Premiers honoured at Mount Pleasant Cemetery

TORONTO - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust unveiled markers at Mount Pleasant Cemetery to commemorate the gravesites of five Ontario premiers: the Honourable Sir Oliver Mowat (premier from 1872-96), the Honourable Sir George William Ross (premier from 1899-1905), the Honourable Sir William Howard Hearst (premier from 1914-19), the Honourable George Howard Ferguson (premier from 1923-30) and the Honourable George Stewart Henry (premier from 1930-34).

"I am delighted to be a part of this commemorative ceremony today," said the Honourable David C. Only, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. "The Premiers' Gravesites Program provides an excellent opportunity for the people of Ontario to honour the service and the memory of our past premiers."

"These five premiers - Mowat, Ross, Hearst, Ferguson and Henry - helped shape the way the province of Ontario functions," said the Honourable Lincoln M. Alexander, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust. "Through their efforts, Ontario won votes for women, strengthened provincial rights, built better highways and enhanced its educational system."

"We are proud to honour the achievements of these five remarkable premiers," said Minister of Culture Aileen Carroll. "Together, they provided leadership to the Government of Ontario during critical times in our province's history."

The Premiers' Gravesites Program honours Ontario's former premiers and their service to Ontario by marking their gravesites. Specially designed bronze markers inscribed with the individual premier's name and dates of service will be installed at each gravesite.

This program is administered by the Ontario Heritage Trust, with funding support from the Government of Ontario. The Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario, dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage for the benefit of present and future generations.


A lawyer from Kingston, the Honourable Sir Oliver Mowat was the third premier of Ontario. he served in the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, and he would later become a Father of Confederation at the Quebec Conference of 1864. In 1872, he began his 24-year service as premier, and fought vigorously for provincial rights. In 1897, he accepted an appointment to Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, a post he held until his death in Toronto in 1903.

Fifth premier of Ontario and an educator from Middlesex County, the Honourable Sir George William Ross began his teaching career in 1857. He was elected to the House of Commons in 1872, where he served until he moved to provincial politics in 1883. There, he was appointed Minister of Education under the Honourable Sir Oliver Mowat. In 1899, Ross became premier and oversaw the Good Roads Commission, which improved highways across Ontario. He was appointed to the Senate in 1907, and served there until his death in Toronto in 1914.

Seventh premier of Ontario and an accomplished lawyer, the Honourable Sir William Howard Hearst was born in Bruce County. First elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1908, he became Minister of Lands, Forests and Mines in 1911. Hearst was asked to form a government in 1914 and served as premier until 1919. During the First World War, he introduced and carried an act for the parliamentary enfranchisement of women. He also served on the International Joint Commission on Boundary Waters from 1920 to 1940. The town of Hearst was named in honour of his contributions.

Born in Kemptville, the Honourable George Howard Ferguson was Ontario's ninth premier. First elected to the Ontario legislature in 1905, he served as Minister of Lands and Forests from 1914-19. After becoming premier in 1923, he guided Ontario through a period of immense growth. During his premiership, he also served as Minister of Education and oversaw the creation of the provincial liquor control system. In 1930, he was appointed High Commissioner to London, a position he held until 1935.

Longtime politician and tenth premier of Ontario, the Honourable George Stewart Henry was born in King Township. After holding municipal office, he was elected to the Ontario legislature in 1913 for East York. Henry was appointed Minister of Public Works and Highways in 1923. In this position, and as premier, he developed, modernized and expanded the highways program. He also promoted the idea of a "metropolitan Toronto" area in order to plan development more effectively. He retained his seat until retirement in 1943.

Quick facts

  • Eighteen premiers will be commemorated through the Premiers' Gravesites Program.
  • To date, this event represents the fifth through ninth markers to be unveiled through the program. Markers commemorating the gravesites of the Honourable John Sandfield Macdonald, the Honourable Harry Corwin Nixon, the Honourable Edward Blake and the Honourable Arthur Sturgis Hardy were unveiled from late 2008 to mid-2009.

Learn more

For more information on the Premiers' Gravesites Program, visit



Gordon Pim
Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Ontario Heritage Trust
Telephone: 416-325-1484