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Wilfrid Laurier

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

The Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier Photo A (HS85-10-16871) cropped.jpg
7th Prime Minister of Canada
In office
11 July 1896 – 6 October 1911
Governor General
Preceded byCharles Tupper
Succeeded byRobert Borden
Personal details
Henri Charles Wilfrid Laurier

(1841-11-20)20 November 1841
Saint-Lin, Canada East
Died17 February 1919(1919-02-17) (aged 77)
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Resting placeNotre Dame Cemetery, Ottawa, Ontario
Political partyLiberal
Other political
Laurier Liberal (1917–19)
EducationMcGill University (LL.L., 1864)

Sir Henri Charles Wilfrid Laurier GCMG, PC, KC (/ˈlɒri/ LORR-ee-ay; French: [wilfʁid loʁje]; 20 November 1841 – 17 February 1919) was the seventh prime minister of Canada, in office from 11 July 1896 to 6 October 1911.

Laurier is often considered one of the country's greatest statesmen. He is well known for his policies of conciliation, expanding Confederation, and compromise between French and English Canada. His vision for Canada was a land of individual liberty and decentralized federalism. He also argued for an English-French partnership in Canada. "I have had before me as a pillar of fire," he said, "a policy of true Canadianism, of moderation, of reconciliation." He passionately defended individual liberty, "Canada is free and freedom is its nationality," and "Nothing will prevent me from continuing my task of preserving at all cost our civil liberty." Laurier was also well-regarded for his efforts to establish Canada as an autonomous country within the British Empire, and he supported the continuation of the Empire if it was based on "absolute liberty political and commercial". In addition, he was a strict nationalist, argued for a more competitive Canada through limited government, and was an adherent of fiscal discipline.[1] A 2011 Maclean's historical ranking of the Prime Ministers placed Laurier first.[2]

Canada's first francophone prime minister, Laurier holds a number of records. He is tied with Sir John A. Macdonald for the most consecutive federal elections won (four), and his 15-year tenure remains the longest unbroken term of office among prime ministers. In addition, his nearly 45 years (1874–1919) of service in the House of Commons is a record for that house.[3] At 31 years, 8 months, Laurier was the longest-serving leader of a major Canadian political party, surpassing William Lyon Mackenzie King by over two years. Along with King, he also holds the distinction of serving as Prime Minister during the reigns of three Canadian Monarchs.[4] Finally, he is the fourth-longest serving Prime Minister of Canada, behind King, Macdonald, and Pierre Trudeau. Laurier's portrait has been displayed on the Canadian five-dollar bill since 1972.

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • ✪ Sir Wilfrid Laurier (Prime Ministers of Canada Series #7)
  • ✪ Deconstruction: The Lindsay Shepherd Affair
  • ✪ Jordan Peterson Lawsuit: Peterson explains why he sued Wilfrid Laurier University (June 2018)
  • ✪ The Lindsay Shepherd Affair: Update
  • ✪ The Trans Demands of Wilfrid Laurier


Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s legacy looms large in Canadian history – so large that he’s started to seem more a myth than a man. So let’s deconstruct the myth, and discover the man. The Laurier family had deep ties to French Canada, stretching back to the 1600s and the founding of Montréal. Laurier’s father, Carolus, a land surveyor, loved stargazing and reading. Carolus and his wife, Marcelle, lost their first daughter. Their second child, Henri-Charles-Wilfrid Laurier, was born on November 20th, 1841, in St. Lin. His mother died young from tuberculosis. When Laurier was 10, Carolus sent him to English-speaking New Glasgow to continue his education. Laurier acquired a fondness for English culture, on top of his affection for French Canada. He learned to speak fluent English. Laurier fell in love with the Classics and French literature, and at a Catholic college, showed off his debating skills so much that the priests ended up closing the debate club. Laurier excelled at McGill University. He was tall, handsome, and had an aristocratic flair. Laurier met a piano teacher named Zoé, and one day he mustered up the courage to sing with her accompaniment. But Laurier was often bedridden, terrified he was dying. He had a mind to marry Zoé, but he felt she deserved better than a sickly student. While in university, Laurier got involved with the Montréal Rouge Activists, and played a large role in easing the tension between this liberal group and Catholic officials. Laurier opened a law practice in Montreal. When he was healthy, he was eloquent, passionate and logical – a great lawyer. But he was often sick, and within a few years he was jobless, broke and bedridden. After Canadian Confederation, Laurier decided to move to Arthabaskaville, where he opened a law practice. In 1868, he heard that some man was seeking Zoé’s hand in marriage, even though her heart was set on Laurier. So Laurier raced to Montréal to propose, and they got married that evening. When the Pacific Scandal blew the Conservatives out of Parliament, Laurier entered federal politics for the first time. At 32 years old, serving as MP for Drummond-Arthabaska, Wilfrid Laurier entered the House of Commons. He was a nobody here, with only his words and his wit to set himself apart. He fought for amnesty for Métis hero Louis Riel. From 1874-78, Laurier became the leading figure of a new, centrist liberalism. Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie saw this, and appointed Laurier Minister of Inland Revenue. But the Liberal Party itself wasn’t doing well, and in 1878 Macdonald’s Conservatives came back into power. Laurier was re-elected, but he’d become depressed and disenchanted. He began to focus more on his law practice, and the literate, attractive wife of his law partner, Emilie Barthe… In 1885, Riel returned to Canada to fight once more for Métis rights. Ontarians wanted revenge against Riel, and Macdonald ordered him to be executed. French Canadians were outraged, and Laurier became one of their most passionate spokesmen. He gave the longest parliamentary address of his career, calling out Macdonald for his decisions. Laurier also spoke to a massive crowd, describing the Conservative handling of the Métis region as, “Blood! Blood! Blood! Prisons, scaffolds, widows, orphans, destitution, ruin…” The Liberals lost the 1887 election, after which Laurier was chosen as the new party leader. Macdonald managed to beat the Liberals again in 1891. The loss rattled Laurier, and to console himself, he would go for long walks throughout Ottawa, and read from his collection of 5000 books. But he didn’t give up: Laurier rebranded the Liberal Party, using his talent for speeches to win over the public. When the Manitoba Schools Question caused the Conservative Party to self-destruct in 1895, Laurier took the opportunity to speak in favour of minority rights, and provincial autonomy. In one of his most memorable turns of phrase, he said, “If it were in my power, I would try the sunny way.” Old man Sir Charles Tupper fought a fierce fight for the incumbent Conservative Party, but Laurier was seen as the man who could unite Canada’s divided peoples. On July 11, 1896, Wilfrid Laurier finally became Prime Minister of Canada. He was 54 years old, and Canada’s first French Canadian PM. Laurier carefully picked his cabinet ministers, finding the best and most talented MP’s from across Canada. The days of Bowell’s ancient, divided cabinet were in the past. First, he had to restore Canada’s economy. Together with Clifford Sifton, the man he chose as Minister of the Interior, Laurier set to work developing the West. Laurier believed Canada worked best as an assembly line, with raw materials flowing from the west to the industrial centres in the east. Laurier pushed for western immigration with land offers. Canada was truly on the rise. The summer of 1897 saw Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. Wilfrid Laurier travelled to England, where he was received enthusiastically, given honourary degrees and knighted. He was an overnight sensation. During the Jubilee, Sir Wilfrid and Zoé rode through the streets of London directly behind Queen Victoria herself. But his visit here wasn’t all pleasure; Laurier had some work to do. British Colonial Secretary Joseph Chamberlain was talking about the superiority of the British race; and Britain was desperate to stay ahead of the two big rising powers, the USA and Germany. Chamberlain wanted to use the British colonies to do this. In Canada, public opinion was divided. Many English Canadians wanted to help Great Britain, seeing it as a chance to increase their power and prestige. French Canadians were opposed – they didn’t want to sacrifice their young nation fighting someone else’s wars. Laurier hadn’t decided, but from the moment he set foot on British soil, the question was in the air. Laurier spoke gently and carefully. But the day of the imperial conference, he stood firm. There would be no imperial federation; Canada’s destiny laid in the hands of Canadians. Chamberlain’s talk of British dominance was wasted on Laurier. Yes, they would still be loyal to Great Britain, but as Laurier said: “The British empire is composed of … a galaxy of free nations all owing the same allegiance to the same sovereign, but all owing paramount allegiance… to their respective peoples.” When London declared war on the Boers in South Africa, the question of supporting Great Britain came up again. Henri Bourassa was on the rise in Québec, and he strongly opposed British aid. So Laurier, again, aimed for the middle. Canada would send 1000 volunteers, but they would be