Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our boy in the big leagues

British historian David Cannadine, asked to pick five books to explain the British Empire, includes Canadian writer-politician Roy MacLaren's 2004 book Commissions High, about the Canadian representatives in London.
One of the more interesting figures that he talks about is this remarkable man called Lord Strathcona, who is indeed a classic Scottish immigrant to Canada, who then makes a fortune via the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Bank of Montreal and a whole variety of other industries. He then comes back to Britain and is the Canadian High Commissioner to Britain. Lord Strathcona could have walked straight out of Devine’s book. And then there is this extraordinary patrician figure Vincent Massey, from a very grand Canadian family, who is the Canadian High Commissioner during World War II and chairs the trustees of the National Gallery in London and subsequently is the first Canadian Governor General of Canada.
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