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Alexander Tilloch Galt

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Title: Alexander Tilloch Galt  
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Subject: Charles Tupper, History of Lethbridge, Timeline of Montreal history, Charles Alexander Magrath, Fathers of Confederation
Collection: 1817 Births, 1893 Deaths, Anglophone Quebec People, Canadian Anglicans, Canadian Knights, Canadian Ministers of Finance, Canadian People of Scottish Descent, Conservative Party of Canada (1867–1942) Mps, English Emigrants to Pre-Confederation Canada, Fathers of Confederation, High Commissioners of Canada to the United Kingdom, History of Lethbridge, Knights Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George, Members of the House of Commons of Canada from Quebec, Members of the Legislative Assembly of the Province of Canada, Members of the Queen's Privy Council for Canada, People Educated at Reading School, People from Chelsea, London, Persons of National Historic Significance (Canada)
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Alexander Tilloch Galt

The Right Honourable
Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt
Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt in 1869
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Sherbrooke (Town of)
In office
Preceded by District created
Succeeded by Edward Towle Brooks
1st Canadian Minister of Finance
In office
July 1, 1867 – November 7, 1867
Prime Minister John A. Macdonald
Preceded by Office created
Succeeded by Sir John Rose, 1st Baronet
1st Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom
In office
Preceded by Position created
Succeeded by Charles Tupper
Personal details
Born (1817-09-06)September 6, 1817
Chelsea, England
Died September 19, 1893(1893-09-19) (aged 76)
Montreal, Quebec
Political party Liberal-Conservative
Relations John Galt, father

Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt GCMG PC (September 6, 1817 – September 19, 1893)[1] was a politician and a father of Canadian Confederation.

He was born in Chelsea, England, the son of Scottish novelist and colonizer, John Galt by his wife Elizabeth,[2] only daughter of Alexander Tilloch.[3][4] He was a first cousin of Sir Hugh Allan of Montreal.


  • Politics 1
  • Family 2
  • Business ventures 3
  • Legacy 4
  • Notes 5
  • References 6


He was a member of the John A. Macdonald be asked to become co-leaders of the new government.[3]

In return, Cartier and Macdonald asked him to become Inspector-General of Canada. He accepted the post on the condition that Macdonald and Cartier made Confederation a key platform in their new government. In 1858, Alexander Tilloch Galt made a motion in the Legislature at Kingston recommending that the Province of Canada ask the British Government to create a federal union of British Empire.

As Inspector General, Galt reformed the Province of Canada's banking system trade policies. He was the main architect of the Cayley-Galt Tariff, which protected colonial businesses and caused consternation in both Britain and the United States.[5]

July 1, 1867, Canada East and West, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia became the first provinces in British North America to form the Dominion of Canada. Galt served as the first Minister of Finance in the new confederation. As minister of Finance, he reversed many of his earlier policies, promoting trade within the British Empire. Following a strong disagreement with Macdonald and Cartier concerning the fate of the Commercial Bank of Canada, Galt resigned from government. He continued to sit as an MP until 1872.[6]

Nevertheless, Galt remained an important figure in Canadian business and politics. In 1877, The British appointed him as their representative in the Halifax Fisheries Commission concerning American fishing rights in Canadian waters. Following a rapprochement with the re-elected Macdonald, Galt was sent to London to be Canada's informal representative there. As this was the only important office of the Canadian government overseas at the time, he also travelled to France and Spain to negotiate trade deal with those nations. The British government knew of these trips and was not pleased that Canada had developed a foreign policy separate from the Empire. The British demanded that Galt's position be formalized, and in late 1880, he became the first Canadian High Commissioner in London.[3][5] He left his post on 1 June 1883.[7]

Today, Sir Galt has a street named after him. Avenue Galt in the borough of Verdun, Quebec in the city of Montreal where he had lands [8]


The Galt house on Simpson Street in the Golden Square Mile at Montreal

On February 9, 1848, Galt married Elliott Torrance, the daughter of John Torrance, of Saint-Antoine Hall, Montreal. She died on May 25, 1850, shortly after giving birth to their only son, Elliott. Later he married her younger sister, Amy Gordon Torrance. Amy gave birth to 7 daughters and 2 more sons. They lived in Montreal at their house within the Golden Square Mile, which Galt built in about 1860. Galt appears to have had a very non-sectarian approach to religious faith and although the grandson of a Calvinist theologian, Alexander Galt supported both the Methodist and Anglican churches while his wife, Amy, was a lifelong Presbyterian.[5]

Business ventures

Sir Alexander Galt and his son Elliott Torrance Galt co-founded the city of Lethbridge, Alberta in 1883, when he established a coal mine on the banks of the Oldman River in the southwest portion of the District of Alberta, Northwest Territories. The Canadian Post Office refused to accept the name Lethbridge for the community in the Dominion of Canada. Sir ed to the prairie level from the river valley. Canada's Governor General, the Marquess of Landsdowne, demonstrated the Dominion government's support of the Galt enterprises, by opening the Galts' railway in September 1885 in Lethbridge.[3][5]

Galt's company, the North Western Coal and Navigation Company went through a variety of name changes as it moved into railways, and irrigation enterprises. Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Laurier dedicated the Galt Hospital addition, which houses the Galt Museum, in 1910.[3][5]


A public park and a museum (formerly a hospital) in Lethbridge are named after him.

Galt was the founding president of The Guarantee Company of North America in 1872, providing fidelity bonds to guarantee the sty of employees of railroads and government, which still exists today as the largest provider of surety bonds in all of Canada in public works and government services.

Alexander Galt is interred in the Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal, Quebec. In Lennoxville, Quebec, the Alexander Galt High School was named in his honour.

He was portrayed by Patrick McKenna in the 2011 CBC Television film John A.: Birth of a Country.


  1. ^ MARGARET E. MCCALLUM. "Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt".  
  2. ^ Jean-Pierre Kesteman. "GALT, Sir ALEXANDER TILLOCH". University of Toronto/Université Laval. Retrieved October 2, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Skelton, Oscar (1920). The Life and Times of Alexander Tilloch Galt. Oxford University Press. 
  4. ^ Springett, Evelyn (1937). For My Children's Children. Montreal: Unity Press. 
  5. ^ a b c d e Harris, Jane (2006). Stars Appearing: The Galts Vision of Canada. Kitchener: Volumes Publishing.  
  6. ^ Skelton, Oscar D. (1920). The Life and Times of Sir Alexander Galt. Toronto: Oxford University Press. pp. 422–427. 
  7. ^ "Alexander Tilloch Galt".  
  8. ^,11245605&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL


  • "Biography". Dictionnaire des parlementaires du Québec de 1792 à nos jours (in French).  
  • "Alexander Tilloch Galt".  
  • Alexander Tilloch Galt – Parliament of Canada biography
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