timeline

Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Sir Wilfrid Laurier, prime minister of Canada 1896–1911, lawyer, journalist, politician (born 20 November 1841 in St-Lin, Canada East; died 17 February 1919 in Ottawa, ON ). As leader of the Liberal Party 1887–1919 and prime minister 1896–1911, Laurier was the dominant political figure of his era.

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 1841-1919

November 20, 1841

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Campaigning

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Birth of Wilfrid Laurier

Prime minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier, who was the first French Canadian prime minister and who held the longest unbroken tenure as PM, was born at St-Lin, Canada East.

July 01, 1867

Western Settlement

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Canada Comes Into Existence

The Dominion of Canada came into existence, consisting of Ontario, Québec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

May 13, 1868

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Wilfrid Laurier Marries

Wilfrid Laurier married Zoé Lafontaine in Montréal. The marriage was almost not to be. Laurier left Montréal for health reasons, thinking he had tuberculosis. Lafontaine began to see another man, planning to marry him. Laurier returned, learned he was not tubercular and rushed to see Lafontaine. They married that night.

November 16, 1885

Louis Riel Trial

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Louis Riel Hanged

Louis Riel was hanged for treason at the Regina jail. He had been convicted after a trial held in Regina from 28 July to 1 August. Macdonald's refusal to grant leniency made Riel a symbol of English-Canadian oppression.

June 07, 1887

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Laurier Chosen Leader

Wilfrid Laurier was chosen leader of the Liberal opposition in Parliament, succeeding Edward Blake.

June 23, 1896

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Campaigning

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Liberal Victory, Laurier PM

In the federal election, the Liberals defeated the Conservatives with 118 seats to 88. Wilfrid Laurier became Canada's first French-Canadian prime minister and marked a turning point in Canadian politics after years of Conservative Party rule.

October 18, 1899

Henri Bourassa, publisher

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Bourassa Resigns

Henri Bourassa resigned his seat in Parliament to protest Canada's involvement in a British colonial war (the South African War).

October 30, 1899

Battle of Paardeberg

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

First Canadians to South Africa

The first Canadian troops (2nd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment, with 57 officers and 1224 men commanded by W.D. Otter) set sail from Québec for South Africa.

January 21, 1900

Battle of Paardeberg

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

More Canadians to South Africa

A second contingent of Canadian troops sailed for South Africa to fight in the Boer War.

November 07, 1900

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Campaigning

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Liberals Hold Power 1900

In the federal election, the Liberals were sustained in power, with 132 seats to the Conservatives' 81. Laurier remained prime minister.

September 16, 1901

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Duke and Duchess Visit Québec

The Duke and Duchess of York visited Québec City and were welcomed by Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier and Québec Premier Simon-Napoléon Parent.

May 24, 1902

Queen Victoria Statue

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

First Victoria Day

The first Victoria Day was observed throughout Canada. PM Wilfrid Laurier designated the holiday to fall on the birthday of Queen Victoria.

May 31, 1902

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

South African War Ends

The Boer War between Britain and the Boer states ended with the treaty signed at the South African town of Vereeniging.

December 18, 1902

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Ministerial Conference

Prime Minister Wilfrid Laurier arrived at Québec City to attend a ministerial conference. Premier and city mayor Simon Napoléon-Parent was particularly interested in addressing the matter of trans-Canadian railways.

October 20, 1903

Alaska Boundary Dispute

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Alaska Boundary Dispute

Settlement of the Alaska-Canada boundary dispute established the Alaska-Canada border as it is today. The border denied Canada access to the sea in both northern BC and the Yukon.

November 03, 1904

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Campaigning

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Liberals Retain Power 1904

In a federal election, the Liberals maintained power, with 139 seats to the Conservatives' 75. Laurier remained prime minister.

July 18, 1905

Western Settlement

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Dominion Act

The Dominion Act created the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan, effective September 1. Regina and Edmonton, respectively, became the capitals on July 20.

September 01, 1905

Laurier, 1905

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Alberta and Saskatchewan Become Provinces

Alberta and Saskatchewan entered Canada as the 8th and 9th provinces by two federal Acts which received royal assent on 20 July. Alberta's boundary with Saskatchewan was set at 110°, though Albertans wanted 107°. The Acts (Autonomy Bills) declared that the West was to have non-denominational schools.

November 24, 1905

Canadian Northern Pioneer

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Canadian Northern Completed

The Canadian Northern Railway was completed to Edmonton.

May 17, 1906

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Grand Trunk Pacific Railway Begun

Construction on the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway began at Prince Rupert with the construction of a tool shed and the erection of tents as accommodation.

October 26, 1908

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Campaigning

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Liberals Retain Power 1908

In a federal election, the Liberals remained in power with 133 seats to the Conservatives' 75. Laurier remained prime minister.

May 04, 1910

Battle of the Atlantic

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Naval Service Act

The Canadian Navy began as the Canadian Naval Service when the Naval Service Act was passed. Canada has sent over 850 warships to sea since its creation.

August 15, 1910

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Vancouver Exhibition Opens

The Vancouver Exhibition (now Pacific National Exhibition) opened to the public for the first time. PM Wilfrid Laurier presided over the official opening on August 16.

September 21, 1911

Sir Robert Borden

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Conservatives Back in Power

In a federal election, the Conservatives under Robert Borden's leadership returned to power, winning 133 seats to the Liberals' 86. Laurier's Liberals had been in power since 1896. The election was a defeat for the Liberals' policy of free trade.

October 11, 1911

Sir Robert Borden

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Borden Becomes Prime Minister

Robert Borden became prime minister, ending Laurier's 15-year rule.

November 17, 1913

National Transcontinental Railway

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

National Transcontinental Complete

The last spike was driven on the National Transcontinental Railway, which had begun work in 1903 and ran from Winnipeg, via Sioux Lookout, Kapuskasing, Cochrane and Québec City, to Moncton, NB.

April 07, 1914

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Grand Trunk Pacific Completed

The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway was completed to Nechako, BC. The first train arrived at Prince Rupert on April 9.

August 04, 1914

First Soldiers Leaving

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Canada and Newfoundland Enter the First World War

After Britain’s ultimatum to Germany to withdraw its army from Belgium expires at midnight on the third, the British government declares war on Germany the next day. As dominions of the British Empire, Canada and Newfoundland are also at war.

January 23, 1915

Canadian Northern Railway

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Canadian Northern Railway

The last spike was driven on the Canadian Northern Railway at Basque, BC.

May 18, 1917

Borden, Sir Robert Laird

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Borden Announces Conscription

Sir Robert Borden announced his decision in Parliament to implement Conscription. The imposition of conscription on reluctant French Canadians was a failure and bitterly divided the country along French-English lines.

August 29, 1917

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Military Service Act

The Military Service Act was passed, making most male British subjects up to 45 years of age liable for active military service (Conscription).

March 28, 1918

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Anti-conscription Riots

Anti-conscription riots began in Québec City.

November 11, 1918

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Armistice

The Armistice with Germany ended First World War. A total of 628,562 Canadians served in the Canadian armed forces, including 424,589 who went overseas; 60,661 were killed.

February 17, 1919

Sir Wilfrid Laurier Campaigning

Sir Wilfrid Laurier 

Death of Laurier

Sir Wilfrid Laurier died at Ottawa.