Lois Hole

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Lois Hole

15th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta
In office
February 10, 2000 – January 6, 2005
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor GeneralAdrienne Clarkson
PremierRalph Klein
Preceded byBud Olson
Succeeded byNorman Kwong
Personal details
Lois Elsa Verigin [1]

(1929-01-30)30 January 1929
Buchanan, Saskatchewan
Died6 January 2005(2005-01-06) (aged 75)
Edmonton, Alberta[2]
Spouse(s)Ted Hole 1952[3]–2003 (his death)

Lois Elsa Hole, CM, AOE[4] (née Verigin; 30 January 1929 – 6 January 2005) was a Canadian politician, businesswoman, academician, professional gardener and best-selling author. She was the 15th Lieutenant Governor of Alberta from 10 February 2000 until her death. She was known as the "Queen of Hugs"[5] for breaking with protocol and hugging almost everyone she met, including journalists, diplomats and other politicians.[6]

Early life and education[edit]

Lois Elsa Verigin was born in Buchanan, Saskatchewan, to Michael M. Verigin and Elsa Viktoria Norsten in 1929, not 1933, as was later misreported.[7] Her family moved to Edmonton, Alberta in 1948, where she completed her education at Strathcona Composite High School.[6]

In 1950, she met Ted Hole, a young University of Alberta agriculture student. Several years later they married and moved to a 200-acre (0.81 km2) farm near St. Albert, Alberta. Lois and Ted Hole ran a successful market garden business from their farm which they, along with their sons Bill and Jim, incorporated as Hole's Greenhouses & Gardens Ltd. in 1979. [4] It remained one of Western Canada's largest retail greenhouse stores until it closed in early 2011 when the Hole family moved the operation to their new site on the edge of Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park, and opened the Enjoy Centre.[citation needed]


In 1993 Lois Hole wrote her first book, Vegetable Favourites, and went on to write five more in the "Favourites" series. There are currently more than 1,000,000 copies of the various books in this series in print. The series won the Educational Media Award from the Professional Plant Growers Association in 1996. In 1998, Hole's Greenhouse began publishing their own books starting with Hole's autobiographical I'll Never Marry a Farmer. She also wrote several books with her son, Jim. Hole's Greenhouse has continued to publish gardening books along with a successful annual magazine, Lois' Spring Gardening.


She was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 1999 and a Dame of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem in 2000. In 1995, she was named Edmonton Business and Professional Woman of the Year and St. Albert's Citizen of the Year. In 2003 she was awarded the Gandhi, King, Ikeda Humanitarian Award. She was made an "Honorary Patricia" by the 1st Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry.

Ted and Lois Hole's deaths[edit]

During his wife's term in office, Ted Hole died of cancer in April 2003. Lois Hole had been diagnosed with abdominal cancer[8] in 2002, making a public announcement the following year when she began treatment in early 2003. Her health improved, temporarily, but by late 2004, her case was terminal. Her illness prevented her from making several scheduled public appearances. She died in office at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton on 6 January 2005, aged 75.

Most sources cited 1933 as Lois Hole's year of birth based on her reported age at death. However, the Edmonton Journal,[9] the Royal Alberta United Services Institute's newsletter[5] and the Legislature of Alberta[4] all indicate that she was born in 1929. The Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta confirmed that Hole was born on 30 January 1929.[10]


The Alberta Library Trustees Association (ALTA) established the Lois Hole Award in 2001. In November 2004, two months before Lois Hole's death, the Capital Health Authority in Edmonton announced that a new wing of the Royal Alexandra Hospital would be named the Lois Hole Hospital for Women. It opened 13 April 2010 and consolidated the women's health programs and services based at the Royal Alexandra Hospital into one building.[citation needed]

On 19 April 2005 the Lois Hole Centennial Provincial Park was established, becoming the 69th provincial park in Alberta. The park contains the former Big Lake Natural Area and an additional 302 hectares of Crown land, for a total of 1421 hectares. The lake makes up around 59 per cent of the park's total area.[citation needed]

In 2008 the Edmonton Public Library opened the Lois Hole Library in Callingwood North. It features a sculpture of Lois Hole by Danek Mozdzenski and a reading garden. In 2009, the City of St. Albert declared 14 May to be Lois Hole Day. A bronze statue designed by Barbara Paterson called A Legacy of Love and Learning was unveiled at city hall on this day.

Personal Education and Involvement in education[edit]

She received her secondary education at Strathcona High School (now known as Old Scona Academic High School) and then her ATCM (her associates diploma) in Music from the Royal Conservatory of Music, Toronto, Ontario.

