By Ryan McGreal
Published October 19, 2012
The Honourable Lincoln MacCauley Alexander, Member of Parliamenet for Hamilton West and the 24th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, died today.
Alexander was elected to the House of Commons in 1968 for the Hamilton West riding as a member of the Progressive Conservative Party and served briefly as the Minister of Labour under Prime Minister Joe Clark before resigning in 1980 to lead the Ontario Workers Compensation Board. In 1985 he was appointed the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and served until 1991.
He received numerous accolades over his career, being recognized as the first black Member of the Canadian Parliament and the first black Lieutenant Governor in Canada.
He received the Order of Ontario in 1992 and was made a Companion of the Order of Canada. He was Chancellor of the University of Guelph, an Honourary Chief of Hamilton Police Service, an Honourary Patron of St. John Ambulance and Chair of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation.
He was also the Chair of the Ontario Heritage Trust and prepared a report for the Ontario Ministry of Culture on the Lister Building, recommending that it be recognized as "a property of cultural heritage value or interest of provincial significance" under the Heritage Act.
The Lincoln M. Alexander Parkway, a municipal expressway running east-west across the upper city, was named in his honour when it opened in 1997 - though Alexander himself never received a drivers licence.
His memoir, Go To School, You're a Little Black Boy, was published in 2006.
He married Marni Beal in July 2011, and celebrated his 90th birthday this past January. Before his death, he was Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Guelph, a member of the Ontario Heritage Trust board, a member of the Raptors Foundation and Doctors Hospital.
He was widely known and respected in Hamilton and across Canada for a lifetime of achievements and a tireless personal warmth.