financed and commanded by Britain. Some claimed he was doing too little, some too much, but Laurier stayed firm. Bourassa resigned from the House of Commons in protest. Laurier won the next election with a greater majority. One of the stains on Laurier’s term was Treaty 8, implemented by Sifton, which essentially took 840 000 square kilometers of land from Indigenous Peoples so the government had better access to Klondike gold. Moostoos and his younger brother Keenooshayoo represented the Woods Cree during treaty talks, looking to protect their way of life. But the terms were unfair, and led to generations being sent to residential schools. Laurier’s next international challenge involved the USA. There had been disputes over Alaska’s border. The exact border of the Alaska panhandle was ambiguous, and with the onset of the Klondike gold rush, the stakes became much higher. Laurier pushed for a resolution. In 1903, an international tribunal of 6 supposedly impartial judges – three American, two Canadian, and one British – would come to a final decision. Each side wanted more land. To Canada’s dismay, the British jurist sided with the Americans. A strong anti-British and anti-American sentiment rippled across Canada. Immigrants continued pouring into the west – many British and American, and even more German and Ukrainian. Increasing immigration also pushed Indigenous peoples further North, into less hospitable land, and racist policies, such as the Chinese Head Tax, prevented other groups from settling here. There’s a reason this time has been referred to as the Wheat Boom; agricultural projects were exploding with wheat, much of which was exported, and Canada’s economy was booming. However, Canada was no longer looking like a French and English nation. Henri Bourassa criticized this change with young politician Armand Lavergne. Officially, Laurier was childless. Laurier initiated the construction of a new transcontinental railway, and while this helped the west, it would cause national debt for years to come. In 1898, the Yukon had been separated from the Northwest Territories to better manage the immigrants after the gold rush. But the Territories were still massive, and Laurier determined it best to split up the land, creating the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan in September 1905. Overall, creating Alberta and Saskatchewan was a major achievement for Laurier, but there were difficulties over schools again. It was Laurier’s third term, and the Liberals were in trouble. Many prominent ministers were gone, and Borden’s Conservatives were vigilant. Canada had changed drastically since Laurier took office – more industrialized, urban and diversified – and some Canadians felt the rapid development had worsened working conditions. So Laurier attempted to repair the Liberals’ relationship with the working class, and in June 1909 he appointed the first full-time minister of labour – a rising star by the name of William Lyon Mackenzie King. Laurier never again wanted a British politician interfering in Canadian foreign policy, as in the Alaska negotiations. So in 1909, Laurier created the Department of External Affairs, which was run above a barbershop. The office was transformed over time to a key department, being run personally by the Prime Minister until 1946. After that, the role became a sort of final stepping stone on the path to PM. Despite these positive steps, Laurier truly was in the twilight of his Prime Ministerial career. Nations around the world were developing navies, so in 1910 Laurier passed the Naval Service Bill, establishing the Royal Canadian Navy. For Conservatives and English Canada, it was a mere ‘tin pot navy;’ but for French Canada, it was a massive expense, and a sign that Canada would be pulled into British wars. Again, both sides were unhappy. Laurier also reintroduced reciprocity with the US. He believed free trade on natural items would help farmers. But manufacturers and financiers opposed it, claiming it would sell out Canadian identity, and the Conservatives said Laurier was leading Canada to US-annexation. So Bourassa fought Laurier in Québec, and Sifton helped Borden behind Laurier’s back. In the build-up to the 1911 federal election, Laurier attended King George V’s coronation. And how differently he felt on this visit to England than at Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, 14 years ago. Then, Laurier was the talk of the town, young tomorrow, Canada’s hope. But now he presided over a divided party, betrayed by former friends and labelled a traitor by his countrymen. All Laurier could do was say that “Canada has been the inspiration of my life.” Reciprocity and the navy were issues too large to overcome. The Canadian federal election of 1911 was a disaster for the Liberals. Laurier had led the country for fifteen consecutive years – still the longest unbroken term of any Prime Minister – but now he was back to the seat he had held before 1896: leader of the opposition. Laurier remained party leader for a while. He travelled around giving speeches, reenergizing the Liberal party through his eloquence and charisma, and making Québec fall in love with him again. Laurier, as well as many Canadians, chose to renounce partisanship during World War I. He stopped fighting Borden’s bills in the House of Commons. Until 1917, when Borden implemented Conscription. Shortly after the war’s end, Laurier had a stroke and became bedridden. Zoé stayed by his side, and he said his last words: “C’est fini.” Laurier died on February 17, 1919, at the age of 77. It’s hard to define Laurier’s legacy; many of his achievements speak for themselves. He guided Canada through its rapid development in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. He represented the end of an earlier political age, and the beginning of a new one. Indeed, he’s popped up in each of our prior episodes. Laurier was a busy man. Laurier was eloquent and moderate, and he valued compromise. He understood both sides of the issues he faced. By 1911, Laurier was perhaps trying to be too many things to too many people. The first six Prime Ministers came from English, Scottish and Irish roots; Sir Wilfrid Laurier was Canada’s first French-Canadian Prime Minister. He served 15 consecutive years as Prime Minister, as well as 31 years as party leader and 45 years in the House of Commons – all these records stand to this day. Canada grew by one new territory and two new provinces, and its population increased by nearly 50%. Maclean’s ranked Sir Wilfrid Laurier Canada’s Greatest Prime Minister. What are three reasons he deserves this? What are three reasons he doesn’t?


