John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll … Canada’s gay governor general?

The Marquess of Lorne, 4th Governor General of Canada.
The Marquess of Lorne, 4th Governor General of Canada.

John George Edward Henry Douglas Sutherland Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll KG KT GCMG GCVO VD PC (6 August 1845 – 2 May 1914), usually better known by the courtesy title Marquess of Lorne, by which he was known between 1847 and 1900, was a British nobleman and was the fourth Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883. He is now remembered primarily for the place names bestowed on Canadian geography in honour of his wife and for his metrical paraphrase of Psalm 121, “Unto the hills around do I lift up”.

He was born in London, the eldest son of George, Marquess of Lorne and the former Lady Elizabeth Sutherland-Leveson-Gower, daughter of the 2nd Duke of Sutherland, and was styled Earl of Campbell from birth. In 1847, when he was 21 months old, his father succeeded as 8th Duke of Argyll and he assumed the courtesy title Marquess of Lorne, which he bore until he was 54. He was educated at Edinburgh Academy, Eton, St Andrews and at Trinity College, Cambridge, as well as at the National Art Training School.

For ten years before coming to Canada, Campbell travelled throughout North and Central America, writing travel literature and poetry. In the UK, he represented, from 1868, the constituency of Argyllshire as a Liberal Member of Parliament in the House of Commons. He made little impression there, however; the London World referred to Campbell as “a non-entity in the House of Commons, and a non-entity without.”

The Marquess of Lorne and Princess Louise.
The Marquess of Lorne and Princess Louise.

Campbell married Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, Princess Louise, on 21 March 1871. This was the first time a daughter of the sovereign had married a subject of the Crown since 1515, when Charles Brandon, the first Duke of Suffolk, married Mary Tudor. The pair shared a common love of the arts, but tended to live apart and never had children. Further, Campbell formed close friendships with men who were rumoured to be homosexually inclined, which raised questions about Campbell’s marriage and fuelled rumours around London that Campbell was bisexual, if not largely homosexual in predisposition.

When Lord Lorne’s appointment was announced, there was great excitement throughout Canada. For the first time, Rideau Hall would have a royal resident. The Canadian Prime Minister relaxed his busy campaign schedule to prepare for her arrival and to organize a special carriage and corps of guards to protect the Princess. An author wrote in 1880 that “the appointment was hailed with satisfaction in all parts of the Dominion, and the new Governor General entered upon his term of office with the hearts of the people strongly prepossessed [sic] in his favour.” However, Campbell and his wife were initially not received well by the Canadian press, which complained about the imposition of royalty on the country’s hitherto un-regal society, a position that was only exasperated by mishaps and misunderstandings. The worries of a rigid court at the Queen’s Canadian residence turned out to be unfounded: the royal couple were found to be more relaxed than their predecessors, as demonstrated at the many ice skating and tobogganing parties, balls, dinners, and other state occasions hosted by the Marquess and Marchioness.

At age 33, Lord Lorne was Canada’s youngest governor general, but he was not too young to handle the marginal demands of his post. He and Princess Louise made many lasting contributions to Canadian society, especially in the arts and sciences. They encouraged the establishment of the Royal Society of Canada, the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts, and the National Gallery of Canada, even selecting some of its first paintings. Campbell was also involved in the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway and other projects, such as a hospital for British Columbia. In addition to acting as a patron of arts and letters in Canada, Lorne was the author of many books of prose and poetry. His writings show a deep appreciation of Canada’s physical beauty.

Throughout his term of office, Lorne was intensely interested in Canada and Canadians. He travelled throughout the country encouraging the establishment of numerous institutions, and met with members of Canada’s First Nations and with other Canadians from all walks of life. At Rideau Hall, he and Princess Louise hosted many social functions, including numerous ice skating and tobogganing parties as well as balls, dinners and state occasions.

Princess Louise returned to England in 1881 and Lord Lorne followed two years later in 1883, when his book, Memories of Canada and Scotland, was published. Lorne was Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle from 1892 to 1914 and he sat as MP for Manchester South from 1895 until the death of his father on 24 April 1900, when he succeeded as 9th and 2nd Duke of Argyll. He and Princess Louise lived at Kensington Palace until his death from pneumonia in 1914.

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Wayne & Shuster

The comedy kings of Canada…

Wayne and shuster - portraitsWayne and Shuster met as high school students at Harbord Collegiate Institute in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1930. They both studied at the University of Toronto, where they wrote and performed for the theatre there, and in 1941 they made their radio debut on CFRB in their own show, The Wife Preservers in which they dispensed household hints in a humorous fashion. This exposure resulted in the pair being given their own comedy show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Trans-Canada Network as Shuster & Wayne.

They enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1942, and performed for the troops in Europe during World War II as part of the Army Show (they would also later perform for the army in the Korean War). They returned to Canada to create the Wayne and Shuster Show for CBC Radio in 1946. They first performed on The Ed Sullivan Show in the United States in 1958, and set a record there by appearing 67 times over the next 11 years.

Wayne and Shuster turned down many offers to go to the U.S. permanently, preferring to remain in Toronto. (They did co-star in a CBS-TV sitcom, Holiday Lodge, which aired as a summer replacement for [and produced by] Jack Benny in 1961.)

