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Premiers' Gravesites Program

Honouring Ontario’s Premiers

(from the Ontario Heritage Trust website:  http://www.heritagefdn.on.ca/)

In 2007, the Ontario Minister of Culture announced funding for the Premiers’ Gravesites Program. Because of its experience with the Provincial Plaque Program, the Ontario Heritage Trust was chosen to design and implement this exciting new program. It is only fitting that the Trust manage this gravesite project as an extension of its commemorative role.

The Trust will deliver the Premiers’ Gravesites Program to mark and commemorate the gravesites of Ontario’s former premiers in chronological order based on each premier’s term of service.

The gravesites are located throughout the province. The Trust will work with communities, cemetery boards and descendants to unveil each bronze marker. In addition to the markers, the program will commemorate each premier’s gravesite with the provincial flag, in accordance with the rules of the individual cemeteries and archaeologists.

This special commemorative program is another way that the Trust honours significant people in Ontario’s history.

How does this program differ from the Ontario Heritage Trust’s Provincial Plaque or Local Marker programs?
Each of the Trust’s commemorative plaque programs has a specific plaque and purpose. The Provincial Plaque Program is an adjudicated program that uses distinctive blue and gold plaques to commemorate and interpret significant people, places and events in Ontario’s history. These stories always have a broader provincial significance. In addition to provincial plaques, the Trust also supports communities through local markers to commemorate people, places and events that have more of a community focus. Both the Provincial Plaque and Local Marker programs accept applications from the public. The Premiers’ Gravesites Program, however, is specific to the burial places of Ontario’s premiers. The purpose of the Premiers’ Gravesites Program is to honour Ontario’s former premiers and their service to Ontario by marking their gravesites. Specially designed bronze markers will be inscribed with the individual premier’s name and dates of service.
How did the Trust choose which premier to honour first?
Eighteen premiers will be commemorated through this marker program, starting in November 2008. The program will be implemented over five years in chronological order based on each premier’s term of service. The first to be commemorated will be The Honourable John Sandfield Macdonald (who served as premier from 1867-71), in St. Andrews, near Cornwall.

What is the schedule for the unveiling events for the gravesites of Ontario’s premiers?
The program will be implemented over five years. The Trust will work with cemeteries or cemetery boards, communities and descendants, where possible, to determine a suitable date for each event.
Do all of the premiers have provincial plaques commemorating them?
Fourteen of the 18 deceased premiers have had provincial plaques unveiled to honour them. These plaques are located at sites related to a premier’s original riding and/or place of birth. Locations include: municipal parks, residences, museums, schools, county courthouses and churches.

Will there be anything in addition to the gravesite markers included in this commemoration program?
The intent of the program is to commemorate each premier’s gravesite with a bronze marker and the Ontario flag, in accordance with the rules of the individual cemeteries and archaeologists.
The Honourable Harry Corwin Nixon (Premier May to August 1943)
  • The Honourable Harry Corwin Nixon (Premier May to August 1943) (22K)Date of unveiling: To Be Confirmed

Bio: Born in St. George, Harry C. Nixon was Ontario’s thirteenth premier. While his term in the premier’s office – three months – is the shortest on record, he was the most experienced Member of Provincial Parliament ever, serving 42 years. He was a key policy maker, especially in the government of Mitchell Hepburn. After the resignation of Gordon Conant, Nixon was elected leader and took over the premiership. The Liberals were defeated in the election three months later, but he retained his seat until his death in 1961.