Early life

Bedroom at Sir Wilfrid Laurier National Historic Site, Saint-Lin-Laurentides, Quebec
Bedroom at Sir Wilfrid Laurier National Historic Site, Saint-Lin-Laurentides, Quebec

The second child of Carolus Laurier and Marcelle Martineau, Wilfrid Laurier was born in Saint-Lin, Canada East (modern day Saint-Lin-Laurentides, Quebec), on 20 November 1841. Laurier was among the seventh generation of his family in Canada. He was a sixth-generation Canadian. His ancestor François Cottineau, dit Champlaurier, came to Canada from Saint-Claud, France. He grew up in a family where politics was a staple of talk and debate. His father, an educated man having liberal ideas, enjoyed a certain degree of prestige about town. In addition to being a farmer and surveyor, he also occupied such sought-after positions as mayor, justice of the peace, militia lieutenant and school board member. At the age of 11, Wilfrid left home to study in New Glasgow, a neighbouring village largely inhabited by immigrants from Scotland. Over the next two years, he familiarized himself with the mentality, language and culture of British people. Laurier attended the Collège de L'Assomption and graduated in law from McGill University in 1864.[5]

Laurier in 1869
Laurier in 1869

He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Quebec from Drummond-Arthabaska in the 1871 Quebec general election, but resigned on 19 January 1874, to enter federal politics in the riding of Quebec East.[6] He was first elected to the House of Commons of Canada in the 1874 election, serving briefly in the Cabinet of Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie as Minister of Inland Revenue.


Chosen as leader of the federal Liberal Party in 1887, he gradually built up his party's strength through his personal following both in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. He led the Liberal Party to victory in the 1896 election, and contested five other federal elections; he remained Prime Minister until the defeat of the Liberal Party by the Conservative Party in the 1911 election.

Quebec stronghold

By 1909, Laurier had been able to build the Liberal Party a base in Quebec, which had remained a Conservative stronghold for decades due to the province's social conservatism and to the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, which distrusted the Liberals' anti-clericalism. The growing alienation of French Canadians from the Conservative Party due to its links with anti-French, anti-Catholic Orangemen in English Canada aided the Liberal Party.[7] These factors, combined with the collapse of the Conservative Party of Quebec, gave Laurier an opportunity to build a stronghold in French Canada and among Catholics across Canada.