In 1965 The Wayne & Shuster Hour won the Silver Rose at the Rose d’Or Television Festival.

Wayne and Shuster were one of Ed Sullivan's favourite comedy act -- they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show a record 67 times.
Wayne and Shuster were one of Ed Sullivan’s favourite comedy act — they appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show a record 67 times.

In 1965, the duo made a series of six short documentaries about comedians such as W. C. Fields and the Marx Brothers, titled Wayne and Shuster Take an Affectionate Look At…, which were telecast on CBS in the summer of 1966. The programs were scored by the young composer “Johnny Williams”. This series, incidentally, was the last US network prime time series to premiere in black and white (at least until the 1991 CBS retro-spoof Morton & Hayes, which also included full-colour sequences).

After having a weekly television series in the 1950s, they began a series of long-running, monthly Wayne & Shuster comedy specials on CBC Television in the early 1960s, which continued into the 1980s. They were an influence for later Canadian comedians, such as Lorne Michaels (Shuster’s son-in-law), the Royal Canadian Air Farce and The Kids in the Hall. In the late 1980s, many of their comedy skits were repackaged in half-hour chunks and syndicated around the world under the title Wayne & Shuster; the comedians filmed new introductions for the series.[citation needed]

Wayne and Shuster from one of their skits. 1965.
Wayne and Shuster from one of their skits. 1965.

After having a weekly television series in the 1950s, they began a series of long-running, monthly Wayne & Shuster comedy specials on CBC Television in the early 1960s, which continued into the 1980s. They were an influence for later Canadian comedians, such as Lorne Michaels (Shuster’s son-in-law), the Royal Canadian Air Farce and The Kids in the Hall.[citation needed] In the late 1980s, many of their comedy skits were repackaged in half-hour chunks and syndicated around the world under the title Wayne & Shuster; the comedians filmed new introductions for the series.[citation needed]

Wayne died in 1990. After his death the group received a special Gemini Award for their outstanding contribution to Canadian television.

In 1996 Shuster accepted the Margaret Collier Award for the duo comedy writing and was later named to the Order of Canada.

In 1999 Wayne and Shuster were inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame .

Having a history that dates back to their time at Harbord Collegiate Institute in 1930. Johnny Wayne and Frank Shuster were recognized with a Heritage Toronto plaque on April 27, 2012.

Source:  Wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wayne_and_Shuster

 

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The McMichael Art Collection, Kleinberg, Ontario

The collection that love put together

mcmichael - exteriorThe McMichael Canadian Art Collection is an art gallery in Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada, northwest of Toronto. It houses an extensive collection of paintings by Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, and First Nations and Inuit artists.

The core of this art collection and the very gallery itself are the result of the dreams and vision of two people. Signe and Robert McMichael were, on first sight, completely captivated by the paintings of the Group of Seven which seemed to embody the same love and respect they had for the Canadian landscape.

Robert (1921–2003) and Signe (1921–2007) were married in 1949 and worked together at Robert McMichael Studios, their wedding photography business in Toronto. During the 1950s, Robert also established a successful New York-based company called Travel Pak Limited which he eventually sold so that he could devote his full attention to the gallery.

"Pine Island" by Group of Seven artist, Tom Thompson
“Pine Island” by Group of Seven artist, Tom Thompson

In 1954, they built a four-room log house using salvaged pioneer hand-hewn logs and fieldstone on their ten acres of wooded land in Kleinburg. The following year, they purchased “Montreal River,” a small oil sketch by Lawren Harris and subsequently, Pine Island by Tom Thomson. Even though the young couple had to sacrifice and pay for these paintings in installments, in the words of Robert McMichael, “they were hooked”.

Their dream of creating a permanent art centre which celebrated Canadian art took shape long before the formal establishment of a public gallery. Their vision included Tom Thomson, the Group of Seven and their contemporaries, and Aboriginal art. Their private collection grew through astute purchases, and also through donations from other private collectors and the artists themselves who believed in what the McMichaels were trying to achieve.

By the early 1960s, the McMichaels’ personal collection had grown to the point where thousands of people a year, including local school groups, were asking to see the art collection in their home. In 1964, Robert and Signe McMichael wrote to the Honourable John Robarts, Premier of Ontario, to express their desire to donate their art collection and property to the Province of Ontario, for the benefit of all Canadians. On November 18, 1965, the formal agreement was signed which gifted 194 works of art, the buildings and land to the Province. On July 8, 1966, the McMichael Conservation Collection of Art was officially opened.

McMichael Art Collection interior gallery.
McMichael Art Collection interior gallery.

The couple also eventually acquired the Toronto shack that Thomson had lived in, moved it to their land and set about restoring the small wooden structure.

The gallery was also at the centre of some controversy in the early 1990s when the Ontario government passed an act expanding the McMichael’s mandate to contemporary art and reducing the couple’s influence on the collection.

The couple objected to the change from their original mandate — as well as some of the new, modern pieces added to the collection — and sued the province in 1995. After several bouts of legal tussling, the government passed legislation to restore the couple’s original vision in 2000.

Since it opened more than 40 years ago, the gallery’s collection has grown from the couple’s original gift of 194 works to more than 5,000. The initial log cabin has been expanded into a vast facility on a large swath of about 40hectares of conservation land that receives more than 100,000 visitors a year.

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