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Pre-Confederation Governors

Unlike today’s Lieutenant Governors, early representatives of the Crown had an active role in the administration of public affairs until the emergence of responsible government in Canada in 1848.

Governors General of the Province of Canada (1841–1867)

Proclaimed into law on February 10, 1841, the Act of Union, 1840 (PDF, 6 MB) joined Upper Canada and Lower Canada to form the united Province of Canada. The Sovereign’s representative was the Governor General. In between successive Governors General, an Administrator was empowered to carry on the Government.

The Viscount Monck, the last Governor General of the Province of Canada, became the first Governor General of Canada upon Confederation in 1867.

The Right Honourable Charles Monck, Viscount Monck 1861–1867
The Right Honourable Charles Monck, Viscount Monck (Administrator) 1861
Sir Edmund Walker Head 1854–1861
The Right Honourable James Bruce, Earl of Elgin and Kincardine 1847–1854
General the Right Honourable Charles Cathcart, Earl Cathcart 1846–1847
General the Right Honourable Charles Cathcart, Earl Cathcart (Administrator) 1845–1846
The Right Honourable Sir Charles Metcalfe, Lord Metcalfe 1843–1845
Sir Charles Bagot 1842–1843
Lieutenant-General Sir Richard Downes Jackson (Administrator) 1841–1842
The Right Honourable Charles Poullet Thompson, Baron Sydenham 1841

Lieutenant Governors of Upper Canada (1791–1841)

The Constitutional Act, 1791 (PDF, 5.6 MB) divided the Province of Quebec into the provinces of Upper Canada and Lower Canada as of December 26, 1791. In Upper Canada, the Sovereign was represented by a Lieutenant Governor. In between successive Lieutenant Governors, an Administrator was empowered to carry on the Government.

The Right Honourable Charles Poullet Thompson, Baron Sydenham 1839–1841
Major-General Sir George Arthur 1838–1839
Sir Francis Bond Head 1836–1838
Major-General Sir John Colborne 1828–1836
Major-General Sir Peregrine Maitland 1818–1828
Lieutenant-Colonel the Honourable Samuel Smith (Administrator) 1817–1818
Major Francis Gore 1806–1817
Major-General Sir Frederick Phipps Robinson
(Provisional Lieutenant Governor)
1815
Major General Sir George Murray (Provisional Lieutenant Governor) 1815
Lieutenant-General Sir Gordon Drummond (Provisional Lieutenant Governor) 1813–1814
Major-General the Honourable Francis de Rottenburg (Provisional Lieutenant Governor) 1813
Major-General Sir Roger Hale Sheaffe (Administrator) 1812–1813
Major-General the Honourable Sir Isaac Brock (Administrator) 1811–1812
The Honourable Alexander Grant (Administrator) 1805–1806
Lieutenant-General Peter Hunter 1799–1805
The Honourable Peter Russell (Administrator) 1796–1799
Major-General John Graves Simcoe 1791–1796

Quick facts

Firsts

  • Woman: The Hon. Pauline McGibbon (1974–1980, 22nd) was Ontario’s first female Lieutenant Governor, and the first woman viceregal representative in Canada.
  • Visible minority: The Hon. Lincoln M. Alexander (1985–1991, 24th) was the first racialized person to hold the position of Lieutenant Governor in Canada.
  • Indigenous: The Hon. James K. Bartleman (2002–2007, 27th), a member of the Mnjikaning First Nation, was the first Indigenous person to become Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
  • Disability: The Hon. David C. Onley (2007–2014, 28th) was the first person with a physical disability to become Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

Time in office

  • Shortest: The Hon. Henry Stisted (1867–1868, 1st) served just over one year, from July 1, 1867 to July 14, 1868.
  • Longest: The Hon. Albert Matthews (1937–1946, 16th) was Lieutenant Governor for nine years and one month, from November 30, 1937 until December 26, 1946, serving through the Second World War.
  • Second longest: The Hon. David Onley (2007–2014, 28th) served for seven years and 18 days, from September 5, 2007 to September 23, 2014.

Age

  • Youngest: The Hon. Henry Stisted (1867–1868, 1st) took office at the age of 50.
  • Oldest: The Hon. Sir Oliver Mowat (1897–1903, 9th) served from the ages of 77 to 83, dying in office in 1903.

Lieutenant Governors born outside Canada

  • The Hon. Henry Stisted (1867–1868, 1st): St-Omer, France
  • The Hon. William Howland (1868–1873, 2nd): New York, United States
  • The Hon. John Crawford (1873–1875, 3rd): County Cavan, Ireland
  • The Hon. Sir Alexander Campbell (1887–1892, 6th): Yorkshire, England, United Kingdom
  • The Hon. Sir William M. Clark (1903–1908, 9th): Aberdeen, Scotland, United Kingdom
  • The Hon. William Rowe (1963–1968, 20th): Iowa, United States
  • The Hon. Hilary M. Weston (1997–2002, 26th): Dublin, Ireland
  • The Hon. Elizabeth Dowdeswell (2014–, 29th): Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom