State funerals in Canada
State funerals in Canada are public events held to commemorate former governor generals, prime ministers, members of the Cabinet who died in office, and, at the Cabinet's discretion, other eminent Canadians. With ceremonial, military, and religious elements incorporated, state funerals are offered and executed by the Governor General-in-Council, who provides a dignified manner for the Canadian people to mourn a national public figure. Provincial and territorial governments may also perform state funerals for citizens in their particular jurisdictions; however, most state funerals are federal affairs.
State funerals are not required by any law and the family of the deceased may opt not to have such an event take place. Should the family agree to a state funeral, the Department of Canadian Heritage (DCH) will work in close consultation with them, as well as other government departments and elements of the private sector, the degree of involvement depending on the size and complexity of the event. Similarly, the timeline varies on a case by case basis, most lasting between five and six days, during which the national flag is flown at half-mast on the Peace Tower on Parliament Hill in Ottawa and at other federal Crown-owned installations across the country.
A formal statement issued by the Governor General-in-Council is typically broadcast by the media to notify the general public of an upcoming state funeral, while the DCH issues invitations according to the Order of Precedence, with foreign heads of state and government included. Meanwhile, in the days leading up to the funeral, the body is transported from the place of death to Ottawa, whereupon the casket is met by a guard of honour—drawn from the Governor General's Foot Guards for a former governor general and from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for a former prime minister and other ministers or honoured individuals—and escorted by it to the Centre Block of the parliament buildings. There, the remains lie in state for a period of two days, with four members of the accordant guard of honour maintaining a constant vigil; for the remains of governor generals, this takes place in the Senate chamber, in the Hall of Honour for those of prime ministers, and in other rooms for other individuals. On both days, designated hours are set for public viewing. The coffin is then escorted from the Centre Block to a waiting hearse as a gun salute is fired; 21 guns for a governor general, 19 guns for a prime minister, and 15 guns for others. The casket is then either transported to another location in the country for further memorials or to the place of burial. The location of the funeral service depends on the religious faith of the deceased, though the ceremony is usually conducted at Christ Church Cathedral in Ottawa.
Similar to a state funeral is a commemoration ceremony, which is a religious or memorial service to mark the passing of an individual from a family that did not wish a state funeral or did not reside in Canada. For instance, a commemoration ceremony was held in Ottawa in 2002 for the death of Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
Not all who lie in state at parliament, nor all for whom flags are flown at half-mast, receive a state funeral. The exception was made for the funeral of Retired Sergeant Ernest Smith, the last living Canadian recipient of the Victoria Cross from the Second World War.
The first state funeral in Canada was held for Thomas D'Arcy McGee after his assassination in April 1868. Jack Layton was the first Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition who was not also a former prime minister to be honoured with a state funeral; after lying in state in the foyer of the House of Commons, the funeral service took place at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.
List of state funerals in Canada
|State position||Name||Date of funeral||Place of funeral||Sources|
|Governor general||The Lord Tweedsmuir||1940||—||—|
|Governor general||Georges Vanier||1967||Ottawa (Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica)||—|
|Governor general||Vincent Massey||1968||Ottawa (Christ Church Cathedral)|||
|Governor general||Jules Léger||1980||—|||
|Governor general||Roland Michener||1991||—||—|
|Governor general||Jeanne Sauvé||1993||Montreal (Mary, Queen of the World Cathedral)|||
|Governor general||Ray Hnatyshyn||2002||Ottawa (Christ Church Cathedral)||—|
|Governor general||Roméo LeBlanc||2009||Memramcook, NB|||
|Prime minister||John A. Macdonald||1891||Kingston, ON||—|
|Prime minister||Alexander Mackenzie||1892||—||—|
|Prime minister||John Abbott||1893||—||—|
|Prime minister||John Sparrow David Thompson||1894||—||—|
|Prime minister||Charles Tupper||1915||Halifax, NS||—|
|Prime minister||Mackenzie Bowell||1917||—||—|
|Prime minister||Wilfrid Laurier||1919||Ottawa (Notre-Dame Cathedral Basilica)|||
|Prime minister||Robert Borden||1937||Ottawa (All Saints Anglican Church)|||
|Prime minister||R. B. Bennett||1947||Mickleham, Surrey, England (St. Michael's Church)|||
|Prime minister||William Lyon Mackenzie King||1950||Ottawa (St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church)||—|
|Prime minister||Arthur Meighen||1960||Toronto (St. Andrew's United Church)||—|
|Prime minister||Lester B. Pearson||1972||Ottawa (Christ Church Cathedral)||—|
|Prime minister||Louis Saint Laurent||1973||Quebec City (Notre-Dame de Québec Cathedral)||—|
|Prime minister||John Diefenbaker||1979||Saskatoon, SK||—|
|Prime minister||Pierre Trudeau||2000||Montreal (Notre-Dame Basilica)|||
|Cabinet minister||James Robb||1930||—|
|Cabinet minister||George Eulas Foster||1931||—|
|Cabinet minister||George Halsey Perley||1938||—|
|Cabinet minister||Ernest Lapointe||1941||Quebec City|||
|Cabinet minister||Raoul Dandurand||1942||Montreal (Église Saint-Viateur d'Outremont)|||
|Cabinet minister||Humphrey Mitchell||1950||Ottawa (St. Barnabas)|||
|Cabinet minister||Alcide Côté||1955||St. John's|||
|Cabinet minister||Jack Garland||1964||—|
|Cabinet minister||Daniel J. MacDonald||1980||Charlottetown, PEI|||
|Member of Parliament (had been Cabinet minister in Province of Canada, prior to Confederation)||Thomas D'Arcy McGee||1868||Ottawa (St. Patrick's Bascilica)|||
|Leader of the Opposition||Jack Layton||2011||Toronto (Roy Thomson Hall)|
- Sidney Smith, External Affairs Minister, qualified for a state funeral in 1959, but did not receive one.
