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King

William Lyon Mackenzie King was Canada’s 10th Prime Minister (1921-1926, 1926-1930, 1935-1948)

1) One of his elementary school teachers in Berlin (Kitchener) was William Diefenbaker, whose son John also became a Prime Minister. [Note: the author of this blog also attended the same Kitchener school.]

2) Decides to become a Presbyterian minister, but instead ends up working briefly as a police reporter for the Toronto News, then the Globe.

3) In the 1921 election, the York North riding was contested by William Lyon Mackenzie King (Lib.) (the winner), John Alexander Macdonald Armstrong (Cons.) and Ralph Waldo Emerson Burnaby (Progressive).

4) Enjoys 26 years of companionship with his three Irish terriers, first Pat (1924-1941), then Pat (1941-1947), and finally Pat (1948-1950). The first two were gifts from his good friends Godfroy and Joan Patterson. King purportedly cancelled a wartime cabinet meeting to look after his ailing pet.

5) His closest nephew, also named William Lyon Mackenzie King, dies after his ship is torpedoed by the Germans in the Second World War. ‘Lyon’ was a doctor and naval officer.

from Unknown and Unforgettable: A Guide to Canada’s Prime Ministers

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PearsonTwo former homes of Lester Pearson have a probable date with the wrecking ball. One is at 1984 Yonge Street in Toronto. It was the Davisville Methodist Church manse where he lived for three years shortly after he was born. The other is at 231 Cobourg Avenue in Ottawa, an apartment building that has served more recently as Uganda’s high commission office. Pearson lived there in the mid-1950s while serving as Canada’s External Affairs minister.

While there aren’t efforts to save the heavily renovated Toronto house — the local historical society feels a plaque on the site is sufficient — there is a more concerted effort to save the aging red brick apartment block in Ottawa.

When is it appropriate to turn former homes of past leaders into historical sites? Most Prime Ministers have lived in many places during their lifetimes. Sparing all the buildings or turning them into historical sites simply isn’t practical. The key is determining which homes have played a significant part in the life of the former Prime Minister — places like Macdonald‘s Bellevue or Laurier‘s & Mackenzie King‘s Laurier House — and not be too concerned about sites that just happened to be home addresses for relatively short periods of time.

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trudeauPierre Trudeau always had a way of grabbing headlines. As the Unconventional Prime Minister, he attracted attention from the start of his political career, capturing his first Newsmaker of the Year nod in 1968, the year he became PM. He went on to win the designation 10 more times, being chosen an impressive eight years in row from 1968 to 1975, then again three years later. In 1999, he was picked again — as well as crowned Canadian Newsmaker of the Century. Trudeau received the title one last time in 2000, the year he died.

The PM with the second most Newsmaker titles is Lester Pearson, clocking in with nine wins. Interestingly, he received six of those while serving as a foreign affairs diplomat or minister, and just three as leader. Other PMs to be CP’s Newsmaker of the Year have been John Diefenbaker (5 times), Brian Mulroney (3), Jean Chrétien (2), Paul Martin (2), Stephen Harper (2), William Lyon Mackenzie King (1), Louis St. Laurent (1), Joe Clark (1), Kim Campbell (1) and Justin Trudeau (1).

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July221950: Canada’s longest-serving Prime Minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King, 75, died in the farmhouse at his Kingsmere summer residence shortly before 10 p.m. King’s death had a paranormal twist, much like aspects of his life.

“It was lovely evening,” his steady companion Joan Patterson told a friend. “but at the moment he died thunder and lightning and torrents of rain came without warning … the rain fell only at Kingsmere — not Ottawa even.”

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MacdonaldIn 2004, three of Canada’s Prime Ministers made the 50 Most Important Leaders in History listed in the annual National Geographic Almanac of World History. Quite an achievement in a list that starts with the mythological first Chinese Emperor Fuxi (anywhere from 29,000 BCE to 12,000 BCE) and ends with South Africa’s Nelson Mandella.

The three Canadian leaders: Sir John A. Macdonald, William Lyon Mackenzie King and — are you ready? — Kim Campbell. See the whole list here.

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may191909: The federal departments of the Postmaster General and Labour become separate jurisdictions. In making the change, Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier needs a new minister responsible for labour. He taps MP William Lyon Mackenzie King for the post.

Of course, it is all by design. Knowing the previous fall that the department would acquire stand-alone status, Mackenzie King stepped down as Deputy Minister of Labour and ran successfully as a Liberal candidate in the federal election of October 26, 1908.

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CampbellSix Prime Ministers did not use their first given names. They were Henry (Wilfrid) Laurier, Joseph (Pierre) Trudeau, Charles (Joe) Clark, Martin (Brian) Mulroney, Avril (Kim) Clark and Joseph (Jean) Chrétien.

William King preferred his third name Mackenzie, while Lester Pearson was more comfortable with the nickname Mike.

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