Public invited to pay tribute to Lincoln Alexander
Published Monday, October 22, 2012 10:03AM EDT
Last Updated Monday, October 22, 2012 10:22AM EDT
Members of the public are invited to pay their respects today, as the body of former Ontario lieutenant-governor Lincoln Alexander lies in state at Queen's Park in Toronto.
Alexander's flag-draped coffin arrived at the Ontario legislature in downtown Toronto Sunday afternoon, where he was remembered by Premier Dalton McGuinty, Lt.-Gov. David Onley and other MPPs before the public was allowed to file past in the evening.
The doors were opened to the public again at 8 a.m. Monday morning. Anyone interested in visiting, or signing a book of condolences for the pioneering public figure can do so at the legislature's main building until 8 p.m.
After that, Alexander will be transported to his hometown of Hamilton where he will lie in repose at City Hall from Tuesday until Thursday.
A state funeral for Alexander is set for Friday, at the downtown Hamilton Place, exactly one week after he died at the age of 90.
Born in Toronto to West Indian immigrant parents, Alexander served with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War as a wireless operator.
He entered federal politics in 1968, after being elected as a Conservative MP for Hamilton, becoming the first black member of Parliament in Canada.
He was re-elected three times, in 1972, 1979 and 1980 and served as Minister of Labour during Joe Clark’s nine-month term as prime minister that ended in 1980.
Five years later, he was appointed Ontario’s 24th lieutenant governor, a post he held onto until 1991.
The following year, Alexander was appointed a Companion of the Order of Canada and was also named to the Order of Ontario.
Jason Kipps, Alexander's stepson, said his stepfather will be remembered as a "friendly guy” who was a trailblazer for his community.
"I think he made a significant contribution to this province and this country," Kipps said Sunday. "He was an inspiration for a lot of people and I think that will live on."
Alexander is survived by his wife Marni, son Keith, and two granddaughters, Erika and Marissa.