As well as having been Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta, The Honourable J.W.
Grant MacEwan is well-known as an agriculturalist and historian. He was also
active in municipal and provincial politics.
John Walter Grant MacEwan was born on August 12, 1902, on a farm near
Brandon, Manitoba. He is the son of Alexander H. MacEwan and Bertha Grant.
J.W. Grant MacEwan attended public school in Brandon, Manitoba, and
Melfort, Saskatchewan. He studied at the Ontario Agricultural College in Guelph,
received a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture degree from the University of Toronto
in 1926, and in 1928, received a Master of Science degree from Iowa State College.
On July 26, 1935, J.W. Grant MacEwan married Phyllis W. Cline, daughter of
Vernon Cline of Churchbridge, Saskatchewan. Mrs. MacEwan died on October 12,
1990. J.W. Grant MacEwan has one daughter, Heather, from this marriage.
From 1928 to 1946, J.W. Grant MacEwan was Professor of Animal
Husbandry and Director of the School of Agriculture at the University of
Saskatchewan in Saskatoon.
From 1946 to 1951, he was Dean of Agriculture and
Home Economics at the University of Manitoba. During his career as an
agriculturalist, he was Associate Editor of the Canadian Cattleman, Agricultural
Editor of The Western Producer, and a contributor to the Farm and Ranch
Review. Since 1936, he has written a large number of books that deal primarily
with agriculture and western Canadian history. He is the author of Breeds of Farm
Livestock in Canada (1941), Sodbusters (1948), Between the Red and the Rockies (1952), Eye Opener Bob: The Story of
Bob Edwards (1957), John Ware's Cow Country (1960), Hoofprints and Hitchingposts (1964), Poking into Politics (1966), Tantanga
Mani: Walking Buffalo of the Stonies (1969), Power for Prairie Plows (1971), Sitting Bull: The Years in Canada (1973), Cornerstone Colony: Selkirk's Contribution to the Canadian
West (1977), Grant MacEwan's Illustrated History of
Western Canadian Agriculture (1980) Frederick
Haultain: Frontier Statesman of the Canadian Northwest (1985), Grant MacEwan's
Journals (1986), Grant MacEwan's West: Sketches from the Past (1990), and many others.
In 1951, J.W. Grant MacEwan was an unsuccessful candidate at the federal
byelection for the Brandon electoral district. He was a Calgary Alderman from
1953 to 1958 and served as Mayor of the same city from 1963 to 1965. He was
elected the Member of the Legislative Assembly for the multi-Member electoral
district of Calgary in 1955, was appointed Leader of the Liberal Party of Alberta in
1958, and resigned from this position in 1960, following that party's defeat in the
On the advice of Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson, J.W. Grant MacEwan was
appointed Lieutenant-Governor of Alberta effective January 6, 1966. This
appointment was made by General Georges-Phileas Vanier, Governor General of
Canada. He was reappointed for a second term and continued to serve as
Lieutenant-Governor until his successor was appointed effective July 2, 1974.
During his service as Lieutenant-Governor, J.W. Grant MacEwan's Secretaries were
Captain Gordon A. Johnston and M. Patricia Halligan.
J.W. Grant MacEwan served as Chairman of the Calgary Community
Foundation and President of the Men's Canadian Club of Calgary.
In 1976, he was
appointed to the Board of Directors of the Alberta Historical Resources
Foundation and was named Chairman of the Board in 1978. J.W. Grant MacEwan has
received Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from the Universities of Alberta (1966),
Calgary (1967), Brandon (1969), Guelph (1972), and Saskatchewan (1974); was
awarded the Order of Canada (1975); was the recipient of the Governor General's
Conservation Award (1985); and was the first person to receive the Premier's
Award For Excellence (1985). An Edmonton community college and an elementary
school in Calgary are named in his honor.
J.W. Grant MacEwan died on June 15, 2000 at Calgary, Alberta. He received a state funeral at
Robertson- Wesley United Church in Edmonton, Alberta on June 20, 2000 and was buried in the Union Cemetery in Calgary.