Charles Vincent Massey, politician, diplomat, governor general (b at Toronto 20 Feb 1887; d at London, Eng 30 Dec 1967). Vincent Massey is best remembered as Canada's first native-born GOVERNOR GENERAL. He was the grandson of Hart MASSEY who developed the farm-implement company started by Daniel MASSEY into a powerful international corporation, and the brother of actor Raymond MASSEY. His education was at the University of Toronto and Balliol College, Oxford, and he lectured in history at Victoria College, U of T, 1913-15. He then joined the army and served as a staff officer in Canada, ultimately working for the war committee of the Cabinet. He was president of Massey-Harris Co Ltd, from 1921 until 1925 when he joined PM Mackenzie KING's Cabinet. But he failed to win a seat in Parliament, and in 1926 King made him Canada's first minister to the US where he served until 1930. In 1935 King named him high commissioner to Britain, a post he held until 1946.

As a diplomat Massey was more successful on the social side than in the hard-slogging details of negotiation, but there was no doubt that in Britain particularly he had access to the highest quarters. His own prime minister, however, mistrusted his judgements on imperial questions, and the relations between the 2 were formal and tense. After the war, PM Louis ST. LAURENT placed Massey in charge of the Royal Commission on NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE ARTS, LETTERS AND SCIENCES, a post for which Massey's status as a patron of the arts well fitted him, and his report in 1951 recommended the formation of a CANADA COUNCIL (est 1957). In 1952 Massey became governor general, a post he filled with distinction and in a manner that minimized the break with the past that the appointment of a Canadian represented. In 1959 Massey left RIDEAU HALL and went into an active retirement.

See alsoTORONTO FEATURE: 7 HART HOUSE CIRCLE.