Roland Michener House - Lacombe, AB
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member ScroogieII
N 52° 27.863 W 113° 43.937
12U E 314392 N 5816200
Quick Description: Now the home of the Michener House Museum & Archives, this unassuming little wood frame house was the birthplace of Roland Michener, 20th Governor-General of Canada.
Location: Alberta, Canada
Date Posted: 6/25/2020 10:16:42 AM
Waymark Code: WM12P8E
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member Weathervane
Views: 3

Long Description:
On April 19, 1900 Daniel Roland Michener was born in this simple frame house, in later years going on to become Governor-General of Canada from 1967 to 1974. Not only is this the birthplace of Lacombe's most noteworthy citizen, built in 1894, it also happens to be the oldest remaining building in Lacombe. Since 1984 it has housed the Michener House Museum & Archives, a small museum documenting not only Michener's association with the house, but domestic life in Lacombe at and before the turn of the twentieth century. In the basement are the City of Lacombe archives.

When built, this plain little Queen Anne style house was the manse for Grace Methodist Church across the street. Edward Michener, Roland's father, was the minister from 1897 to 1900. The family moved to Red Deer not long after Roland was born, the house becoming home to a succession of ministers until 1922, when the manse was sold into private hands. Acquired by the Maski-Pitoon Historical Society in 1971, the house was extensively restored and opened as the Michener House Museum & Archives in 1984. The house has been designated a Provincial Historic Resource and a City of Lacombe Historic Resource.

Michener was the first former MP to become governor general and served during Canada's centennial year of 1967. He inaugurated the Order of Canada and was a champion of sport and fitness.

He grew up in the city of Red Deer, where his father was mayor and then a member of the provincial legislature for Red Deer (Edward Michener would lead Alberta's official opposition Conservatives from 1910-17, and was a senator from Alberta from 1918-47).

Roland studied at the University of Alberta, where he graduated in 1920 with a bachelor of arts. He then attended Oxford University as a Rhodes scholar. At Oxford, he met and became a hockey teammate and lifelong friend to Lester B. Pearson, who would go on to become prime minister. After studying law at Oxford, Michener returned to Canada and started practising law in Toronto in 1924.

He first ran for political office in 1943 as a Conservative candidate for the Ontario legislature, but was defeated. He tried again in 1945 and won the Toronto riding of St. David, serving as a member of the Provincial Parliament (MPP) until 1948. This included several years in the Cabinet of Ontario Premier George Drew. In 1949, Michener entered federal politics. He failed in his first attempt, but was elected in 1953 as the Progressive Conservative member of Parliament (MP) for Toronto St. Paul's, which he represented until 1962.

In July 1964, Pearson appointed Michener high commissioner to India and, six months later, the first Canadian ambassador to Nepal. He served both roles until 1967. After the sudden death of much-loved Governor General Georges Vanier in 1967, Michener was appointed to the post.

After his term as governor general ended in 1974, the Micheners moved to Toronto where he continued to practise law and became a corporate director. He served as chancellor of Queen's University from 1974 until 1980, and became secretary general of the Rhodes Foundation, the organization that awards Rhodes scholarships.

Michener died on 6 August 1991. His ashes and those of his wife, who predeceased him in 1987, are interred at St. Bartholomew's Anglican Church in Ottawa, across Sussex Drive from Rideau Hall.
From the Canadian Encyclopedia
Roland Michener House
The Roland Michener House is a late nineteenth century, one and one-half storey building located on a single lot in a residential area of Lacombe, immediately adjacent to the town's business core. It features wood siding, a front-gabled shingle roof with rear cross-gable, and raised front porch that wraps around two sides of the home and is sheltered by a shingled roof supported by columns.

The heritage value of the Roland Michener House lies in its association with Roland Michener, the Governor-General of Canada from 1967 until 1974.

In 1899, Reverend Edward Michener accepted a posting as a Methodist minister for the Lacombe circuit. He took up residence in the town's modest parsonage, located just north of the Methodist Church. On April 19, 1900 Daniel Roland Michener was born in this simple frame house that now bears his name. His family resided here for six weeks after his birth before moving to Red Deer. The home has been largely restored to its turn-of-the-century appearance.

Roland Michener gained renown as an accomplished lawyer, politician, and statesman in Canada. He received his undergraduate degree at the University of Alberta before pursuing graduate studies at Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship. Upon returning to Canada, he worked for many years as a lawyer in Toronto before launching his political career. He was first elected to political office in 1945 when he won a seat in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Eight years later he was voted into the Canadian Parliament representing St. Paul's, Toronto. From 1957 until 1962, Michener served as Speaker of the House of Commons and was acclaimed as one of the best Speakers since Confederation. He also held posts as the High Commissioner to India and the first Canadian Ambassador to Nepal.

Michener is best known for his work as Canada's Governor-General, a position he held from 1967 until 1974. During his tenure, he directed several significant developments in the office of the Governor-General. Michener presided over the nation's centennial celebrations, presented the first Order of Canada honours, relaxed some of the formal protocols associated with the Governor-General, and instituted periodic meetings with provincial Lieutenant-Governors. He and his accomplished wife, Norah, were a progressive vice-regal couple who travelled extensively in Canada and abroad. A vigorous sportsman, "Canada's Jogging Governor-General" - as Michener was sometimes called - also championed physical activity for Canadians during his term through his advocacy on behalf of the Participaction Program. In honour of his service, he was presented the Royal Victorian Chain by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973, one of only two Canadians to have received the tribute. The Government of Alberta celebrated Michener's accomplishments by naming a mountain in his honour. Michener passed away in 1991.
From Historic Places Canada

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Official Heritage Registry: [Web Link]

5036 51 Street
Lacombe, AB
T4L 1W2

Heritage Registry Page Number: Not listed

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