Robert Laird Borden, a lawyer and politician, became Canada’s eighth Prime Minister in 1911 and was in office until 1920. He was elected as head of the Conservative Party in 1901. He was actually a member of three political parties – Liberal (1867-1891), Conservative (1891-1917, 1922-1937) and Unionist (1917-1922). Borden led Canada through World War I, supported conscription, a controversial issue at the time, and played a dominant role in the Treaty of Versailles.
Of all the prime ministers pictured on Canadian money, I am the least familiar with Robert Borden. However, my research for this post has piqued my interest enough to do some more reading about him, a biography, of course. (You know me – any excuse to visit the library.) But I will share some facts about his life that I found interesting:
- born June 26, 1854; died June 10, 1937
- appeared on the $100 bill in 1976; scheduled to be removed from Canadian currency
- in 1915 he became the last Canadian prime minister to be knighted
- three schools are named after him, two in Ontario and one in his home province of Nova Scotia
- he married Laura Bond in 1889
He retired from politics in 1920 but remained active until his death in 1937. He was the Chancellor of Queen’s University (1924-1930), vice-president of The Champlain Society (1923-1925) and president of Barclays Bank of Canada and the Crown Life Insurance Company.