Catholic priests in Quebec repeatedly warned their parishioners not to vote for Liberals. Their slogan was "le ciel est bleu, l'enfer est rouge" (heaven is blue/Conservative, hell is red/Liberal).[8]

Prime Minister (1896–1911)

Sir Wilfrid Laurier with Zoé, Lady Laurier in 1907
Sir Wilfrid Laurier with Zoé, Lady Laurier in 1907

Laurier led Canada during a period of rapid growth, industrialization and immigration. His long career straddles a period of major political and economic change. As Prime Minister he was instrumental in ushering Canada into the 20th century and in gaining greater autonomy from Britain for his country. A list of his Ministers is available at the Parliamentary website,[9] and is known as the 8th Canadian Ministry.

One of Laurier's first acts as Prime Minister was to implement a solution to the Manitoba Schools Question, which had helped to bring down the Conservative government of Charles Tupper earlier in 1896. The Manitoba legislature had passed a law eliminating public funding for Catholic schooling (thereby going against the federal constitutional Manitoba Act, 1870, which guaranteed Catholic and Protestant religious education rights). The Catholic minority asked the federal Government for support, and eventually the Conservatives proposed remedial legislation to override Manitoba's legislation. Laurier opposed the remedial legislation on the basis of provincial rights, and succeeded in blocking its passage by Parliament. Once elected, Laurier proposed a compromise stating that Catholics in Manitoba could have a Catholic education if there were enough students to warrant it, on a school-by-school basis. This was seen by many as the best possible solution in the circumstances, making both the French and English equally satisfied. Laurier called his effort to lessen the tinder in this issue "sunny ways" (French: voies ensoleillées).[10]

In 1899, the United Kingdom expected military support from Canada, as part of the British Empire, in the Second Boer War, he was caught between demands for support for military action from English Canada, and a strong opposition from French Canada which saw the Boer War as an "English" war and to some degree appreciated the similar places that Boers and French Canadians held in the British Empire. Henri Bourassa was an especially vocal opponent. Laurier eventually decided to send a volunteer force, rather than the militia expected by Britain, but Bourassa continued to oppose any form of military involvement.

In 1900, the Chinese head tax was raised to $100 by Laurier, due to a still growing influx of Chinese immigrants. In 1903, this was further raised to $500.[11]

Laurier visited the United Kingdom in 1902, and took part in the 1902 Colonial Conference and the coronation of King Edward VII on 9 August 1902. While in Europe, he also visited France to negotiate on trade with the French government.[12]

In 1905, Laurier oversaw Saskatchewan and Alberta's entry into Confederation, the last two provinces to be created out of the Northwest Territories.[13] This followed the enactment of the Yukon Territory Act by the Laurier Government in 1898, separating the Yukon from the Northwest Territories.[14]

Laurier presided over the Quebec Bridge disaster, in which 75 workers were killed, on 29 August 1907.

On 29 July 1910, while in Saskatoon to attend the opening of the University of Saskatchewan, he bought a newspaper from a young John Diefenbaker, a future Conservative Prime Minister. The young Diefenbaker, recognizing the Prime Minister, shared his ideas for the country and amused him. He inquired about the young man's business and expressed the hope that he would be a great man someday. The boy ended the conversation by saying, "Well, Mr. Prime Minister, I can't waste any more time on you. I must get back to work."[15]

In August 1911, Wilfrid Laurier signed an Order-In-Council that had been promoted by Minister of the Interior, Frank Oliver and approved by the cabinet on 12 August 1911. The order was intended to keep Black southern Americans escaping the segregation in the American south. "the Negro deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada." The order was never called upon, as efforts by immigration officials had already reduced the number of Blacks migrating to Canada. The order was cancelled 5 October 1911, the day before Laurier completed his term, by cabinet claiming that the Minister of the Interior was not present at the time of approval.[16]

Naval Bill

The naval competition between the United Kingdom and the German Empire escalated in the early years of the 20th century. The British asked Canada for more money and resources for ship construction, precipitating a heated political division in Canada. The British supporters wished to send as much as possible, whereas those against wished to send nothing.

