 28, the "Trent Affair" erupted – a diplomatic crisis between Britain and the United States government that threatened to use Canada as its battleground – and war seemed inevitable. In the course of his term, Lord Monck used his influence to diffuse the explosive potential not only of this crisis, but of many others to follow.
Lord Monck's skill as a diplomat in Canadian-American relations was matched by his ability in promoting Confederation. He helped build "The Great Coalition", the consolidation of the Reform and Conservative parties that was key to the colonies' pursuit of federalism. In Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, he was a tireless promoter of unity and played a leading role in the preparations for a federal union.
In a visit to the new capital in 1864, Lord Monck saw Rideau Hall, which became the Governor General's residence, and was purchased by the Government of Canada from the MacKay estate in 1868 for $82,000. Before living in Ottawa, the Moncks had resided at Spencerwood, near Quebec City. However, even after moving to Rideau Hall, getting to the heart of Ottawa was still no easy matter. The battered condition of the roads often resulted in Lord Monck travelling to Parliament by canopied boat up the Ottawa River.
Lady Monck loved horticulture and made considerable improvements to the grounds of the official residence.
Viscount Monck was a private man who enjoyed the company of family and close friends. Those who knew him well spoke of his courtesy, kindness and wit. "I like him amazingly", wrote John A. MacDonald of Monck, "and shall be very sorry when he leaves, as he has been a very prudent and efficient administrator of public affairs."
Life Before and After Rideau Hall
Prior to being appointed as Governor General of Canada, Charles Stanley Monck graduated from Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland with a degree in law and became a Member of Parliament in the House of Commons in England in 1852. In 1844, he married Lady Elizabeth Louise Mary Monck and they had seven children, four of whom lived to adulthood. Lord Monck was raised to the peerage of Ireland as 4th Viscount Monck and Baron Monck of Ballytrammon, county Wexford, on April 20, 1849, upon the death of his father, and in 1866, he was created a peer of the United Kingdom as 4th Viscount Monck and Baron Monck of Ballytrammon, county Wexford, in the United Kingdom. Lord Monck was appointed Lord of the Treasury in the Palmerston government between 1855 and 1857.
When his term of office ended on November 14, 1868, he returned directly to Ireland. He served as Lord Lieutenant of County Dublin from 1874 to 1892. Lady Monck died on June 16, 1892, and Lord Monck on November 29, 1894.