July 1, 2020
HAPPY CANADA DAY EVERYONE!
Sir Oliver Mowat was born in Kingston, Upper Canada in 1820. Mowat was called to the bar in 1841 but had joined the law firm of John A Macdonald in 1835. Macdonald would be an ally of Mowat in forming Confederation but an adversary in determining what powers the federal government would have compared to the provinces.
Mowat attended the Quebec Conference on Confederation in 1864 where he took charge of forming the committees decisions into a legal format. He is credited with helping to write the Articles of Confederation. In 1856 Oliver Mowat purchased one of the estate lots on Jarvis Street from Samuel Jarvis and built this two story, 3 bay house in a Georgian Style.
Mowat was elected as the Premier of Ontario on October 25th 1872, a position which he held for the next 24 years. Oliver was the longest serving Premier in the history of the province winning six majority governments in a row.
The house that he built before going into politics reflects the simplicity and symmetry of design that is typical of Georgian architecture. They style always tends to put the most emphasis on the entrance and this house is no exception. Today it bears a name related to the National Ballet School which occupies it.
While serving as the Premier Oliver Mowat had to face a fellow Father of Confederation and business partner in John A Macdonald. Mowat was responsible for challenging the federal government and securing powers for the provinces. When Mowat left provincial politics he went on to a position as Leader of the Government in the Senate for 2 years. Then on November 18, 1897 he became the 8th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
The picture below shows the detailed carvings on the columns that support the entrance porch as well as below the transom window.
Oliver died on April 19, 1903 at the age of 82 while still in office as the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. Mowat was buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery.
Oliver Mowat was a significant figure in the founding of Canada and the Province of Ontario but is somehow less known than his political rival Sir John A Macdonald.
Google Maps Link: Oliver Mowat House
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