Rt Hon. Lester Pearson OBE OM PC CC

Died aged c. 75

Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson OM CC OBE PC PC (23 April 1897 – 27 December 1972) was a Canadian scholar, statesman, soldier and diplomat, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis. He was the 14th Prime Minister of Canada from 22 April 1963 to 20 April 1968, as the head of two back-to-back Liberal minority governments following elections in 1963 and 1965. During Pearson's time as Prime Minister, his Liberal minority governments introduced universal health care, student loans, the Canada Pension Plan, the Order of Canada, and the Maple Leaf flag. His Liberal government also succeeded in unifying Canada's armed forces. Pearson convened the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism, and he struggled to keep Canada out of the Vietnam War. In 1967, his government passed Bill C-168, which abolished capital punishment in Canada de facto – by restricting it to a few capital offenses for which it was never used, and which themselves were abolished in 1976. With these accomplishments, together with his groundbreaking work at the United Nations and in international diplomacy, Pearson is generally considered among the most influential Canadians of the 20th century and is ranked among the top six greatest Canadian Prime Ministers.

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Commemorated on 1 plaque

Birthplace of Lester Pearson Lester Bowles "Mike" Pearson, scholar, diplomat and statesman, was born in his parent's home, the Wesleyan Methodist Church manse, which stood on this site in the then village of Newtonbrook, on April 23, 1897. He joined the Department of External Affairs in 1928, becoming First Secretary of the Canadian High Commission in London (1935-41) and Ambassador to the United States (1945-46). He was Member of Parliament for Algoma East and Minister of External Affairs in the government of Louis St. Laurent (1948-1957) where he was instrumental in the founding of NATO (1949) and the Korean Armistice (1953). He was President of the United Nations General Assembly (1952-53) and the architect of the UN Peacekeeping Force in Suez for which he received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957. Elected leader of the Liberal Party in 1958, he became Prime Minister of Canada in 1963. His government (1963-68) left a legacy of reform and pioneering social legislation which included the Canada Pension Plan, universal health care, the Canada Student Loan Plan, a new Canadian flag, and the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. Mr. Pearson died in Ottawa on December 27, 1972.

south-west corner of Yonge Street and Hendon Avenue, Toronto, ON, Canada where they was born (1897)