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Violet Elizabeth Dowdeswell (née Patton, born November 9, 1944) is a Canadian bureaucrat currently serving as the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, the 29th since Canadian Confederation. She is the viceregal representative of the Queen in Right of Ontario.
Elizabeth Dowdeswell in 2017
|29th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario|
|Assumed office |
September 23, 2014
|Preceded by||David Onley|
|3rd Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme|
|Preceded by||Mostafa Kamal Tolba|
|Succeeded by||Klaus Töpfer|
Violet Elizabeth Patton
November 9, 1944
Belfast, Northern Ireland
|Alma mater||University of Saskatchewan|
Utah State University
Dowdeswell (née Patton) was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom, on November 9, 1944, and moved with her family to Canada in 1947, settling in rural Saskatchewan. Her father Desmond Granville Patton (1920–2008) was a United Church of Canada minister. Dowdeswell married at a young age but soon divorced. She attended the University of Saskatchewan and Utah State University and later became a teacher and university lecturer.
Dowdeswell left teaching and entered public service, working in Saskatchewan as deputy minister of culture and youth during the New Democratic Party government of Allan Blakeney, but was dismissed, along with other deputy ministers, after the Progressive Conservative government of Grant Devine took power in 1982.
She held various positions in the federal public service in the 1980s, working at one point as assistant deputy minister at Environment Canada with responsibility for the Atmospheric Environment Service and negotiating the Framework Convention on Climate Change. She also led a public inquiry into Canada's unemployment benefits program and federal water policy.
From 1998 to 2010, she was an adjunct professor at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health at the University of Toronto, while also serving as founding president and CEO of the Nuclear Waste Management Organization. From 2010 until her appointment at Lieutenant Governor, she was the president and CEO of the Council of Canadian Academies.
As lieutenant governorEdit
Dowdeswell was appointed lieutenant governor by Governor General David Johnston on the advice of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who selected Dowdeswell from a shortlist devised by the Advisory Committee on Vice-Regal Appointments. On September 23, 2014, she was sworn in during a ceremony held at Queen's Park in Toronto. She is the third woman to serve the position, following Pauline Mills McGibbon and Hilary Weston.
Dowdeswell declared in her installation address that she would not immediately espouse a particular area of focus during her time as lieutenant governor. Instead, she said she would engage the people of Ontario, listening to their concerns and ideas. She has since adopted sustainability and "Ontario in the world" as personal themes. In addition, Dowdeswell has called herself Ontario's unofficial "Storyteller-in-Chief".
According to annual reports published on her office's website, Dowdeswell has conducted, on average, more than 700 public engagements yearly as lieutenant governor, as well as numerous visits abroad to the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Switzerland, Germany, and Denmark.
Dowdeswell has visited all of Ontario's provincial electoral districts.
Titles, styles, honours, and awardsEdit
|Ribbon bar of Elizabeth Dowdeswell|
- May 24, 2012: Officer of the Order of Canada (OC)
- November 26, 2014: Dame of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem
- November 26, 2014 – : Vice Prior of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (while in office)
- September 23, 2014: Member of the Order of Ontario (OOnt)
- September 23, 2014 – : Chancellor of the Order of Ontario (while in office)
- June 18, 2012: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
- November 18, 2020: Louie Kamookak Medal, Royal Canadian Geographical Society
- Honorary appointments
- September 23, 2014 – : Colonel of the Regiment of The Queen's York Rangers (while in office)
- September 23, 2014: Honorary Commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police 
Dowdeswell has received several honorary degrees from various universities in Canada and Europe. These include:
- Honorary degrees
|Saskatchewan||May 25, 1994||University of Saskatchewan||Doctor of Laws (LL.D) |
|Nova Scotia||1998||Mount Saint Vincent University||Doctor of Humane Letters (DHL) |
|Ontario||Spring 1999||York University||Doctor of Laws (LL.D) |
|British Columbia||October 22, 1999||Royal Roads University|||
|Saskatchewan||Spring 2001||University of Regina|||
|Ontario||2013||University of Ontario Institute of Technology||Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) |
|Ontario||June 9, 2015||University of Western Ontario||Doctor of Laws (LL.D) |
- Queen's Printer for Ontario (2016-04-09). "Proclamation" (PDF). Ontario Gazette. 149 (15): 711. ISSN 0030-2937. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 26, 2016. Retrieved 2016-04-09.
THE HONOURABLE V. ELIZABETH DOWDESWELL LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR OF OUR PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
- "Her Honour". Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. October 1, 2014. Archived from the original on December 8, 2016. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
- "Installation address". Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. September 26, 2014. Archived from the original on January 6, 2016. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
- "New lieutenant-governor may surprise Ontarians". Toronto Star. October 1, 2014.
- "Newsroom : Biography : Elizabeth Dowdeswell". news.ontario.ca.
- Knox, Paul (1997-12-03). "WORLD BUZZ / Environmental apostle awaits the UN's nod. Toepfer tapped for UNEP". The Globe and Mail. Toronto. p. A14.
But Ms. Dowdeswell was granted only a one-year extension when her four-year term expired last Dec. 31.
- "Ontario's lieutenant-governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell to be sworn in during fall ceremony". CTV News, July 24, 2014.
- "Areas of focus". Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
- @lglizdowdeswell (22 August 2019). "As I complete my 5th year as LG, I am inspired by all who have welcomed me to their communities. Today marks my visit to all 124 ridings. Thank you for sharing the places where you work, live, and play. Your stories remind us that we should all be proud to call Ontario home" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- "Table of titles to be used in Canada". Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. June 18, 1993. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
- "OPP Mess Dinner". Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. September 24, 2014. Archived from the original on October 6, 2014. Retrieved October 1, 2014.
- Dowdeswell, Elizabeth, Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada
- "Honorary Degrees - University of Saskatchewan". library.usask.ca.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-04-20. Retrieved 2015-07-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-03-18. Retrieved 2015-05-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- adove (January 6, 2014). "Fall 1999 Convocation". www.royalroads.ca.
- "Honorary Degree Recipients - Registrar's Office, University of Regina". www.uregina.ca.
- "Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell - UOIT - Honorary degrees 2013". uoit.ca.
- University, Department of Communications and Public Affairs, Western (March 19, 2015). "Western News - Honorary degree lineup announced for 305th convocation".
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