Aiming for compromise, Laurier advanced the Naval Service Act of 1910 which created the Naval Service of Canada. The navy would initially consist of five cruisers and six destroyers; in times of crisis, it could be made subordinate to the British Royal Navy. The idea was lauded at the 1911 Imperial Conference in London, but it proved unpopular across the political spectrum in Canada, especially in Quebec as ex-Liberal Henri Bourassa organized an anti-Laurier force.

Reciprocity and defeat

In 1911, another controversy arose regarding Laurier's support of trade reciprocity with the United States. His long-serving Minister of Finance, William Stevens Fielding, reached an agreement allowing for free trade of natural products. This had the strong support of agricultural interests, but it alienated many businessmen who formed a significant part of the Liberals' support base. The Conservatives denounced the deal and played on long-standing fears that reciprocity could eventually lead to the American annexation of Canada.

Contending with an unruly House of Commons, including vocal disapproval from Liberal MP Clifford Sifton, Laurier called an election to settle the issue of reciprocity. The Conservatives were victorious and Robert Laird Borden succeeded Laurier as Prime Minister.

Opposition and war

Election flyer for Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberal Party in the 1917 federal election
Election flyer for Wilfrid Laurier and the Liberal Party in the 1917 federal election

Laurier led the opposition during World War I. He led the filibuster to the Conservatives' own Naval Bill which would have sent contributions directly to the British Navy; the bill was later blocked by the Liberal-controlled Senate. He was an influential opponent of conscription, which led to the Conscription Crisis of 1917 and the formation of a Union government, which Laurier refused to join for fear of having Quebec fall in the hands of nationalist Henri Bourassa. However, many Liberals, particularly in English Canada, joined Borden as Liberal-Unionists and the "Laurier Liberals" were reduced to a mostly French-Canadian rump as a result of the 1917 election.

However, Laurier's last policies and efforts had not been in vain. As a result of Laurier's opposition of conscription in 1917, Quebec and its French-Canadian voters voted overwhelmingly to support the Liberal party starting in 1917. Despite one notable exception in 1958, the Liberal party continued to dominate federal politics in Quebec until 1984. His protege and successor as party leader William Lyon Mackenzie King led the Liberals to a landslide victory over the Conservatives in the 1921 election.

Personal Life and death

Lady Zoé Laurier by William James Topley
Lady Zoé Laurier by William James Topley

Wilfrid Laurier married Zoé Lafontaine in Montreal on 13 May 1868. She was the daughter of G.N.R. Lafontaine and his first wife, Zoé Tessier known as Zoé Lavigne. Laurier's wife Zoé was born in Montreal and educated there at the School of the Bon Pasteur, and at the Convent of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, St. Vincent de Paul. The couple lived at Arthabaskaville until they moved to Ottawa in 1896. She served as one of the vice presidents on the formation of the National Council of Women and was honorary vice president of the Victorian Order of Nurses.[17] The couple had no children.

Beginning in 1878 and for some twenty years while married to Zoé, Laurier had an "ambiguous relationship" with a married woman, Émilie Barthe,.[18] Where Zoé loved plants, animals and home life, she was not an intellectual; Émilie was, and relished literature and politics like Wilfrid, whose heart she won. Rumour had it he fathered a son, Armand Lavergne, with her, yet Zoé remained with him until his death.

Wilfrid Laurier's grave, sculpted by Alfred Laliberté, in Notre Dame Cemetery, Ottawa
Wilfrid Laurier's grave, sculpted by Alfred Laliberté, in Notre Dame Cemetery, Ottawa

Laurier died of a stroke on 17 February 1919, while still in office as Leader of the Opposition. Though he had lost a bitter election two years earlier, he was loved nationwide for his "warm smile, his sense of style, and his "sunny ways"."[19] Some 50,000 people jammed the streets of Ottawa as his funeral procession marched to his final resting place at Notre Dame Cemetery.[20][21][22] His remains would eventually be placed in a stone sarcophagus, adorned by sculptures of nine mourning female figures, representing each of the provinces in the union. His wife, Zoé Laurier, died in 1921 and was placed in the same tomb.

