Canadian peers and baronets

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Flag of New France from 1663 to 1763
Flag of Canada from 1868 to 1921

Cardinal Richelieu introduced the Seigneurial System to New France in 1627. Almost all of the early French Canadians who came as officers in the military, or to fill important official positions within the colony, came from the ranks of the French nobility. Under the Ancien Régime, several of these men who had settled in Canada were either elevated or promoted to more senior ranks within the Peerage of France. From the early 1700s, it became customary for the Governors of New France to be given the title 'marquis'. Except for the Marquis de Vaudreuil and the Marquis de Beauharnois, most were in Canada only for a few years before returning to France and are therefore not counted as Canadians.

The Baronetage of Nova Scotia (a British hereditary title, but not a peerage) had been devised by King James VI of Scotland in 1624 as a means of settling Nova Scotia. Except for Sir Thomas Temple, almost none of them came to Nova Scotia, therefore they are counted as British, not Canadian.

Following the British Conquest of New France in 1763, the likes of Lord Amherst and Lord Dorchester were raised to the Peerage of Great Britain for their part in the taking of Canada and as Governors General of Canada, but they were not Canadians. As the colony grew under British rule both in terms of geography and economy, baronetcies began to be conferred upon various Canadian politicians, military commanders and businessmen. In 1891, Lord Mount Stephen became the first Canadian to be elevated to the Peerage of the United Kingdom. Immigration has been Canada's chief means of population growth and among the many who arrived were distant descendants of titled nobles from a variety of countries. The significant losses of the First World War included many direct heirs to titles and some replacements were found in Canada resulting in the acquisition of titles by Canadians who, as British subjects, were eligible to inherit.

After the controversial elevation of Lords Atholstan and Beaverbrook to the Peerage of the United Kingdom, the Nickle Resolution was presented to the Canadian House of Commons in 1917 requesting the Sovereign not to grant knighthoods, baronetcies or peerages to Canadians. This triggered the Canadian titles debate and led to a separate system of orders, decorations, and medals for Canada. Canadians who were granted peerages after this date had already to hold or acquire British Citizenship, such as Lord Thomson of Fleet. However, the then Canadian Citizenship Act stated that Canadians who acquired foreign citizenship by any means other than marriage would renounce their Canadian citizenship.

Canadian nobility in the aristocracy of France


Arms of the Barons de Longueuil, holders of the only current French colonial title recognized by Queen Elizabeth II


The Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal was the first Canadian-born Governor General of New France. He was a first cousin of the father of the Marquis de Lotbinière
The Marquis de Lotbinière was the first native Canadian to be elevated to a Marquisate in the Peerage of France. He was the uncle of the Vicomte de Léry; a first cousin of the Marquis de Fresnoy; and his father was a first cousin of the Marquis de Vaudreuil-Cavagnal
The Vicomte de Léry was the Canadian Engineer-in-Chief of Napoleon's Armies. He married a daughter of the Duc de Valmy and was a nephew of the Marquis de Lotbinière

Canadian nobility in the aristocracy of the United Kingdom

Peerages awarded before The Nickle Resolution

Lord Strathcona, referred to as "Uncle Donald" by King Edward VII in reference to his philanthropy. He was a first cousin of Lord Mount Stephen.
Lord Mount Stephen, the financial genius behind the creation of the Canadian Pacific Railway and a first cousin of Lord Strathcona. In 1891, he became the first Canadian to be elevated to the Peerage of the United Kingdom.
Agnes Macdonald, 1st Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe, was the only Canadian lady to be granted a peerage, in lieu of her deceased husband, Sir John A. Macdonald, the 1st Prime Minister of Canada after Confederation in 1867.
Lord Atholstan was the only Canadian Peer of the United Kingdom to have been born and lived his whole life in Canada, but his was also the most controversial of all the Canadian Peerages.



Peerages awarded after The Nickle Resolution



Life peerages

A life peerage is not an hereditary title. The title lasts as long as the recipient of the honour is alive. The recipient's children can style themselves with the prefix 'honourable' but they cannot inherit the baronial title.



Canadian baronetcies

Chief Justice Sir John Beverley Robinson, a native of Quebec, dominated the politics of Upper Canada and was the undisputed leader of the Family Compact.
General Sir William Fenwick Williams was a native of Nova Scotia who won his fame during the Crimean War and later served as Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia.
Dundurn Castle was the home built in his native Ontario by Sir Allan Napier MacNab, Premier of Canada before Confederation.
Sir William Osler was a native Canadian dubbed "the father of modern medicine". He is arguably Canada's most famous physician
Sir Vincent Meredith, a member of a notable Canadian family, was the first Canadian-born President of the Bank of Montreal, then Canada's national bank.

Although a baronet is not a peer, it is a British hereditary title and an honour that was conferred upon several Canadians.




Canadians with hereditary titles

Canadian peers by marriage

See also


  1. Rachel Grant biography at:
  2. Cokayne, George Edward (1982). The Complete Peerage of England, Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain and the United Kingdom, Extant, Extinct or Dormant. VIII. Gloucester: A. Sutton. pp. 126–7.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> originally published by the St Catherine Press Ltd, London, England from 1910–1959 in 13 volumes; reprinted in microprint, 13 volumes into 6
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  4. Famille de Juchereau de Sany-Denys, Juchereau du Chesnay/Duchesnay
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  7. 7.0 7.1 Famille de Vaudreuil
  8. Les Seigneuries de Vaudreuil et de Soulanges
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  10. 10.0 10.1 Notables of Annet-sur-Marne
  11. Napoleon's Generals
  12. 12.0 12.1 The Order of Canada: Its Origins, History, And Development By Christopher McCreery
  13. The London Gazette: no. 26192. p. 4378. 14 August 1891.
  14. The London Gazette: no. 30120. p. 5639. 8 June 1917.
  15. The London Gazette: no. 35225. p. 4213. 22 July 1941.
  16. The London Gazette: no. 56379. p. 12995. 5 November 2001.
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  20. House of Lords
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