John Morison Gibson

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Sir John Morison Gibson
John Morison Gibson (close up).jpg
10th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
In office
September 21, 1908 – September 26, 1914
MonarchEdward VII
George V
Governor GeneralThe Earl Grey
The Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
PremierJames Whitney
William Howard Hearst
Preceded byWilliam Mortimer Clark
Succeeded byJohn Strathearn Hendrie
Ontario MPP
In office
Preceded byJohn Craig
Succeeded byJames J. Craig
ConstituencyWellington East
In office
Preceded byNew riding
Succeeded byEdward Alexander Colquhoun
ConstituencyHamilton West
In office
Preceded byJames Miller Williams
Succeeded byRiding abolished
Personal details
Born(1842-01-01)January 1, 1842
Toronto Township, Upper Canada
DiedJune 3, 1929(1929-06-03) (aged 87)
Hamilton, Ontario
Resting placeHamilton cemetery
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Emily Annie Birrell (d. 1874)
Caroline Hope (d. 1877)
Elizabeth Malloch (m. 1881)
Children1 daughter who died at birth; 4 sons and 2 daughters
ResidenceHamilton, Ontario
Alma materUniversity of Toronto
Professionmilitia officer, lawyer, and businessman
CabinetMinister Without Portfolio (1904-1905)
Attorney General (1899-1904)
Commissioner of Crown Lands (1896-1899)
Provincial Secretary and Registrar (1889-1896)

Sir John Morison Gibson, KCMG KC (January 1, 1842 – June 3, 1929) was a Canadian politician and the tenth Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.

John Gibson in 1908

John Morison Gibson, the son of Scottish immigrants, was born in 1842, in Toronto. He grew up on a farm in Caledonia, Ontario, went to Hamilton Central School, in Hamilton, and went on to be educated at the University of Toronto, as a lawyer. In 1860 he joined the university company of the 2nd Battalion Volunteer Militia of The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada and was a Wimbledon marksman in 1874. He became a company director and developed a keen interest in music and art. On his return to Hamilton in 1864, he enlisted in the 13th Battalion as an ensign. In 1866, he was a lieutenant in the 13th Battalion, and fought at the Battle of Ridgeway, defending against the Fenian raids. He rose through the ranks of the 13th Battalion and was Commanding Officer from 1886 to 1895 (see regimental history Royal Hamilton Light Infantry (Wentworth Regiment)). He was a Member of the Legislature from 1879 to 1905 and held the posts of Provincial Secretary, Commissioner of Crown Lands and Attorney General of Ontario. Gibson was appointed Lieutenant Governor of Ontario in 1908,[1] and was knighted in 1912. During his mandate, the new Government House in Chorley Park (now demolished) was completed. Gibson served as Lieutenant Governor until 1914. He was one of Hamilton's "5 Johns", who, in 1896, formed the Dominion Power and Transmission Company, that brought hydroelectric power, for the first time, to Hamilton, from their plant, at DeCew Falls.[2] John Dickenson was another of the 5 Johns.

"One big reason" for almost 75% increase in the population of Hamilton between 1901 and 1912, boasted Sir John Morison Gibson of Dominion Power and Transmission Company, was "Cheap Electric Power Furnished By Us." This simplistic explanation for the development of Hamilton in the early twentieth century leaves much unexamined, but one conclusion cannot be disputed. In the perception of the Hamilton public, a view certainly fostered by Gibson and his fellow hydroelectric promoters, Hamilton was no longer regarded the Birmingham or the Pittsburgh of Canada Hamilton was now, as the title of a 1906 promotional booklet on the city proudly proclaimed, "The Electric City." [2]

After receiving a grant from Andrew Carnegie of New York the city of Hamilton built a brand new Library on the south side of Main Street West, across the street from the old Library. It was officially opened by the Lieutenant Governor Sir John Morison Gibson on May 5, 1913.[3] He was active in many charities, especially the Red Cross and child welfare. He died in Hamilton, Ontario in 1929.[2]


The Gibson neighbourhood in Hamilton is named after him. it is bounded by Barton Street East (north), Main Street East (south), Wentworth Street (west) and Sherman Avenue (east). Landmarks in this neighbourhood include Cathedral High School, Budget Motor Inn, Barton Library, Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board, Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board, Powell Park and Woodland Park. Gibson Avenue, found in this neighbourhood, is also named after him.[4]


  1. ^ "Fast Facts from Hamilton's Past". Archived from the original on 2006-09-05. Retrieved 2007-01-29.
  2. ^ a b c Bailey, Thomas Melville (1991). Dictionary of Hamilton Biography (Vol II, 1876-1924). W.L. Griffin Ltd. p. 143.
  3. ^ "Hamilton's Public Library History". Archived from the original on 2012-05-24. Retrieved 2012-06-15.
  4. ^ "Experience Hamilton: Tourist Guide 2006/2007". Tourism Hamilton: 34–35. Winter 2006.

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