Heads of State of Canada

The reigning British monarch is Canada’s legal head of state. The governor general is the acting, or de facto, head of state.

Monarchs

The monarch is a member of the House of Windsor, a family believed to have been chosen by God to rule the United Kingdom and various other countries. When the current monarch dies or resigns, the oldest son or daughter of the monarch usually takes over. Further details are spelled out in the Act of Settlement. See also the current line of succession.

Monarch
Reign
Length
BORN/DIED
Queen Victoria
Jun 20, 1837 - Jan 22, 1901
63 years
1819 - 1901
King Edward VII
Jan 22, 1901 - May 6, 1910
9 years
1841 - 1910
King George V
May 6, 1910 - Jan 20, 1936
25 years
1865 - 1936
King Edward VIII
Jan 20, 1936 - Dec 11, 1936
10 months
1894 - 1972
King George VI
Dec 11, 1936 - Feb 6, 1952
15 years
1895 - 1952
Queen Elizabeth II
Feb 6, 1952 -
64+ years
1926 -

“Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom, Canada and Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.”

The official title of the current Head of State of Canada, according to Canada's Royal Style and Titles Act.

Governors General of Canada (British, 1867-1952)

Men who held the modern-day office of Governor General of Canada during the period in which they were British aristocrats appointed by the British government. For British governors of Canada before 1867, see the data chapter on colonial rulers of Canada.

Name
Title
Tenure
Born/Died
Charles Stanley Monck
4th Viscount Monck of Ballytrammon
Jul 1, 1867 - Nov 14, 1868
1819 - 1894
Charles Ashe Windham (acting)
none
Nov 14, 1868 - Feb 2, 1869
1810 - 1870
John Young
1st Baron Lisgar of Lisgar and Balieborough
Feb 2, 1869 - Jun 22, 1872
1807 - 1876
Charles Hastings Doyle (acting)
none
Jun 22, 1872 - Jun 25, 1872
1804 - 1883
Frederick Temple Hamilton-Temple-Blackwood
1st Earl of Dufferin
Jun 25, 1872 - Nov 25, 1878
1826 - 1902
John Douglas Sutherland-Campbell
Marquis of Lorne
Nov 25, 1878 - Oct 23, 1883
1845 - 1914
Henry Petty-Fitzmaurice
5th Marquis of Landsdowne
Oct 23, 1883 - Jun 11, 1888
1845 - 1927
Frederick Arthur Stanley
1st Baron Stanley of Preston
Jun 11, 1888 - Sep 18, 1893
1841 - 1908
John Campbell Hamilton-Gordon
7th Earl of Aberdeen
Sep 18, 1893 - Nov 12, 1898
1847 - 1934
Gilbert John Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound
4th Earl of Minto
Nov 12, 1898 - Dec 10, 1904
1845 - 1914
Albert Henry George Grey
4th Earl Grey
Dec 10, 1904 - Oct 13, 1911
1851 - 1917
Arthur William Patrick Albert
1st Duke of Connaught
Oct 13, 1911 - Nov 11, 1916
1850 - 1942
Victor Christian William Cavendish
9th Duke of Devonshire
Nov 11, 1916 - Aug 11, 1921
1868 - 1938
Julian Hedworth George Byng
1st Baron Byng of Vimy
Aug 11, 1921 - Oct 2, 1926
1862 - 1935
Freeman Freeman-Thomas
1st Viscount Willingdon of Ratton
Oct 2, 1926 - Jan 14, 1931
1866 - 1941
Lyman Poore Duff (acting)
none
Jan 14, 1931 - Apr 4, 1931
1865 - 1955
Vere Brabazon Ponsonby
9th Earl of Bessborough
Apr 4, 1931 - Sep 28, 1935
1880 - 1956
Duff (2nd time, acting)
Sep 28, 1935 - Nov 2, 1935
John Buchan
1st Baron Tweedsmuir of Elsfield
Nov 2, 1935 - Feb 11, 1940
1875 - 1940
Duff (3rd time, acting)
Feb 11, 1940 - Jun 21, 1940
Augustus Alexander George Cambridge
1st Earl of Athlone
Jun 21, 1940 - Apr 12, 1946
1874 - 1957
Harold Alexander
1st Viscount Alexander of Tunis
Apr 12, 1946 - Feb 28, 1952
1891 - 1969

Governors General of Canada (Canadian, 1952- )

Men and women who have held the office of Governor General of Canada since it began being filled by Canadian citizens appointed by the Prime Minister of Canada.

Name
Served
Born/Died
Appointed by
Vincent Massey
Feb 28, 1952 - Sep 15, 1959
1887 - 1967
Louis St. Laurent
Georges Vanier
Sep 15, 1959 - Mar 5, 1967
1888 - 1967
John Diefenbaker
Robert Taschereau (acting)
Mar 5, 1967 - Apr 17, 1967
1896 - 1970
(automatic succession)
Roland Michener
Apr 17, 1967 - Jan 14, 1974
1900 - 1991
Lester Pearson
Jules Legar
Jan 14, 1974 - Jan 21, 1979
1913 - 1980
Pierre Trudeau
Edward Schreyer
Jan 21, 1979 - May 14, 1984
1935 -
Pierre Trudeau
Jeanne Sauve
May 14, 1984 - Jan 29, 1990
1922 - 1993
Pierre Trudeau
Ray Hynatschen
Jan 29, 1990 - Feb 8, 1995
1934 - 2002
Brian Mulroney
Romeo LeBlanc
Feb 8, 1995 - Oct 7, 1999
1927 - 2009
Jean Chrétien
Adrienne Clarkson
Oct 7, 1999 - Sep 27, 2005
1939 -
Jean Chrétien
Michaëlle Jean
Sep 27, 2005 - Oct 1, 2010
1957 -
Paul Martin
David Johnston
Oct 1, 2010 - Oct 2, 2017
1941 -
Stephen Harper
Julie Payette
Oct 2, 2017 -
1963 -
Justin Trudeau