Former Governors General

Stained glass with coats of arms

Former Governors General

History Happens Here

Since 1867, Canada has been served by 29 governors general, each of whom has arrived in office with a unique personal story and background. The blending of the institutional with the individual is one of the qualities that makes the office of governor general unique and effective, allowing Canadians to connect with the office on a personal level.

Until 1931, Canada’s governor general was chosen by the Sovereign. This changed when the Canadian government began to make recommendations for the position. In 1952, the Prime Minister of Canada recommended, for the first time, a Canadian-born citizen for governor general. His name was Vincent Massey, and his nomination marked an important evolution in the office and Canadian history, reflecting the country’s new sense of autonomy and identity in the post-war era. Since then, all of Canada’s governors general have been Canadian citizens. 

Having worked in fields as diverse as education, journalism, law, diplomacy and politics, governors general come to the position with a range of perspectives, experiences and expertise. What unites them is a shared desire to serve Canada in a non-partisan manner.