The Hon. Hilary M. Weston served as the 26th Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from January 24, 1997 to March 7, 2002. As The Queen’s representative in Ontario, Mrs. Weston was responsible for the Crown’s constitutional and representational roles in Ontario.
Current Roles, Patronages & Directorships . . . .
Since leaving public office, Mrs. Weston has agreed to Chair the Renaissance ROM Campaign, which seeks to transform the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto through the largest fundraising campaign in Canadian cultural history. Mrs. Weston continues to serve as Patron of several organizations dealing with social issues, such as the Abbeyfield House Society, the Hospice Association of Ontario, the Landmine Survivors Network, the Ontario March of Dimes, Yonge Street Mission, Into the Warmth, and Stay Alert/Stay Safe. She is also a Governor of the Canadian Unity Council, a member of the International Advisory Board of Sotheby’s and a Trustee of Angel’s Quest in Dublin. She serves as a Director of Wittington Investments Ltd. & Selfridges Co. Ltd. In 2003, she was asked by the Premier of Ontario to serve on the SARS Economic Recovery Team. In 2005, she was asked to Co-Chair the Ontario Spirit Committee to ensure Ontarians raise funds to support reconstruction and rebuilding as a result of the tsunami in December 2004.
As Lieutenant Governor . . . .
While she was Lieutenant Governor, Mrs. Weston focused on supporting causes and groups related to women’s issues, volunteers and youth. She donated her annual salary to provide business internships and job training for 88 students through First Connection, and also supported organizations helping street youth. In 1998, she created the Lieutenant Governor’s Community Volunteer Award to honour unsung heroes in community groups she visited and expanded the programme in 2000 to recognize an outstanding volunteer student in each Ontario secondary school. Mrs Weston initiated major celebrations outside Ontario’s capital for the first time such as the New Year’s Levee, Canada Day and Remembrance Day and initiated contemporary exhibitions of Ontario art at Queen’s Park. Mrs. Weston served as the first female Honorary Colonel of 437 Squadron at 8 Wing Trenton and the Princess of Wales’ Own Regiment in Kingston.
Awards in her name . . .
The Government of Ontario commemorated her term as Lieutenant Governor with the Hilary M. Weston Scholarship for students who study social work or demonstrate a commitment to mental health issues. The University of Toronto established a Weston Medal for the student achieving the highest standard in the Master of Social Work programme.
Before 1997 . . . .
Prior to her appointment as Lieutenant Governor, Mrs. Weston had a career in business and in the fashion industry. As Deputy Chair of the Board of Holt Renfrew for ten years, she promoted Canadian designers and merchandise, and help to revitalize a business that has been a Canadian tradition since 1837. She has also served as a Director of Brown Thomas & Co. Ltd. (Ireland). She co-founded Torwest in the United States and was Vice-Chairman and Design Director of the Windsor Club in Florida.
Through her volunteer and philanthropic work, Mrs. Weston has supported cultural projects, research into breast cancer and AIDS. In 1979, Mrs. Weston founded the Ireland Fund of Canada and continues as Honorary Patron of the non-partisan, non-denominational organization that funds community projects in Ireland to promote peace. Her interest in early childhood education led to her serving as Founding Chair of the Mabin School. She had also co-founded and chaired the Canadian Environment Educational Foundation, and established the Winter Garden Show at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Mrs. Weston explored her longstanding interest in homes and gardens as co-author of two best-selling books, In a Canadian Garden (1989) and At Home in Canada (1995).
Honours received by Mrs. Weston . . .
Mrs. Weston served as the first Chancellor of the Order of Ontario and received the honour in 2001. She was appointed a Member in the Order of Canada in 2003. Mrs. Weston was invested as Dame of Justice in the Venerable Order of St. John in 1997 and received The Queen’s 2002 Golden Jubilee Medal.
Honorary Degrees . . .
Several post-secondary institutions have recognized Mrs. Weston with honorary degrees, including the:
University of Western Ontario where she served as Visitor (LLD jure dignitatis, 1997)
University of St. Michael’s College (DLittS, 1997)
University of Toronto (LLD, 2000)
University College of Cape Breton (LLD, 1999)
Niagara University (LHD, 2002)
York University (LLD, 2002)
Trinity College, Dublin (LLD, 2004)
Massey College where Mrs Weston was elected as a Senior Fellow in 2002
and Loyalist College (honorary diploma, 1997)
Awards received by Mrs. Weston include the . . .
Diamond Award (1994) from the Variety Club of Ontario for remarkable work in the community
Woman of the Year from the Women’s Auxiliary of the Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care (1997)
Tammy Gutstein Humanitarian Award (1999) from the Reena Foundation
TA Sweet Award from the Ontario Psychiatric Association (2000)
June Callwood Award from the Hospice Association of Ontario (2001)
Cadillac-Fairview Salute to the City Award (2002)
Distinguished Canadian Leadership Award, University of Ottawa (2003)
Human Relations Award, Canadian Council of Christians & Jews (2003)
MacLean's Honour Roll (Canada Day 2004)
Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service (2005)
Born Hilary Frayne in Dublin in 1942, Mrs Weston is the eldest of five children. In 1966, she married Galen Weston and together they have two children, Alannah and Galen. The Westons moved to Toronto in 1974.
The Hon. Hilary M. Weston