National Historic Sites

Laurier Museum, Victoriaville, QC
Laurier Museum, Victoriaville, QC

Laurier is commemorated by three National Historic Sites.

The Sir Wilfrid Laurier National Historic Site is in his birthplace, Saint-Lin-Laurentides, a town 60 km (37 mi) north of Montreal, Quebec. Its establishment reflected an early desire to not only mark his birthplace (a plaque in 1925 and a monument in 1927), but to create a shrine to Laurier in the 1930s. Despite early doubts and later confirmation that the house designated as the birthplace was neither Laurier's nor on its original site, its development, and the building of a museum, satisfied the goal of honoring the man and reflecting his early life.[23]

His handsome brick residence in Ottawa is known as Laurier House National Historic Site, at the corner of what is now Laurier Avenue and Chapel Street. In their will, the Lauriers left the house to Prime Minister Mackenzie King, who in turn donated it to Canada upon his death. Both sites are administered by Parks Canada as part of the national park system.

The 1876 Italianate residence of the Lauriers during his years as a lawyer and Member of Parliament, in Victoriaville, Quebec, is designated Wilfrid Laurier House National Historic Site, owned privately and operated as the Laurier Museum.[24][25][26]

In November 2011, Wilfrid Laurier University located in Waterloo, Ontario, unveiled a statue depicting a young, passionate Wilfrid Laurier sitting on a bench, thinking deeply about the future.[27]


Laurier had titular honours including:

The $1,000 note in the 1935 Series and 1937 Series
The $5 note in the Scenes of Canada series, 1972 and 1979, Birds of Canada series, 1986, Journey series, 2002 and Frontier series, 2013
  • Laurier has appeared on at least three postage stamps, issued in 1927 (two) and 1973
Joseph-Émile Brunet's Sir Wilfrid Laurier (1953) in Square Dorchester, Montreal
Joseph-Émile Brunet's statue of Wilfrid Laurier behind the East Block on Parliament Hill

Many sites and landmarks were named to honor Laurier. They include:

Supreme Court appointments

Laurier chose the following jurists to be appointed as justices of the Supreme Court of Canada by the Governor General:

See also


  1. ^ "By restoring Laurier's lost tenets, this century could be ours". Retrieved 18 January 2018.
  2. ^ Hillmer, Norman; Azzi, Steven (10 June 2011). "Canada's Best Prime Ministers". Maclean's. Retrieved 11 June 2011.
  3. ^ "Years of service in Parliament". Parliament of Canada. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  4. ^ Granatstein, J. L.; Hillmer, Norman (1999). Prime Ministers: Ranking Canada's Leaders. HarperCollins. ISBN 9780006385639.
  5. ^ "Wilfrid Laurier". Canadian Encyclopedia.
  6. ^ "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French). National Assembly of Quebec.
  7. ^ Pierre-Luc Bégin, Loyalisme et fanatisme: petite histoire du mouvement orangiste canadien, Québec: Éditions du Québécois, 2008.
  8. ^ LaPierre, Laurier (1996). Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Romance of Canada. Stoddart. p. 75. ISBN 978-0-7737-2979-7.
  9. ^ "Ministers of the Crown".
  10. ^ "Justin Trudeau's 'sunny ways' a nod to Sir Wilfrid Laurier". CBC News. 20 October 2015.
  11. ^ "The Chinese Immigration Act, 1885 | CMIP 21". Retrieved 14 October 2015.
  12. ^ "Court Circular". The Times (36891). London. 6 October 1902. p. 7.
  13. ^ Library and Archives Canada. Canadian Confederation: Alberta and Saskatchewan Entered Confederation: 1905. Retrieved on: 14 December 2011.
  14. ^ Government of Yukon. Yukon Historical Timeline (1886–1906). Retrieved on: 14 December 2011.
  15. ^ "The prime minister and the newspaper boy". Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  16. ^ Order-in-Council P.C. 1911-1324 — the Proposed Ban on Black Immigration to Canada
  17. ^ Morgan, Henry James, ed. (1903). Types of Canadian Women and of Women who are or have been Connected with Canada. Toronto: Williams Briggs. p. 195.
  18. ^ Réal Bélanger, Macdonald and Laurier Days Archived 25 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "CBC Archives".
  20. ^ "Thousands Mourn Laurier. Eulogies in French and English at Funeral of Ex-Premier". New York Times. 23 February 1919.
  21. ^ Michael Duffy (22 August 2009). "Who's Who – Sir Wilfrid Laurier". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  22. ^ "Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada – Former Prime Ministers and Their Grave Sites – The Right Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier". Parks Canada. Government of Canada. 20 December 2010. Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  23. ^ Negotiating the Past: The Making of Canada's National Historic Parks and Sites: (Montreal & Kingston, 1990), C.J. Taylor, pp. 119–21.
  24. ^ "Musée Laurier".
  25. ^ Wilfrid Laurier House National Historic Site of Canada. Canadian Register of Historic Places.
  26. ^ Wilfrid Laurier House. Directory of Federal Heritage Designations. Parks Canada.
  27. ^ The Cord Newspaper
  28. ^ "Historical Chronological List Since 1867 of Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada". Privy Council Office (Canada). Retrieved 16 May 2010.
  29. ^ "The Colonial Premiers in Edinburgh". The Times (36831). London. 28 July 1902. p. 4.
  30. ^ Sir Wilfrid Laurier Day Act, 2002

