Quebec History Marianopolis College

Date Published:
April 2008

L’Encyclopédie de l’histoire du Québec / The Quebec History Encyclopedia


Donald Alexander Smith

Lord Strathcona and Mount Royal

Statesman and Philanthropist. High Commissioner of Canada since 1890. A power in Canadian Affairs for over three-quarters of a century.

LORD STRATHCONA AND MOUNT ROYAL, 1st Baron (created 1897) Donald Alexander Smith, G.C.M.G. 1896; G.C.V.O. 1908; F.R.S., LL.D., P.C., D.L.; High Commissioner for Canada from 1896 to date, was born in Scotland in 1820, a son of Alexander Smith and Barbara, daughter of Donald Stuart. Lord Strathcona married Isabel Sophia, daughter of late Richard Hardisty, of Canada, and they have one daughter, Margaret Charlotte, married to R. J. Bliss Howard, F. R. C. S. Lord Strathcona entered the service of the Hudson Bay Companies at an early age, and has been the most potent factor in the success of that important enterprise, being the last Resident Governor of that corporation as a governing body. He was Special Commissioner during the first Riel rebellion in the Red River Settlements, and was thanked by the Governor General in Council 1869-70 for the valuable services he rendered. He was a member of the first Executive Council of Northwest Territory in 1870; represented Winnipeg and St. Johns in the Manitoba Legislature 1871-1874; member of Parliament for Selkirk in the Dominion House of Commons 1871-1872-1874 and 1878; for Montreal West 1877-1896; Governor of the Hudson Bay Company, Director of the St. Paul, Minneapolis & Manitoba. Railway, and of the Canadian Pacific Railway Co.; Hon. President of the Bank of Montreal; D. C. L., Oxford and Dublin Universities; Hon. LL.D. of Cambridge, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Victoria (Manchester), Dublin, Queenstown, Laval, Yale, Ottawa, and Toronto Universities; Chancellor of McGill and Aberdeen Universities; Lord Rector of Aberdeen University 1899; and Chancellor 1903; Created K.C.M.G. 1886. He is Hon. Commodore of the Royal St. Lawrence Yacht Club; Hon. President Winnipeg Rowing Club; Patron Manitoba Rifle Association; President Quebec Rifle Association; Address 28 Grosvenor Sq. (W.), 17 Victoria St., S. W.; Glencoe, N. B.; Colonsay, N. B.; Debden Hall, Newport, Essex; Norway House, Picton, Nova Scotia; Silver Heights, Winnipeg, Manitoba; 911 Dorchester St., Montreal, Que. Member of Athenaeum Club.

At the age of ninety-three, Lord Strathcona is still the High Commissioner of the Dominion of Canada in London, Eng. He was appointed to that position by the Tupper Ministry to succeed Sir Charles Tupper himself, and when the  Laurier Administration began in 1896 he retained his office at the special request of Sir Wilfrid. For these seventeen years he has held it continuously and discharged its exacting duties efficiently, giving to his country on many occasions the advantage of a social and financial influence that no other man could have given.

Source: Canadian History Makers. A Volume Containing Accurate and Concise Sketches of Men who have Done Things in The Dominion of Canada Past and Present Together with Photogravures Made from their Latest Photographs, Montreal, Canadian Publication Society, 1913, 159p., p. 5.

© 2008 Claude Bélanger, Marianopolis College