This book covers: the lives and cultural activities of the first nine Governors General of Canada – from Lord Monck and Confederation in 1867 to the end of the term of Earl Grey in 1911; and the activities of each of these Governors General and his family in turn, examining their backgrounds and characters that made them suitable, or in some cases not so suitable, to lead in many different types of culture by example and encouragement the citizens of the new Dominion.
While the first two residents of the recently acquired Rideau Hall, Lord Monck and Lord Lisgar, had little time in office to leave a mark on the cultural life of Canada, the remarkable enthusiasms and interests of the men and women who followed enabled them to stimulate and enrich the lives of their fellow Canadians, both in Ottawa and in other parts of a country that continued to add new provinces to its domain.
The main section of the book ends with Earl Grey, including his great spectacle in 1908 to celebrate the tercentenary of the founding of Quebec City, a spectacle that no Governor General has matched since.
There is also an Afterword on the Governors General since Grey to point the way for further research, and to offer some comparisons between the nine covered in detail and their successors up to 1999, when Romeo LeBlanc stepped aside for the present Governor General, Her Excellency Adrienne Clarkson.
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James Noonan, Adjunct Professor of English at Carleton University in Ottawa, taught Canadian literature, Irish literature, and world and modern drama there for many years. His specialization in Canadian drama first drew him to the theatre and culture of Rideau Hall. Editor of Biography and Autobiography: Essays on Irish and Canadian History and Literature (1993), he received the Jules and Gabriele Leger Award from the Canada Council for help in research on this book.
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