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from Viscount Monck to David Johnston


Governors General of Canada 2nd ed.

Jean Chevrier, Denis L. Daigneault,
Jeanne Poulin and
Gerald C. Gummersell, Editors
ISBN 978-1-987832-33-4
(taxes included)


Since Confederation in 1867, a total of 30 governors general have stood at the helm of Canada’s parliamentary democracy. Of that number 13 have served under Queen Elizabeth II during the 70 years of her reign.

The office of governor general can claim a long and brilliant history with deep roots in New France. Those holding the title have contributed to the building of a political, social and economic society in North America that is not only successful but also distinctive. Few examples of such a multicultural union, one that is nurtured by two founding peoples, First Nations and millions of immigrants from many countries, exist elsewhere in the world.

Every region of Canada can boast a park, school, institution or sporting event that recalls the contributions of the French, British and Canadian-born governors. The Champlain Bridge in Montreal, Vancouver’s Stanley Park and Ottawa’s Lisgar Collegiate Institute were named after distinguished governors general, as were such national institutions as the Vanier Institute for the Family, Michener Awards for Journalism, and the Stanley and Grey Cups. The Victorian Order of Nurses and the Canada Council for the Arts are among the many organizations that they have established.

Beyond presiding over the opening and closing of Parliament, the official mandate has evolved. Yet the governor general continues to play a pivotal role, which includes advocating the cause of national unity, honouring Canadian excellence, and representing the country in an increasingly complex and challenging world. As Commander-in-Chief, the governor general also brings timely support to the men and women serving in this country’s military. Standing above politics, he or she serves as a catalyst for and defender of the national interest.

This volume is dedicated to the governors general and captures their political and human dimensions, the challenges they faced, and the defining moments of their tenures. History is their legacy, as Canada builds on its past during a new era with Mary Simon as the 30th Governor General and the first Indigenous woman to occupy the post.

The Editors


Dimitry Anastakisis L.R. Wilson/R.J. Currie Chair in Canadian Business History at the Rotman School and the Department of History at the University of Toronto
Stephen Azzi is a historian and Director of the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management, Carleton University.

D. L. Daigneault is a historian, writer, editor and educator, and is Vice-President of New Federation House.

John English taught history at the University of Waterloo, authored a two-volume biography of Lester Pearson, and is an editor of the Dictionary of Canadian Biography.

Larry Glassford is a Professor at the University of Windsor where he teaches history and the politics of education.

J. L. Granatstein is a historian and former Director and CEO of the Canadian War Museum.

Naomi Griffiths is a distinguished scholar of Acadian history and professor emeritus of the Department of History, Carleton University.

Gerald Gummersell is a political scientist and a director of New Federation House.

Gaëtan Jeaurond was a writer, poet, former civil servant and protocol expert, and was a Director of New Federation House. He passed away in January 2021.

Jacques Monet, s.j is Emeritus Professor of history at Regis College at the University of Toronto, and Historian at the Archive of the Jesuits in Canada, Montreal.

Lorne Monti is a journalist and filmmaker, and is a director of New Federation House.

Desmond Morton taught history at McGill University and was the founding director of the McGill Institute for the study of Canada. He passed away in Montreal on September 5th 2019.

Nelle Oosterom is a senior editor with Canada’s History magazine; her work has appeared in a variety of magazines and newspapers.

Jeanne Poulin is a journalist and storyteller, and is a director of New Federation House.

Jacques G. Ruelland taught philosophy at Collège Édouard-Montpetit and history at the University of Montreal. He is a museologist and has close to fifty books to his credit.


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