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The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario ( ) is the viceregal representative in Ontariomarker of, as she operates in the provincial jurisdiction, the Canadian monarch and head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, who resides predominantly in her oldest realm, the United Kingdommarker. The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario is appointed in the same manner as the other provincial viceroys in Canada, and is similarly tasked with carrying out most of the monarch's constitutional and ceremonial duties. The present, and 28th, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario is David Onley, who has served in the role since 5 September 2007.

Role and presence

The Lieutenant Governor of Ontario is vested with a number of governmental duties, and is also expected to undertake various ceremonial roles. For instance, the Lieutenant Governor acts as patron of certain Ontario institutions, such as the Royal Ontario Museummarker. Also, The viceroy, him or herself a member and Chancellor of the order, will induct deserving individuals into the Order of Ontario, and upon installation automatically becomes a Knight or Dame of Justice and the Vice-Prior in Ontario of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem. The viceroy further presents the Royal Canadian Humane Association medal, the Lincoln M. Alexander Award, the Ontario Volunteer Service Award, the Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism in Ontario, the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers, and numerous other provincial honours and decorations, as well as various awards that are named for and presented by the Lieutenant Governor; these are generally created in partnership with another government or charitable organization and linked specifically to their cause. These honours are presented at official ceremonies, which count amongst hundreds of other engagements the Lieutenant Governor partakes in each year, either as host or guest of honour; in 2006, the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario undertook 579 engagements, and 614 in 2007.

Flag of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario.
At these events, the Lieutenant Governor's presence is marked by the post's official flag, consisting of a blue field bearing the shield of the Arms of Her Majesty in Right of Ontario surmounted by a crown and surrounded by ten gold maple leaves, symbolizing the ten provinces of Canada. Within Ontario, the Lieutenant Governor also follows only the sovereign in the province's order of precedence, preceding even other members of the Canadian Royal Family and the Queen's federal representative.

History

The office of Lieutenant Governor of Ontario came into being in 1867, upon the creation of Ontario at Confederation, and evolved from the earlier position of Lieutenant Governor of Canada West. Since that date, 28 Lieutenant Governors have served the province, amongst whom were notable firsts, such as Pauline Mills McGibbon the first female Lieutenant Governor of the province and Lincoln Alexander the first Lieutenant Governor of West Indianmarker ancestry. The shortest mandate by a Lieutenant Governor of Ontario was Henry William Stisted, from 1 July 1867 to 14 July 1868, while the longest was Albert Edward Matthews, from November 1937 to December 1946.

With the election in 1937 of the Liberal Party to a majority in the Legislative Assembly, the Office of the Lieutenant Governor in Ontario was targeted for spending cutbacks. Government Housemarker was closed and the viceroy given a suite at the Legislative Building as a replacement. The post then remained relatively low-key until 1985, when the personal discretion of the Lieutenant Governor, then John Black Aird, was required in the exercise of the Royal Prerogative: After Frank Miller that year lost the confidence of the Legislative Assembly and the opposing Liberal Party had managed to form a coalition with both the New Democratic Party and independent members of the assembly, Aird was called upon to select a new Premier.

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