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Robarts in 1960
|17th Premier of Ontario|
November 8, 1961 –March 1, 1971
|Lieutenant Governor|| John Keiller MacKay |
William Earl Rowe
William Ross Macdonald
|Preceded by||Leslie Frost|
|Succeeded by||Bill Davis|
|Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario|
June 9, 1955 –October 21, 1971
|Preceded by||New riding|
|Succeeded by||Gordon Walker|
November 22, 1951 –June 9, 1955
|Preceded by||Campbell Calder|
|Succeeded by||Riding abolished|
John Parmenter Robarts
January 11, 1917
Banff, Alberta, Canada
|Died||October 18, 1982 65) (aged|
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
|Resting place||St. James Cemetery|
|Political party||Progressive Conservative|
|Children||Timothy (1956–1977), Robin Hollis Jeffrey (1953–2010)|
|Alma mater|| University of Western Ontario |
Osgoode Hall Law School
|Cabinet||Minister without portfolio (1958-1959)|
|Branch/service||Royal Canadian Navy|
|Years of service||1942–1945|
John Parmenter Robarts, – October 18, 1982) was a Canadian lawyer and statesman who served as the 17th premier of Ontario for nearly a decade, from November 8, 1961, to March 1, 1971.(January 11, 1917
Robarts was born in Banff, Alberta, making him the only Ontario premier not to have been born in Ontario. As a young man, he moved to London, Ontario, with his family, where he studied at Central Collegiate (today, London Central Secondary School) and at the University of Western Ontario (UWO) in business administration. While attending UWO, he joined the Delta Upsilon fraternity.
Robarts enrolled to study law at Osgoode Hall Law School, but his education was interrupted by service with the Royal Canadian Navy during World War II. He served as an officer on HMCS Uganda. After the war, he returned to law school and graduated in 1948.
Robarts practiced law in London, Ontario, and was elected to city council in 1948. In 1951, he was elected as a member of provincial parliament (MPP) to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, as a Progressive Conservative (PC) from the city. In that era, MPPs not in cabinet were essentially working part-time due to relatively light legislative duties. Robarts commuted by train from the Queen's Park legislature in Toronto–the provincial capital–to his family and law practice in London, effectively combining his legislative work with his legal career. His wife Norah disliked Toronto and remained at home in London for most of their marriage. The couple raised two children.
He entered the cabinet of Leslie Frost in 1958 as minister without portfolio, and was promoted to minister of education in 1959. The province was in the midst of a major building phase with its education system, to accommodate an enormous increase in enrollment following the Baby Boomer generation of the post-World War II era, and Robarts played an important role as education minister, with the establishment of new institutions such as York University.
In 1961, Robarts became the 17th premier of Ontario, and served in that capacity until 1971. He was an advocate of individual freedoms, and promoted the rights of the provinces against the centralizing initiatives of the federal government. He also promoted national unity against Quebec separatism, and hosted the 1967 "Confederation of Tomorrow" conference in Toronto in an unsuccessful attempt to achieve an agreement for a new Constitution of Canada.
He initially opposed Canadian Medicare when it was proposed, but later endorsed it fully following New Democratic Party (NDP) candidate Kenneth Bolton's upset by-election victory on the issue in the London-area riding of Middlesex South.
As a civil libertarian, and a strong believer in the promotion of both official languages, Robarts opened the door to French language education in Ontario schools. In 1972 he was made a Companion of the Order of Canada.
Nicknamed "the Chairman of the Board" during his tenure, Robarts is remembered for his steps to promote and improve education, he was responsible for the construction of five new universities including York University, the establishment of the Ontario Science Centre and Ontario Place, the creation of numerous teacher's colleges, the creation of the community college system, the GO Transit commuter rail system, introducing nuclear power to Ontario's electricity grid, and launching the Ontario Scholar fund for high school students graduating with an A average.
After retiring from office, Robarts co-chaired the Task Force on Canadian Unity with Jean-Luc Pépin, and joined a Toronto law firm as well as the boards of directors of several major corporations.
He served as chancellor of UWO from 1971 to 1976. He served as chancellor of York University from 1977 to 1982.
Robarts and his wife divorced in the early seventies and he remarried to a woman 28 years his junior.
Robarts committed suicide on October 18, 1982. He had been suffering from depression as a result of both the 1977 suicide of his son, Timothy, and a series of debilitating strokes.
He is buried in St. James Cemetery in Toronto.
The Robarts Centre for Canadian Studies at York University was founded in 1982 in his name. The John P. Robarts Research Institute (renamed The Robarts Research Institute in 2005) at the University of Western Ontario was officially opened in 1986. Also in London is the Robarts School for the Deaf, and the John P. Robarts elementary school. The 14-storey John P. Robarts Research Library at the University of Toronto is also named in his honour.
