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Former premier of Ontario William Davis dead at 92


Former premier of Ontario, William Davis, died Sunday morning in Brampton, according to a release issued by his family. He was 92.

“It is with immense sadness and deep gratitude for his remarkable life as a husband, father, brother, grandfather of twelve and great grandfather of three, that we announce the passing, in his beloved home town of Brampton, the morning of August 8, 2021, of the Hon William G Davis, the eighteenth Premier of Ontario,” the release stated.

“After spending much family time in his favourite of all places, his cottage in Georgian Bay, he died of natural causes … surrounded by members of his family.”

Davis served as the 18th premier of Ontario from 1971 to 1985, taking over the position from the late John Robarts, and overseeing the final 14 years of a 42-year period where the Progressive Conservatives led the province.

He was first elected to the Ontario legislature in 1959, serving as education minister and universities minister before being becoming premier.

On Sunday afternoon, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took to Twitter to comment on Davis' passing.

"The former Premier of Ontario leaves behind an incredible legacy of service - and I have no doubt that the impact of his work will be felt for generations to come," Trudeau wrote.

Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown also issued a statement Sunday morning, saying he was heart broken to hear the news.

"He was our most beloved resident in Brampton, Ontario’s most successful Premier and the definition of decency. His legacy is one of profound accomplishment & he will be missed greatly," Brown said.

"We wouldn’t have a Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms if it wasn’t for Bill Davis’ patriotism and willingness to put partisanship aside for the good of Canada."

Toronto Mayor John Tory has said that the City of Toronto will lower flags at City Hall and other municipal buildings to honour Davis' life. 

"To me, he was always Premier Davis, but he was also my one-time boss, a law firm colleague and most of all a friend and mentor through most of my life," Tory said Sunday morning.

"In all of those roles and many more including most importantly as a husband, father and grandfather, the same personal qualities always shone through: decency, integrity, balance, and he was a very proud Canadian."

Current Ontario premier Doug Ford echoed Tory's statement later on Sunday, adding that flags across the province will be flown at half-mast to commemorate Davis.

"I would also like to thank [Davis' family] for sharing Bill Davis with Ontario for so many years. We are better for it, and he will be deeply missed by all," Ford said in a statement issued by his office.

According to the release, a private family funeral will be held, followed at a later date by a subsequent public celebration of life.

-With files from CP24's Chris Herhalt Top Stories

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