Canadian Politician. A member of the Conservative Party, he is remembered as being one of the fathers of the Canadian Confederation, the process by which the federal Dominion of Canada was formed on July 1, 1867. On that day, three British colonies became four provinces of the new Dominion of Canada. The existing Province of Canada was divided into the new provinces of Ontario and Quebec, and two other colonies, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, also became provinces of the Dominion of Canada. He was born March 9, 1822 in Hedon, Yorkshire, England, the son of a doctor who was of Scottish ancestry. When he was a year old, his family emigrated to Canada and initially lived in Montreal, before finally settling in Kingston, Upper Canada. He was educated in French at St. Hyacinthe in Quebec and in the Midland District Grammar School in Kingston. He then studied law at the office of Henry Cassady and was called to the bar in 1843 and then became a partner in the law office of Sir John A. Macdonald, who would eventually become Canada's first prime minister. His public career began on Kingston's city council, from 1850 to 1852 he was an alderman, representing the Victoria Ward. In 1858 and again in 1864 he was elected to the Legislative Council for the Cataraqui division, a large constituency that included Kingston and all of Frontenac and Addington counties and served as speaker of the council from February to May 1863. From 1861 until 1864 he served as dean of the faculty of law at Queen's College in Kingston. He maintained extensive business interests, which in the 1850s had included various railway companies, the Kingston Fire and Marine Insurance Company, and the Cataraqui Cemetery Company. He served as the last Commissioner of Crown Lands from March 1864 until June 1867. In 1864 he attended the Quebec City Conference, and at Confederation was appointed to the Canadian Senate. He later held a number of ministerial posts in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald. He served in the Canadian Senate as Leader of the Government from 1867 until 1873, Leader of the Opposition from 1873 until 1878, and Leader of the Senate again from 1878 to 1887. During the 1880s he speculated in western Canadian land. From 1887 until 1892 he was the sixth Lieutenant Governor of the Canadian province of Ontario. He died on May 24, 1892 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, at the age of 70. At the time of his death, he was the president of the Imperial Loan and Investment Company of Canada Limited and the Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company.
Bio by: William Bjornstad