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The Top 10 Things You Should Know about Mackenzie King

The Top 10 Things You Should Know about Mackenzie King

June 2011

Allan Levine, author of King reveals the top ten things we should know about William Lyon Mackenzie King.

1. At nearly 22-years in office, King was the longest serving prime minister in Canadian history. On June 7, 1946, he surpassed John A. Macdonald’s 6,937 days as prime minister. And then on April 20, 1948, he broke British prime minister Robert Walpole’s record of nearly 21 years as the leader of a western-style parliamentary democracy.

2. King religiously kept a diary from 1893, when he was 18 years old, to 1950, the year of his death. It runs approximately 30,000 pages or 7.5 million words.

3. King kept almost every scrap of paper he received, right down to his dental x-rays and his dogs’ tags. The vast collection of King’s papers kept in Ottawa at Library and Archives Canada includes more than two million documents and 25,000 photographs. It measures 315.89 metres or 1,036.38 feet, almost three football fields long.

4. Throughout his life, King maintained a belief that powerful and mysterious forces, the “hand of destiny”, as he called it, guided his life.

5. King was the first real labour consultant in North America and worked for the Rockefeller Foundation from 1914 to 1918.

6. King owned three dogs at different times that were all Irish Terriers, and all named Pat.

7. King saw magical images not only in tea leaves but also in his shaving cream lather.

8. King was a wealthy man when he died in July 1950. In property and investments, he was worth approximately $750,000—the equivalent purchasing power today of at least $7 million.

9. King contested seven federal elections as leader of the Liberal Party between 1921 and 1948. In all but two, he won between 59 and 65 of Quebec’s 65 seats in the House of Commons.

10. Blair Fraser was the first journalist to widely publicize King’s spiritualist beliefs in his hit article, “The Secret Life of Mackenzie King, Spiritualist,” published in Maclean’s on December 15, 1951.

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