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Warm words from a northern neighbor ... A letter to Jane Floy Mather from Mrs. Vincent Massey

In 1926, Canada’s Governor-General appointed Vincent Massey to be Canadian envoy to the United States, making Massey Canada’s first ever envoy with full diplomatic credent-ials to a foreign capital. Massey himself would become the first Canadian-born individual to serve as Governor-General (1952-1959.)

 

Upon learning of Stephen Mather’s illness in 1929, Vincent’s wife, Alice, wrote to Jane Mather.  In part she wrote…

 

“We shall long remember the pleasure we had in having you both here to dine with us—and you know how full of admiration my husband and I were for the amazing work he did for the National Parks of this country…”

 

Canada, like the United States, has endeavored to preserve its nation’s natural beauty with National Parks, the oldest being Banff (1885) and the newest, Thaidene Nene (2019.)  The United States’ Glacier National Park borders Canada’s Waterton Lakes National Park together comprising the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park, dedicated in 1932. 

 

Alice Parkin Massey (1879-1950) 

During World War II, Alice became involved in organizations to assist Canadian service personnel in England, including a medical hospice for injured Canadian servicemen.  She served as a member of the St. John Ambulance Brigade through World War II and maintained her connection with St. John Ambulance until her death.

 

Charles Vincent Massey (1887-1967)

After serving as envoy, Massey was named high commissioner to Britain, a post he held until 1946. He was the Canadian delegate to the League of Nations in 1936, trustee of the National Gallery and the Tate Gallery from 1941 to 1945, and chair of the Tate from 1943 to 1945. Massey’s term as governor general was extended twice.  During his time in office, Massey promoted Canadian unity and identity and praised the country’s cultural diversity. When more conventional means of transport couldn’t reach his destinations, Massey often journeyed by canoe and dog team in his travels across Canada.




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