John Black Aird

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John Black Aird
23rd Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
In office
September 15, 1980 – September 20, 1985
MonarchElizabeth II
Governors GeneralEdward Schreyer
Jeanne Sauvé
PremierBill Davis
Frank Miller
David Peterson
Preceded byPauline Mills McGibbon
Succeeded byLincoln Alexander
Senator from Ontario
In office
November 10, 1964 – November 28, 1974
Nominated byLester B. Pearson
Personal details
Born(1923-05-05)May 5, 1923
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedMay 6, 1995(1995-05-06) (aged 72)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Resting placeMount Pleasant Cemetery, Toronto
Political partyLiberal
SpouseLucille Jane Housser[1]
RelativesSir John Aird (grandfather)

John Black Aird CC OOnt QC (May 5, 1923 – May 6, 1995)[2] was a Canadian lawyer, corporate director, and political figure. He served in the Senate of Canada from 1964 to 1974, and he was Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1980 to 1985.

Life and career[edit]

Aird was born in Toronto, Ontario, and was the grandson of Sir John Aird, a prominent Canadian banker. He was educated at Upper Canada College, Trinity College and Osgoode Hall Law School. Aird was a Brother at the Toronto Chapter of Alpha Delta Phi.

During World War II, Aird served in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. In July 1944, he married Lucille “Jane” Housser.

Aird practised law in Toronto and headed his own firm, Aird & Berlis, in 1974. He also served as a director of several corporations. In 1958, he was appointed to the board of directors of Callaghan Mining.[3] He later was chairman of the board of Algoma Central Railway.[4]

Aird was one of the founding partners of the Canadian law firm Aird & Berlis LLP

From 1964 to 1974, he was a Liberal party Senator. In 1971, he served as chairman of the Canada-United States Permanent Joint Board on Defence. From 1977 to 1985, he was Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo.

Aird was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1976,[5] and he served as 23rd Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1980 to 1985. The main focus of his mandate was Ontarians with disabilities. He wrote a book, Loyalty in a Changing World, about the contemporary function of the Lieutenant Governor.

He was Lieutenant Governor when, 22 days into the 33rd Parliament of Ontario, Premier Frank Miller resigned following his Progressive Conservative government's defeat due to a motion of no confidence. The defeat occurred after an accord had been reached between David Peterson's Liberals and Bob Rae's New Democratic Party to allow Petersen to form a minority government for two years with NDP support, despite the fact that the Liberals had slightly fewer seats than the Tories. Some media outlets, such as the conservative Toronto Sun, compared the matter to the King-Byng Affair and accused Aird of partisanship for asking Peterson to form a government rather than dissolving the legislature and calling a new election.


The John B. Aird in 2010

In 1983, Algoma Central launched a ship named the John B. Aird.[4] Aird had previously been chairman of the board of Algoma Central Railway.

After his term as Lieutenant Governor, Aird became Chancellor of the University of Toronto, his alma mater.[6] He was made an Honorary Senior Fellow of Renison University College in 1985.[7] He also served as Governor of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.[8]

Aird was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 1987, and he was promoted to Companion of the Order of Canada in 1992. He died in Toronto in 1995.


  1. ^ Obituary of John Black Aird
  2. ^ "Aird, John Black". Who Was Who in America, 1993-1996, vol. 11. New Providence, N.J.: Marquis Who's Who. 1996. p. 3. ISBN 0837902258.
  3. ^ "Callahan Mining Adds A Lawyer to Its Board". New York Times. 1958-10-02. Retrieved 2013-05-31. The election of John B. Aird as a director of the Callahan Mining Corporation has been announced by Joseph T. Hall, president.
  4. ^ a b George Wharton. "Great Lakes Fleet Page Vessel Feature -- John B. Aird". Archived from the original on July 9, 2013. Retrieved 2013-07-01. Mr. Aird was born May 5, 1923 at Toronto, ON; trained as a lawyer being appointed to the Queen's Counsel on January 1, 1960 and was a former Chairman of the Board of Algoma Central Railway.
  5. ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. Order of Canada citation. Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 3 January 2021.
  6. ^ Alan Barnes (1986-04-10). "U of T grad John B. Aird back at school as chancellor". Toronto Star. p. A.19. Retrieved 2013-07-01. Aird, 62, said he is familiar with the role of chancellor as he held that post at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo for eight years and is now chancellor emeritus.
  7. ^ "Honorary Senior Fellows of Renison University College | Renison University College | University of Waterloo". Archived from the original on 2019-04-30. Retrieved 2019-04-30.
  8. ^ "John B. Aird: Society governor was former lieutenant-governor of Ontario". Canadian Geographic Journal. July 1995. Archived from the original on 2013-07-01. Retrieved 2013-05-31.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
Succeeded by
Academic offices
Preceded by Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University
Succeeded by
Preceded by Chancellor of the University of Toronto
Succeeded by