ST. THOMAS, Ontario, October 1, 2010 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust unveiled a marker commemorating the gravesite of the Honourable Mitchell Frederick Hepburn, Premier of Ontario from 1934 to 1942.
"Mitchell F. Hepburn was a charismatic politician and a gifted orator who led the province through a challenging period in its history," said Dr. Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust. "We are proud to honour his years of service with this gravesite marker."
Ontario's eleventh premier was born near St. Thomas in 1896. He was elected to federal parliament in 1926. In 1930, he accepted the leadership of the Ontario Liberals. Premier from 1934 to 1942, Hepburn was in power for the latter part of the Depression and the beginning of the Second World War. Hepburn carried out cost-saving measures and challenged Prime Minister Mackenzie King over what he felt was an apathetic war effort. In 1942, Hepburn resigned as premier, but retained his seat until 1945, when he retired to his farm. He died in 1953.
"Many innovations were introduced in Ontario during Hepburn's premiership," said Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Chan. "Through his efforts, the province saw changes ranging from improvements to highways and hydro service to an overhauled pension system."
The Premiers' Gravesites Program honours Ontario's former premiers and their service to Ontario by marking their gravesites. Specially designed bronze markers inscribed with the individual premier's name and dates of service are installed at each gravesite, along with flagpoles flying the Ontario flag, where possible.
This program is administered by the Ontario Heritage Trust with funding support from the Government of Ontario. The Trust is an agency of the government dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage for the benefit of present and future generations. The Ontario Heritage Trust also administers Doors Open Ontario. From April to October each year, communities open the doors to some of their most intriguing and charming heritage sites. Admission is free. Doors Open St. Thomas runs October 2-3, while Doors Open Port Stanley-Sparta runs October 2, 2010. Visit www.doorsopenontario.on.ca for event details.
...Eighteen premiers will be commemorated through the Premiers' Gravesites Program.
...This is the 11th marker to be unveiled through the program since it began in 2008.
For more information on the Premiers' Gravesites Program, visit www.heritagetrust.on.ca.