In 1983 she was awarded an honorary doctorate Doctor of Athabasca University and in 1997 received a Distinguished Citizen Honorary Diploma in Business from Grant MacEwan College and in 2000 received an Honorary Doctorate in Laws from the University of Alberta. In 2003 she received an Honorary Degree in Horticulture from Olds College, Olds, Alberta.

She was a school trustee at St. Albert School District No. 6 in 1998, was a trustee and chairperson, Sturgeon School Division, was on the Athabasca University Governing Council, and Chancellor of University of Alberta, 1998–2000.

She was the Keynote speaker at the Alberta College Graduation Ceremony in 2000, at Strathcona Composite High School Commencement ceremony in 2001, and at the Strathcona Composite High School commencement ceremony in 2003.


  • Lois Hole's Vegetable Favourites (originally published as Northern Vegetable Gardening)
  • Lois Hole's Bedding Plant Favourites (originally published as Northern Flower Gardening: Bedding Plants)
  • Lois Hole's Perennial Favourites
  • Lois Hole's Tomato Favourites
  • Lois Hole's Rose Favourites
  • Lois Hole's Favourite Trees & Shrubs
  • I'll Never Marry a Farmer
  • Herbs & Edible Flowers
  • The Best of Lois Hole
  • Lois Hole's Favourite Bulbs'
  • Bedding Plants Q&A (with son Jim Hole)
  • Roses Q&A (with son Jim Hole)
  • Perennials Q&A (with son Jim Hole)
  • Vegetables Q&A (with son Jim Hole)
  • Trees & Shrubs Q&A (with son Jim Hole)
  • Lois' Spring Gardening annual magazine 1998–2008


Coat of arms of Lois Hole
Lois Hole Arms.svg
Issuant from a circlet of roses Argent and roses Gules, a demi lion Or crowned erablé Gules, its dexter paw resting on a closed book Vert clasped Or.
Per chevron rompu Or and Vert, the centre section heightened of two points, in chief two wild roses proper, in base an open book Argent bound Or.
Two German shepherds Or gorged with collars of wild roses and prairie lilies proper.
A compartment set with grassy mounds Vert and tapissé of wheat Or.
Care and Nurture
The dividing line represents two peaks of a greenhouse viewed from one end, celebrating Her Honour's pioneering efforts in this field in Alberta. The two wild roses refer to Their Honours' two sons, and the book represents Her Honour's love of learning and long involvement with education. The shield surmounts the Badge of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem, and is surrounded by the motto ribbon of the Order of Canada. Below the shield are show the Badges of (from left to right) Dame of Justice of the Order of St John, a member of the Order of Canada, and the Alberta Order of Excellence. The lion refers to Alberta and Saskatchewan, where it appears in the provincial coats of arms; to England, His Honour's ancestral homeland; and to the lion of the arms of the Scottish family of Buchanan, and being a reference to Her Honour's birthplace in Saskatchewan. The maple leaf coronet symbolizes her service to Canada and as the Queen's representative in Alberta, while the roses, repeating the reference to Her Honour's favourite flower, are shown in Canada's national colours. The book represents both Her Honour's long involvement with education as a school trustee and as Chancellor of the University of Alberta, and the importance she attaches to education. The wheat field represents both Saskatchewan and the central part played by this grain in the making of bread, a staple with a great symbolic significance to the Doukhoubors, and hence a strong reference to Her Honour's father. The green grass represents an important element of landscaping and gardening. The German Shepherds were chosen by Her Honour as they are a strong intelligent breed for which Her Honour indicated a preference. Their collars combine the official provincial flowers of Alberta and Saskatchewan.[11]


  1. ^ https://www.ancestry.ca/boards/topics.religious.doukhobor/949
  2. ^ Perry & Powell (2006), p. 662
  3. ^ Perry & Powell (2006), p. 655
  4. ^ a b c "Legislature of Alberta website". Archived from the original on 18 July 2015. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
  5. ^ a b RAUSI (Royal Alberta United Services Institute)[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b Obituary at the For Posterity's Sake website Archived 8 February 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ Perry & Powell (2006), p. 653
  8. ^ Edmonton Journal coverage of Lois Hole's cancer diagnosis Archived 21 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ "Edmonton Journal archive". Archived from the original on 29 March 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2009.
  10. ^ Date of birth confirmed as 30 January 1929 via email from Mary Hunt, Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Alberta, Room 212 Legislature Building, Edmonton, Alberta T5K 2B6
  11. ^ Canadian Heraldic Authority. "The Public Register of Arms, Flags, and Badges of Canada> Lois Elsa Hole". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 28 July 2016. Retrieved 10 February 2014.


External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Louis Davies Hyndman
Chancellor of the University of Alberta
Succeeded by
John Thomas Ferguson