University of Western Ontario professor A. K. McDougall authored the first full-length biography: Robarts, in 1985. Steve Paikin wrote a biography, Public Triumph, Private Tragedy: The Double Life of John P. Robarts (Viking, 2005).
William Grenville Davis, is a Canadian former politician who served as the 18th Premier of Ontario from 1971 to 1985. Davis was first elected as the MPP for Peel in the 1959 provincial election where he was a backbencher in Leslie Frost's government. Under John Robarts, he was minister of education. He succeeded Robarts as Premier of Ontario and held the position until resigning in 1985.
Steven Hillel Paikin is a Canadian journalist, author, and documentary producer. Paikin has primarily worked for TVOntario (TVO), Ontario's public broadcaster, and is anchor of TVO's flagship current affairs program The Agenda with Steve Paikin.
Frank Stuart Miller,, was a Canadian politician, who served as the 19th Premier of Ontario for four months in 1985. He was elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in 1971 as a Progressive Conservative member of the central Ontario riding of Muskoka. He served in the cabinet of Premier Bill Davis in several portfolios including Minister of Health and Minister of Natural Resources. He also served five years as the Treasurer of Ontario.
Robert Stanley Kemp Welch, was a Canadian politician. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1963 to 1985 as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party, and was a cabinet minister in the governments of John Robarts, Bill Davis and Frank Miller.
Robert William Macaulay was a Canadian politician.
Matthew Bulloch Dymond, was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1955 to 1975 who represented the riding of Ontario. He served as a cabinet minister in the governments of Leslie Frost and John Robarts.
Gordon Francis Joseph Osbaldeston, was a former Canadian civil servant.
Frederick McIntosh (Fred) Cass Q.C. was a Canadian politician who served as both Attorney-General of Ontario and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly. He served as a Progressive Conservative Member of Provincial Parliament from 1955 until his retirement in 1971. Cass served in the Canadian Armed Forces from 1941 to 1945.
Allan Edward Reuter was a Canadian politician and Speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 1970s.
Arthur Allison Wishart, was a politician and in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1963 to 1971. He was a Progressive Conservative member who served in the cabinets of John Robarts and Bill Davis.
John Howard White was a Progressive Conservative cabinet minister in Ontario, Canada, and Member of Provincial Parliament for London South from 1959 to 1975. He served as provincial treasurer from January 1973 to January 1975.
Thomas Leonard "Tom" Wells was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He served in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party from 1963 to 1985 and was a cabinet minister in the governments of John Robarts and William Davis. There is also a school in Scarborough,Ontario named after him.
London North was a provincial electoral district in Ontario, Canada. It was first created for the 1926 provincial election when the London riding was divided in two sections, and then eliminated prior to the 1934 provincial election when the city was re-configured as a single seat. London North was re-established for the 1955 provincial election and retained until 1999, when most of its territory was integrated into the new riding of London North Centre.
Henry Leslie Rowntree was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1956 to 1971. He represented the riding of York West. He served as a cabinet minister in the governments of Leslie Frost and John Robarts.
Edward Arunah Dunlop, was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1963 to 1971 who represented the Toronto ridings of Forest Hill and then York-Forest Hill. He briefly served as a cabinet minister in the government of Bill Davis.
Joseph Roméo Fernand Guindon was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1957 to 1974 who represented the ridings of Glengarry and then Stormont. He served as a cabinet minister in the governments John Robarts and Bill Davis.
Dalton Arthur Bales was a politician in Ontario, Canada. He was a Progressive Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1963 to 1975 who represented the riding of York Mills. He was a cabinet minister in the governments of John Robarts and Bill Davis.
Margaret Renwick, was a politician in Ontario, Canada. She was a New Democratic member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario from 1967 to 1971 who represented the riding of Scarborough Centre.
Stephen Francis Lecce is a Canadian politician. He is a member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario and the current Minister of Education. Prior to his appointment to cabinet, he served as the Deputy Government House Leader and as the Parliamentary Assistant to Minister of Infrastructure Monte McNaughton and to Premier Doug Ford.
Roman Baber is a Member of Provincial Parliament, elected to the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in the 2018 provincial election. He represents the riding of York Centre as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario. He currently serves as Chair of the 42nd Parliament's Standing Committee on Justice Policy.
|Ontario Provincial Government of Leslie Frost|
|Cabinet post (1)|
|William James Dunlop|| Minister of Education |
| Chancellor of the University of Western Ontario |
J. Allyn Taylor
Walter L. Gordon
| Chancellor of York University |
John S. Proctor