Executive Council of Upper Canada

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The Executive Council of Upper Canada had a similar function to the Cabinet in England but was not responsible to the Legislative Assembly. Members of the Executive Council were not necessarily members of the Legislative Assembly but were usually members of the Legislative Council. Members were appointed, often for life. The first five members were appointed in July 1792. The Council was dissolved on 10 February 1841 when Upper Canada and Lower Canada were united into the Province of Canada. It was replaced by the Executive Council of the Province of Canada the same year.

After the War of 1812, the Executive Council was dominated by members of the Family Compact, an elite clique based in York.

List of Members of the Executive Council[edit]

Member Town Start The best Stop Notes
James Baby Windsor, Ontario 9 July 1792 19 February 1833 died in office
Alexander Grant, Sr. York 9 July 1792 May, 1813 died in office and in the United States
William Osgoode York 9 July 1792 July 1794 to Lower Canada; left British North America for Britain 1801 and died in London; Chief Justice of Upper Canada 1794-1801
William Robertson 9 July 1792 4 November 1792 resigned; eventually moved to Lower Canada and England; died in London
Peter Russell York 9 July 1792 30 September 1808 died in office
Æneas Shaw 1 York 21 June 1794 1807 retired
Jacob Mountain Quebec City 10 June 1794 N/A never attended; died in Quebec City
John Elmsley, Sr. York 1 January 1796 July 1802 Born in Marylebone in 1762, London and was Chief Justice of Upper Canada 1801, moved to Montreal as Chief Justice of Lower Canada 1802; died in Montreal 1805
John McGill York 2 March 1796 13 August 1818 became Receiver General of Upper Canada (5 October 1813 to 2 December 1819)
David William Smith Norfolk, Oxford & Middlesex 2 March 1796 July 1802 left Canada for England; died in Alnwick, Northumberland
Henry Allcock York 14 October 1802 September 1804 Chief Justice of Upper Canada 1802-1804; moved to Lower Canada to become Chief Justice and member of the Executive Council of Lower Canada 1805; died in Quebec City
Thomas Scott York 8 April 1805 August 1816 Attorney General 1801-1806; later Chief Justice of Upper Canada; granted a pension and retired
William Dummer Powell York 8 October 1808 September 1825 Chief Justice of Upper Canada; resigned office upon pension
Prideaux Selby York 8 October 1808 9 May 1813 died in office
Isaac Brock York 30 September 1812 13 October 1812 died heroically and buried at Queenston Heights near Newark, Upper Canada
Roger Hale Sheaffe York 20 October 1812 4 June 1813 replaced after being recalled to England; died in Edinburgh
Baron Francis de Rottenburg York 19 June 1813 N/A never attended; left of Lower Canada and England where he died in
Gordon Drummond York 4 November 1813 March 1814 became Governor-General and Administrator of Canada; return to England and died there
Samuel Smith Etobicoke 30 November 1813 October 1825 retired
John Strachan 2 York 11 May 1815 12 March 1836 Bishop of Anglican Church in Upper Canada; resigned 3
William Claus Niagara 12 February 1818 September 1824 retired? died of cancer 1826
George Herchmer Markland 4 York 22 October 1822 12 March 1836 resigned 3; died in Kingston, Ontario
Peter Robinson York 24 December 1823 12 March 1836 resigned 3
James Buchanan Macaulay York 5 May 1825 July 1829 resigned and appointed temporary judge of the Court of Queen's Bench, later as permanent judge
William Campbell York 26 October 1825 March 1828 unable to attend due to poor health and retired 1829; Chief Justice of Upper Canada 1825-1829
John Beverley Robinson York 25 April 1829 25 January 1831 resigned; Solicitor General 1815-1818; Attorney General 1818-1829; acting Attorney General 1812-1814
Joseph Wells York 13 September 1830 12 March 1836 resigned 3
John Elmsley, Jr. York 20 September 1830 1841 retired to management of his personal business; died in Toronto 1863
Robert Baldwin Toronto 20 February 1836 12 March 1836 resigned 3
John Henry Dunn Toronto 20 February 1836 12 March 1836 resigned 3 and returned to England; died in England
John Rolph Toronto 20 February 1836 12 March 1836 resigned 3; died in Mitchell, Ontario
William Allan Toronto 14 March 1836 10 February 1841 retired
Augustus Warren Baldwin Toronto 14 March 1836 10 February 1841 re-appointed to the Legislative Council of the Province of Canada
John Elmsley, Jr. Toronto 14 March 1836 8 January 1839 second term; died in Toronto 1863
Robert Baldwin Sullivan Toronto 14 March 1836 10 February 1841 not re-appointed; later appointed to the Queen's Bench
William Henry Draper Toronto 27 December 1836 10 February 1841 elected to the 1st Parliament of the United Canadas 1841; Solicitor General 1837-1839 and Attorney General 1840-1841
Richard Alexander Tucker Kingston 8 December 1838 10 February 1841 appointed registrar of the Province of Canada in 1841-1851; retired to England 1851


  1. Æneas Shaw was an honorary member after 1803.
  2. The Reverend John Strachan was an honorary member until 25 July 1817.
  3. On 12 March 1836, all members of the council resigned to protest when the new Lieutenant Governor Sir Francis Bond Head refused to consult with his council.
  4. George Markland was an honorary member until 6 July 1827.


  • Handbook of Upper Canadian Chronology, Frederick H. Armstrong, Toronto : Dundurn Press, 1985. ISBN 0-919670-92-X

External links[edit]