Cameron, J. Hillyard (John Hillyard), 1817-1876

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Cameron, J. Hillyard (John Hillyard), 1817-1876

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        John Hillyard Cameron (1817-1876) was a lawyer and politician active in Canada West and Ontario, and founder of Trinity College, Toronto.

        Hillyard was born in 1817 at Blendecques, France where his father served with the 79th Highlanders. In 1825, he emigrated with his family to Upper Canada when his father was posted to Kingston. Hillyard attended Kilkenny College in Ireland, the Midland District grammar school in Kingston and Upper Canada College in Toronto. He then began to study law. However, his legal studies were interrupted by the Rebellion of 1837 during which he served as captain in the Queen's Rangers.

        After the rebellion, Cameron pursued his legal career. In 1838, he was called to the bar of Upper Canada. He immediately formed a partnership with J. Godfrey Spragge and the two built a law practice. In 1840, he was appointed Commissioner for the Revision of the Statutes of Upper Canada. Cameron also served as a reporter to the Court of Queen's Bench in Canada West, 1843-1846, and, in this capacity, was responsible for establishing the Upper Canada Law Reports. He was made QC in 1846. Later, Cameron became Chairman of the 1856-1857 Commission for the Consolidation of the Statutes of Upper Canada. In 1860, he was elected Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada, and, in 1869, was called to the bar of Quebec.

        In addition to the law, Cameron was active in municipal, provincial and federal politics. He served as York alderman for St. Andrew's ward, 1846- 1847 and 1851- 1852, and for St. John's ward, 1854- 1855. Also, in 1846, he was elected to the Upper Canada Legislative Assembly as the Conservative member from Cornwall. Cameron was subsequently appointed to the Executive Council in 1847 and, for a time, was also Solicitor- General for Upper Canada. Cameron left office in 1848 but returned to provincial politics in 1854 after successfully contesting the Toronto seat. He represented the Peel riding, 1861-1867, and, the federal Cardwell riding, 1872-1875.

        Cameron also had business interests in numerous transportation and insurance companies. He served as director of the Toronto and Guelph Railway and as solicitor for the Great Western Railway. He was also a promoter of the insurance industry. In 1847, he helped found the Canada Life Assurance Company. He later served as chairman of the Canadian Board of the Edinburgh Life Insurance Company, president of the Provincial Insurance Company and director of both the Canadian Life Assurance Company and Beaver Mutual Fire Insurance Association.

        Cameron was a staunch supporter of the Church of England and education. He was legal representative for the missionary service and the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Upper Canada. As a representative of the Church of England, Cameron was appointed to the first senate of the University of Toronto in 1850. He was also one of the founders of the Anglican Trinity College and, in 1852, introduced the Anglican Trinity College Incorporation Bill to the Legislative Assembly. In 1863, he was elected chancellor of Trinity College, a post he held until 1875.

        Cameron was married to Elizabeth Boulton from 1843 until her death in 1845. The couple had one son. In 1849, he married Ellen Mallet with whom they had two sons and two daughters.


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        Rev. Apr/12.




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