- A state funeral was offered for assassinated Quebec cabinet minister Pierre Laporte in 1970 but his widow declined.
- A state funeral was offered for Chief Justice Bora Laskin by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau but his family declined.
List of provincial state funerals in Canada
|State position||Name||Date of funeral||Place of funeral||Sources|
|Premier of Quebec||Maurice Duplessis||1959||Trois-Rivières|||
|Premier of Quebec||Daniel Johnson, Sr.||1968||Montreal|||
|Premier of Quebec||Jean Lesage||1980||Quebec City|||
|Premier of Ontario||John Robarts||1982||Toronto|||
|Premier of Quebec||René Lévesque||1987||Quebec City|||
|Premier of Quebec||Robert Bourassa||1996||Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal)|||
|None (athlete)||Maurice Richard||2000||Montreal (Basilique Notre-Dame de Montréal)|||
|Premier of Alberta||Peter Lougheed||2012||Calgary and Edmonton (Alberta Legislature and Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium)|||
|Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario||Lincoln Alexander||2012||Hamilton (Hamilton Place Theatre)|||
- Death and state funeral of Pierre Trudeau
- Death and state funeral of Jack Layton
- State funerals in the United States
- Government of Canada (26 June 2009). "Frequently Asked Questions on State Funerals in Canada". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 3 February 2010.
- Ciarula, Lesley (23 August 2011), "State funeral for Layton in Toronto on Saturday", Toronto Star, retrieved 23 August 2011
- "State Funerals in Canada > Past State Funerals". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
- "Final Tribute Paid Vincent Massey". The Montreal Gazette (Montreal QC). 5 January 1968. p. 1. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- Bauch, Hubert (28 November 1980). "Canada pays last respects to Leger". The Montreal Gazette (Montreal QC). p. 1. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- Contenta, Sandro (31 January 1993). "1,000 mourn Sauve, a woman of 'firsts'". Toronto Star (Toronto ON). p. A1. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- Government of Canada (26 June 2009). "List of state funerals in Canada". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 4 February 2010.
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- "Sir Wilfrid Laurier's Death". Poverty Bay Herald (Poverty Bay NZ). 18 February 1919. p. 6. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
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- Canadian, Press (16 March 1942). "Crowds Hushed For Dandourand". Calgary Herald. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
- "Canada Pays Last Tribute To Mitchell". The Windsor Daily Star (Windsor ON). Canadian Press. 4 August 1950. p. 18. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- "Canada's Postmaster-General Hon. Alcide Cote, Died Sunday". The Shawinigan Standard (Shawinigan QC). 10 August 1955. p. 2. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- "THOMAS D'ARCY McGEE.; Funeral Services at Ottawa—Thirty Thousand People in Procession.". The New York Times (New York NY). 14 April 1868. Retrieved 23 August 2011.
- Collections Canada (2 May 2005). "THOMAS D'ARCY McGEE.". Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- Government of Canada (24 August 2011). "State Funerals in Canada.". Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- MacSween, Joseph (21 October 1970). "A grieving Quebec buries Laporte". Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 25 August 2011.
- "Bora Laskin buried". The Leader-Post. 29 March 1984. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- Paulin, Marguerite (2005). Maurice Duplessis: powerbroker, politician. Dundurn Press Ltd. ISBN 1-894852-17-6.
- "Quebec mourns premier at state funeral". Star-Phoenix. 30 September 1968. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- "Quebec bids adieu to Jean Lesage". Calgary Herald. 16 December 1980. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- "Robarts gets state funeral". Ottawa Citizen. 21 October 1982. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- Burns, John F. (3 November 1987). "René Lévesque, Ex-Premier of Quebec, Dies at 65". New York Times. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- "Remembering Bourassa". CBC Digital Archives. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 24 August 2011.
- Template:Citwe news
- Bennett, Dean (18 September 2012), "Two flags drape Peter Lougheed's coffin as mourners pay respects", The Globe and Mail, retrieved 28 October 2012
- Humphreys, Adrian (26 October 2012), "State funeral honours former Ontario lieutenant governor Lincoln Alexander's 'life of firsts'", National Post, retrieved 28 October 2012