The Honourable Gordon Lockhart Bennett
Gordon Lockhart Bennett was the thirty-fourth Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island since the creation of the Colony in 1763. Mr. Bennett was born in Charlottetown, on 10 October 1912. Mr. Bennett's elementary education was obtained in local schools prior to his obtaining his higher education at Prince of Wales College, Charlottetown and Acadia University from which he holds B.Sc. (1937) and M.Sc.(Chemistry, 1947). In 1976, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Civil Laws (D.C.L.) from Acadia.
He was engaged in teaching in Prince Edward Island for thirty-two years. The first three years were in a two-room rural school in St. Eleanor's, the same school in which both his mother and father had also taught. Following two years in the Charlottetown schools, he was appointed in 1939 to the Faculty of Prince of Wales College, Department of Chemistry. In 1957, he assumed the additional responsibilities of Registrar and Director of Studies. He remained at Prince of Wales until 1966. He married Doris L. Bernard of St. Eleanor's, Prince Edward Island, and they have one married daughter, Mrs. David Campbell, and three granddaughters. Bennett was a member of the United Church of Canada. Entering provincial politics in 1966 as a Liberal candidate, Mr. Bennett was elected on 30th May of that year as a representative of 5th Queens District (Charlottetown and suburbs). He was reelected in 1970 and in 1974. From 1966 to 1974, he served in the government of Premier Alex B. Campbell in several capacities: President of the Executive Council, 1966-1974; Minister of Education, 1966-1972; Minister of Justice, 1970-1974; Provincial Secretary, 1972-1974 and Chairman of Provincial Centennial Commission in 1973.
Many significant changes in both the Departments of Education and Justice were effected during his years in government. Among these were the establishment of larger administrative school units, collective bargaining for teachers and members of the public service; sabbatical leave for teachers and the creation of the University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College. A complete study of the court and judicial system, the introduction of legal aid and the commencement of plans for a new correctional institute were carried out during his term as Minister of Justice. He was interested in sports and recreation. During his teaching years he carried out coaching duties in football and hockey. He was Past President of the Canadian Curling Association and a member of the Canadian Curling Hall of Fame as a builder. He served as Chairman of Charlottetown's first Recreation Council and is a Past President of the Prince Edward Island Musical Festival Association and the Prince Edward Island Canadian Club.
Active in Freemasonry, Mr. Bennett was Past Grand Master of Masons in Prince Edward Island and for six years was Deputy Commander of Scottish Rite Masonry in the jurisdiction of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. He was also Grand Chancellor for Scottish Rite Masonry in Canada. Bennett represented his province at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meetings in Sri Lanka in 1974 and was Vice-Chairman of the Canadian Educational delegation to UNESCO in Paris in 1972.
He was created a Knight of Grace of St. John of Jerusalem in 1975. Gordon Bennett was appointed Lieutenant Governor for the Province of Prince Edward Island on 24th October 1974.
Photograph courtesy of PEI Public Archives and Records Office, Reference Number 3177/253