John Black Aird

John Black Aird, lawyer, senator, corporate director and lieutenant governor (b at Toronto 5 May 1923; d there 6 May 1995). Following graduation from Osgoode Hall Law School, Aird joined a Toronto law firm which currently bears his name.

Aird, John Black

John Black Aird, lawyer, senator, corporate director and lieutenant governor (b at Toronto 5 May 1923; d there 6 May 1995). Following graduation from Osgoode Hall Law School, Aird joined a Toronto law firm which currently bears his name. He was appointed a Liberal senator from Toronto in November 1964 and resigned from the Senate in 1974 to become the chairman of the Institute of Research on Public Policy (1974-80). He also chaired the Canadian section of the Canada-US Joint Board on Defence (1971-79).

In 1980 he was appointed lieutenant governor of Ontario. As the viceregal representative, Aird made the job more than ceremonial and he took a keen interest in the disabled, naming this work "civic humanism" and becoming an increasingly active advocate on their behalf.

It is, however, his overseeing of the transfer of power to the Liberal Party following the 1985 NDP-Liberal Accord that brought Aird into the public eye. In this task Aird ensured that his actions upheld the nonpartisan character of the lieutenant governor's office. He resigned his Queen's Park position in September 1985 and in July 1986 he succeeded George Ignatieff as chancellor of the University of Toronto, having previously served as chancellor at Wilfrid Laurier University (1977-85). Aird retired in 1991 but was named chancellor emeritus in honour of his work at the university.