George Stewart Henry
George Stewart Henry
|10th Premier of Ontario|
December 15, 1930 – July 10, 1934
|Lieutenant Governor||William Donald Ross|
William Mulock (acting)
Herbert A. Bruce
|Preceded by||Howard Ferguson|
|Succeeded by||Mitchell Hepburn|
|Member of Provincial Parliament|
September 8, 1913 – August 4, 1943
|Preceded by||Alexander McCowan|
|Succeeded by||Agnes Macphail|
|Born||July 16, 1871|
King Township, Ontario
|Died||September 2, 1958 (aged 87)|
|Resting place||Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto|
|Political party||Progressive Conservative|
|Spouse(s)||Anna Ketha Pickett|
|Residence||Village of Todmorden (Toronto)|
|Alma mater||University of Toronto|
George Stewart Henry (July 16, 1871 – September 2, 1958) was a farmer, businessman and politician in Ontario, Canada. He served as the Premier of Ontario from 1930 to 1934. Prior to becoming Premier, he acted as Minister of Highways, during which time Ontario greatly expanded its highway system. Henry continued the expansion of the highway system as Premier, however his party did not provide relief during the Great Depression and lost the 1934 election.
He attended Upper Canada College for high school, moving on to the University of Toronto, where he received a Bachelor of Arts. He earned his LL.B. at Osgoode Hall Law School. He also spent a year at the University of Toronto's Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph, and decided to become a farmer in East York, Ontario.
He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1913 as a Conservative in the riding of York East. In 1918 he was appointed as Minister of Agriculture. In 1920 he ran for the leadership of the provincial Conservatives at that party's first ever leadership convention but lost to Howard Ferguson who led the party to victory in the subsequent general election. From 1923 to 1930, Henry served as Minister of Highways in the Ferguson government, expanding on the highway system that was initiated by the previous government of Ernest C. Drury.
When Ferguson stepped down in 1930, barely a year into the Great Depression, Henry succeeded him as Conservative party leader and Premier of Ontario. Henry continued the programme of building roads, extending Ontario's highway system from 670 km to 3888 km.
Construction of Canada's first four-lane controlled access superhighway, the Toronto to Niagara Falls Queen Elizabeth Way, is the most lasting achievement of the highway program. Henry was opposed to government intervention to deal with the economy. Aside from building roads, his government did little to alleviate public suffering during the Depression, such as unemployment in the cities, or the collapse of prices for farm products in the country. Henry's government, like the federal government of R.B. Bennett, established work camps for jobless men. They were established not so much to provide social welfare, but rather as social control, i.e., to evacuate this potentially radical element from the cities. The work camps also provided a source of labour for the construction of Henry's highway system.
In the 1934 election, Henry sought a new mandate from the voters in his first election as Premier. Some felt the government had little to offer beyond more road construction, and the Tories were soundly defeated by the Ontario Liberal Party led by Mitchell Hepburn. He became the Leader of the Opposition from 1934, until he retired as the Conservative leader in 1938.
In 1898, Henry bought the farm house and property where he would spend almost all of his adult life, after he graduated from the Ontario Agricultural College. The "Mulholland Homestead" had been settled by his great-grandfather Henry Mulholland who sold it in the early 19th century.
The farm was located in what was then known as Todmorden, and contained 460 acres. He sold it in 1958 for approximately CA$2 million to a British construction firm that was planning on building a housing division. He died ten days after completing the sale, on September 2, 1958. It became a suburban housing subdivision in the 1960s, named "Henry Farm" in what was then known as the City of North York, now part of the amalgamated City of Toronto.
- A cyclopædia of Canadian biography. Hunter-Rose Company. 1919. p. 282.
- "George S. Henry, 87, Dies". The Toronto Daily Star. Toronto. 1958-09-03. p. 10.
- Dunkelman, David (2012). "North York: Henry Farm". Toronto Neighbourhood Guide. Toronto: Maple Tree Publishing. Archived from the original on 2012-02-04. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
- "George S. Henry Academy". Toronto: Toronto District School Board. 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-01-17. Retrieved 2012-01-08.
- Ontario Legislative Assembly parliamentary history (archived)
- The Ontario Heritage Foundation plaque - Honourable George Stewart Henry 1871–1958
- George S. Henry family fonds, Archives of Ontario
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