Vanier, Georges-Philéas

Georges-Philéas Vanier, governor general 1959-67 (b at Montréal 23 Apr 1888; d at Ottawa 5 Mar 1967). Educated at Loyola and Laval, he was called to the Québec Bar in 1911. He enlisted in 1915 and after winning the Military Cross and DSO he became a founding officer of the Royal 22e Regiment, of which he later became commanding officer (1926-28). After WWI he entered the diplomatic service and represented Canada at the LEAGUE OF NATIONS, in London, and at many international conferences. In 1939 he became Canadian minister to France, and in 1943 minister to all allied governments in exile in London. He returned to France in 1944 as ambassador and served there with great distinction until his retirement in 1953.

Maj-Gen Vanier was installed as GOVERNOR GENERAL on 15 September 1959. His years in office were turbulent ones because of a difficult economic situation, a succession of MINORITY GOVERNMENTS, and the rise of violence and SEPARATISM in Québec. But he won the affection and admiration of Canadians by his concern, manifested in his inspiring public addresses and wide travels across the country, for the poor and the humble, for youth and for the family. A tall, impressive man who moved with great dignity and composure, he was profoundly religious and brought a spiritual and moral dimension to his office. His wife Pauline (née Archer) won equal respect and contributed much to the success of his term.