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Lester B. Pearson First State Visit To France 1964

January 15, 2012 by staff 

Lester B. Pearson First State Visit To France 1964, Lester Bowles “Mike” Pearson, PC, OM, CC, OBE (23 April 1897 – 27 December 1972) was a Canadian professor, historian, civil servant, statesman, diplomat, and politician, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1957 for organizing the United Nations Emergency Force to resolve the Suez Canal Crisis. He was the 14th Prime Minister of Canada from 22 April 1963, until 20 April 1968, as the head of two back-to-back minority governments following elections in 1963 and 1965.

During Pearson’s time as Prime Minister, his minority government introduced universal health care, student loans, the Canada Pension Plan, the Order of Canada, and the current Canadian flag. During his tenure, Prime Minister Pearson also convened the Royal Commission on Bilingualism and Biculturalism. With these accomplishments, together with his groundbreaking work at the United Nations and in international diplomacy, Pearson is generally considered among the most influential Canadians of the 20th century.

Pearson was born in the town of Newtonbrook (now part of Toronto), the son of Edwin Arthur Pearson, a Methodist (later United Church of Canada) minister, and Anne Sarah Bowles. He was brother to Vaughan Whitier Pearson and Marmaduke Pearson. He graduated from Hamilton Collegiate Institute in Hamilton, Ontario in 1913 at the age of 16. Later that same year, he entered Victoria College at the University of Toronto, where he lived in residence in Gate House and shared a room with his brother Duke. While at the University of Toronto, he joined the Delta Upsilon Fraternity. He was subsequently elected to the Pi Gamma Mu social science honour society’s chapter at the University of Toronto for his outstanding scholastic performance in history and sociology.

Outstanding sportsman
At University of Toronto, he became a noted athlete, excelling in rugby union, and also playing basketball. He later also played for the Oxford University Ice Hockey Club while on a scholarship at the University of Oxford, a team that won the first-ever Spengler Cup in 1923. Pearson also excelled in baseball and lacrosse as a youth, played golf and tennis as an adult, and as a result had the most intense and wide-ranging sporting interests of any Canadian prime minister. His baseball talents were strong enough for a summer of semi-pro play with the Guelph Maple Leafs of the Ontario Intercounty Baseball League.

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