Sir Alexander Campbell

Sir Alexander Campbell



Sir Alexander Campbell, July 1869, as Postmaster General (LAC MIKAN 3496770)

Campbell was a Father of Confederation from Canada West. Appointed to the Senate in 1867, he was Canada’s first Postmaster General (an important source of patronage at the time) and held several portfolios in Conservative governments to 1885.  He was a prominent organizer, fund-raiser and political fixer for the Conservative Party and was appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario in 1887. He was one of Macdonald’s closest friends and confidants, having articled with him in Kingston (along with Oliver Mowat, who became Premier of Ontario).

Between 1872 and 1873, Campbell lived at 108 Daly Ave., in the middle of the Varin Row, a row built in 1870 featuring Gothic drip stones, patterned brick trim, rounded windows and projecting front vestibules. In 1873, Macdonald moved Campbell from the post office and named him Superintendent General of Indian Affairs and Minister of the Interior (he remained government leader in the Senate). Although in power, the Conservative government was in a minority at that time and would be defeated in the 1874 election.

It was his patronage that enabled poet Archibald Lampman to get a job in the Post Office (Campbell’s son was a friend of Lampman), giving him the income he needed to write.

In 1883, Campbell moved to a large house at 236 Metcalfe St. that still stands.