John Black Aird

John Black Aird CC OOnt QC (May 5, 1923 May 6, 1995)[1] was the 23rd Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, Canada, from 1980 to 1985.

For others similarly named, see the John Aird navigation page
Captain (N) the Honourable

John Black Aird

Senator from Ontario
In office
November 10, 1964  November 28, 1974
Nominated byLester Pearson
23rd Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
In office
September 15, 1980  September 20, 1985
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor GeneralEdward Schreyer
Jeanne Sauvé
PremierBill Davis
Frank Miller
David Peterson
Preceded byPauline Mills McGibbon
Succeeded byLincoln Alexander
Personal details
Born(1923-05-05)May 5, 1923
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedMay 6, 1995(1995-05-06) (aged 72)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Political partyLiberal
Spouse(s)Lucille Housser

Born in Toronto, Ontario, the grandson of Canadian financier Sir John Aird, John Black Aird was educated at Upper Canada College, Trinity College and Osgoode Hall Law School. He was a Brother at the Toronto Chapter of the Alpha Delta Phi. He practised law in Toronto and headed his own firm, Aird & Berlis LLP in 1974.

Aird served as a director of several corporations. In 1958 Aird was appointed to the board of directors of Callaghan Mining.[2] Aird later served as chairman of the board of Algoma Central Railway.[3]

During World War II, he served in the Royal Canadian Naval Volunteer Reserve. In 1944, he married Lucille Housser. From 1964 to 1974, he served as a Liberal Senator. In 1971, he was 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, and served as Lieutenant-Governor 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 the 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.


In 1983 Algoma Central launched a ship named the John B. Aird.[3] 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.[4] He was made an Honorary Senior Fellow of Renison University College in 1985.[5]

Aird was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 1987 and in 1993 he was promoted to Companion in the Order of Canada. He died in Toronto in 1995.

Aird was Governor of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society.[6]


  1. "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.
  2. "Callahan Mining Adds A Lawyer to Its Board". New York Times. 1958-10-02. Retrieved 2013-05-31. John B. Aird The election of John B. Aird as a director of the Callahan Mining Corporat!on has been announced by Joseph T. Hall, president, He succeed the ...
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  6. "John B. Aird: Society governor was former lieutenant-governor of Ontario". Canadian Geographic Journal. July 1995. Retrieved 2013-05-31.
Academic offices
Preceded by
Paul Joseph Martin
Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University
Succeeded by
Maureen Forrester
Preceded by
George Ignatieff
Chancellor of the University of Toronto
Succeeded by
Rose Wolfe
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