Hilary Weston

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Hilary Weston

Hilary M. Weston.jpg
26th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
In office
24 January 1997 – 7 March 2002
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor GeneralRoméo LeBlanc
Adrienne Clarkson
PremierMike Harris
Preceded byHal Jackman
Succeeded byJames Bartleman
Personal details
Born (1942-01-12) January 12, 1942 (age 78)
Dublin, Ireland
(m. 1966)
ProfessionBusinesswoman, writer

Hilary Mary Weston, CM CVO OOnt (née Frayne; born January 12, 1942) is an Irish-Canadian businesswoman and writer who was the 26th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1997 to 2002. During her five-year tenure, Weston focused on issues related to women, volunteerism and young people, drawing public attention to people working with the homeless, in hospices and as mentors to at-risk youth.[1]


Born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, Weston worked as a model before marrying Galen Weston in 1966. They moved to Toronto in 1974, and Weston became a Canadian citizen. They have two married children, Alannah and Galen Jr., and five grandchildren: two girls and a boy with Alannah and her husband interior architect[2] Alex Cochrane, and two boys with Galen and his wife Alexandra.[3]

Prior to her appointment as Lieutenant Governor, Weston spent over two decades working in business and in the fashion industry. As deputy chair of Holt Renfrew, she promoted Canadian design and merchandise. During the same time, she also served as director of Brown Thomas & Co. in Ireland, co-founded Torwest in the United States, and served as vice-chair and design director of the Windsor Club in Florida.

In 1979, Weston founded the Ireland Fund of Canada, a non-partisan, non-denominational organization that funds community projects in Ireland to promote peace. She continues to serve as an honorary patron of the organization.

An interest in early childhood education led Weston to serve as founding chair of the Mabin School in Toronto. She also co-founded and chaired the Canadian Environment Educational Foundation, and established the Winter Garden Show at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Weston has explored her longstanding interest in homes and gardens as co-author of two best-selling books, In a Canadian Garden (1989) and At Home in Canada (1995).

Since her retirement as Lieutenant Governor, Weston has spearheaded the most successful fundraising campaign in Canadian cultural history, which raised more than $250 million for the Royal Ontario Museum. She is patron of several organizations dealing with social issues, such as the Abbeyfield House Society, the Hospice Association of Ontario, the Landmine Survivors Network (later known as Survivor Corps), the Ontario March of Dimes, Prince's Trust Canada and the Yonge Street Mission. Weston also devotes a significant proportion of her time, as well as her business and fashion expertise, to Selfridges, the London department store of which she is a director.


Weston served as the first chancellor of the Order of Ontario, and received the honour in 2001. She was appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada in 2003 and was invested as a Dame of Justice in the Venerable Order of St. John in 1997. She received the Canadian version of the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and the Canadian version of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012. In 2015, she was awarded the Royal Victorian Order in the degree of Commander in the 2015 Birthday Honours.

Ten post-secondary institutions have recognized Weston with honorary degrees, including the University of Western Ontario, University of St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, Massey College, Trinity College, Dublin and University College Dublin

Weston is the recipient of the 2009 YWCA Toronto Woman of Distinction President’s Award, for modeling leadership in public and private life.

Order of Canada (CM) ribbon bar.png Royal Victorian Order ribbon sm.jpg VOStJ ribbon.png Order Ontario ribbon bar.svg
QEII Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png

Ribbon Description Notes
Order of Canada (CM) ribbon bar.png Order of Canada (CM) 2003
Royal Victorian Order ribbon sm.jpg Royal Victorian Order (CVO) 2015
Order of St John (UK) ribbon.png Order of St. John (D.stJ) 1997
  • Dame of Justice
Order Ontario ribbon bar.svg Order of Ontario (O.ont) 2001
QEII Golden Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal 2002
  • Canadian Version of this Medal
QEII Diamond Jubilee Medal ribbon.png Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal 2012
  • Canadian Version of this Medal


Coat of arms of Hilary Weston
Hilary Weston Arms.svg
The arms of Hilary Weston consist of:[4]
Upon a helmet mantled Azure doubled Or within a wreath of these colours issuant from a coronet erablé Argent the rim bearing a frieze of trefoils Vert a demi lioness Gules the sinister paw resting on a wheat sheaf Or the dexter paw holding a closed book bound Or edged Gules.
Or a fess Azure semé of Ermine spots Or between in chief two bees volant and in base a panpipe Azure.
Two mares Or the dexter gorged with a wreath of roses Gules the sinister gorged with a collar of ash leaves Vert.
A grassy mound Vert.
Suaviter In Modo Fortiter In Re


  1. ^ Hilary Weston, "No Ordinary Time: Hilary Weston - My Years as Ontario's Lieutenant Governor," Whitfield Editions; (2007) ISBN 0-9781805-1-8.
  2. ^ Elfreda Pownall (1 November 2016). "See inside one of south Kensington's grandest homes:19th century house with formal ballroom has been beautifully transformed for modern living". www.homesandproperty.co.uk.
  3. ^ http://www.writerstrust.com/News/News-(1)/Press-Release-Archive/Press-Releases/WT-Hilary-Weston-Prize.aspx
  4. ^ Canadian Heraldic Authority (Volume III), Ottawa, 1998

External links[edit]