Sir Oliver Mowat: 1820 - 1903
Father of Confederation
Premier of Ontario
Oliver Mowat was born at Kingston, July 22, 1820. From his Scottish Presbyterian parents he inherited firmly held religious convictions. He attended private schools and studied law in the office of John A. MacDonald.
In 1857 he became the Liberal member of Ontario South in the Assembly of the Canada's and served first as provincial secretary and then as postmaster general. When political deadlock occurred, Mowat, with George Brown and others, entered the Great Coalition.
Mowat was an important Father of confederation. At the Quebec Conference, when plans for union seemed about to collapse, it was Mowat who suggested the acceptable plan of a division of power between Ottawa and the provinces.
In 1872, Mowat became the Premier of Ontario and served for the following twenty-four years. Acting as his own Attorney-General, he introduced voting by secret ballot, began municipal governments, extended the franchise, and formulated the Ontario liquor laws.
When he became responsible for Ontario affairs, he fought and won many battles to extend the provincial rights. In this way, Mowat was responsible, possibly more than any other Canadian, for the power won by the Provincial governments to act as fully responsible bodies in provincial matters.
In 1896, Wilfred Laurier appointed Mowat to the Senate as government leader and Minister of Justice. He found the work load too demanding for a man of 77 and retired shortly afterwards. He was knighted by his monarch and named the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
Sir Oliver Mowat died at the age of 82 in 1903. In his honour, this school was built in 1969. Direct descendants of Sir Oliver Mowat participated in the school's official opening ceremony on April 30, 1971.