Born in Ireland, McGee was the longest-serving Clerk of the Privy Council, filling the position for almost 25 years exactly, from May 20, 1882, to May 5, 1907. His full title was Clerk of the Privy Council, Custodian of the State Papers and Deputy Governor to the Governor-General. He served under six prime ministers.
McGee and his family (he had three daughters and six sons) lived at 185 Daly Ave. between 1886 and 1920 (McGee then moved to 183 Wilbrod St.). The house became an apartment building before finding a new vocation as a bed and breakfast in 1984. The original property extended to Besserer St. and included stables and a tennis court at the back as well as gardens.
McGee was half-brother to Thomas D’Arcy McGee, assassinated Father of Confederation, and father of Frank McGee, one of Canada’s first hockey superstars. A member of the Ottawa Silver Seven, Frank scored 14 goals in a Stanley Cup play-off game in 1905 (against Dawson City), a record that is unlikely to be broken. Although Frank was known as “one-eyed McGee” as a result of a hockey injury, he was still accepted into the Canadian Army in World War 1 and was killed at the battle of the Somme in 1916. One of his brothers, Charles Edward, was also killed during the War.