Sir Leonard Tilley

Sir Leonard Tilley



Sir Leonard Tilley, Minister of Customs, February 1869. Tilley lived on Daly Ave at the time. (LAC MIKAN 3496705)

Tilley was an early advocate of colonial union and became a Father of Confederation representing New Brunswick. Inspired by a passage in the Bible, Tilley is credited for having come up with the term “Dominion” to describe Canada’s new federal union. A teetotaler (he had foresworn alcohol in 1837 at the age of 19), Tilley was a gentleman who was untouched by scandal and was widely respected for his honesty and competence. He was Minister of Customs and a member of Treasury Board in the Macdonald cabinet and briefly Minister of Finance. He returned to New Brunswick in 1873 as Lieutenant Governor but went back to Ottawa in1878 to become the architect of the protectionist National Policy. As Finance Minister in 1879, Tilley defended the National Policy by stating “the time has arrived when we are to decide whether we will simply be hewers of wood and drawers of water.”


Between 1868 and 1870, Tilley lived at Patterson Place on Daly Ave (between Waller St. and Cumberland St.) during which time he served as Minister of Customs, responsible for harmonizing tariffs across the new Dominion. Patterson Place was destroyed by fire in May 1873, the same fire that destroyed St Alban Terrace. The fire began at the back of the townhouse development. It caught neighbouring buildings and eventually destroyed the entire block leaving 40 families homeless.


Tilley also lived in an unidentified house on the south side of Daly Ave. between Friel  St. and Chapel St. in 1873-1874.


In the summer of 1866, Tilley asked for and received a cash contribution from the Canadian government to help him win the New Brunswick election (see capsule for Alexander Galt above)