Further reading

  • Armstrong, Elizabeth H. The Crisis of Quebec, 1914–1918 (1937)
  • Avery, Donald, and Peter Neary. "Laurier, Borden and a White British Columbia." Journal of Canadian Studies/Revue d'etudes canadiennes 12.4 (1977): 24.
  • Bélanger, Réal (1998). "Laurier, Sir Wilfrid". In Cook, Ramsay; Hamelin, Jean (eds.). Dictionary of Canadian Biography. XIV (1911–1920) (online ed.). University of Toronto Press.
  • Bélanger, Réal. "Laurier, Sir Wilfrid," Dictionary of Canadian Biography vol. 14, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003–, accessed 6 November 2015, online
  • Brown, Craig, and Ramsay Cook, Canada: 1896–1921 A Nation Transformed (1983), standard history
  • Cook, Ramsay. "Dafoe, Laurier, and the Formation of Union Government." Canadian Historical Review 42#3 (1961) pp: 185–208.
  • Dafoe, J. W. Laurier: A Study in Canadian Politics (1922) online
  • Dutil, Patrice, and David MacKenzie, Canada, 1911: The Decisive Election that Shaped the Country (2011) ISBN 1554889472
  • Granatstein, J.L. and Norman Hillmer, Prime Ministers: Ranking Canada's Leaders. pp. 46–60. (1999). ISBN 0-00-200027-X.
  • LaPierre, Laurier. Sir Wilfrid Laurier and the Romance of Canada – (1996). ISBN 0-7737-2979-8
  • Neatby, H. Blair. Laurier and a Liberal Quebec: A Study in Political Management (1973) online
  • Neatby, H. Blair. "Laurier and imperialism." Report of the Annual Meeting. Vol. 34. No. 1. The Canadian Historical Association/La Société historique du Canada, 1955. online
  • Robertson, Barbara. Wilfrid Laurier: The Great Conciliator (1971)
  • Schull, Joseph. Laurier. The First Canadian (1965); biography
  • Skelton, Oscar Douglas. Life and Letters of Sir Wilfrid Laurier 2v (1921); the standard biography v. 2 online free
  • Skelton, Oscar Douglas. The Day of Sir Wilfrid Laurier A Chronicle of our own Times (1916), short popular survey online free
  • Stewart, Gordon T. "Political Patronage under Macdonald and Laurier 1878–1911." American Review of Canadian Studies 10#1 (1980): 3–26.
  • Stewart, Heather Grace. Sir Wilfrid Laurier: the weakling who stood his ground (2006) ISBN 0-9736406-3-4; for children
  • Waite, Peter Busby, Canada, 1874–1896: Arduous Destiny (1971), standard history

External links

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