Sir Mackenzie Bowell

Sir Mackenzie Bowell was Canada’s fifth Prime Minister, after being in politics for 25 years. Before winning a seat in the House of Commons, Mackenzie Bowell was a printer’s apprentice.

Born in 1823, his family emigrated from England to Canada when he was a boy, and settled in Belleville. Soon after, he became an apprentice at The Intelligencer newspaper. In 1847, he became one of the papers partners and in 1850 he became the editor and would eventually own the paper.

Later in his life, Mackenzie Bowell moved into politics, where he became a member of the Dominion Government under Sir John A. Macdonald. He served as a member of the House of Commons from 1867 to 1892, before becoming a Senator.

Bowell was one of the first people to campaign for Louis Riel’s removal from the House of Commons.

Following the sudden death of Prime Minister John Thompson, Bowell was appointed as Canada’s fifth Prime Minister and served from 1894 to 1896. He had a challenging term as he had come into the role during a time when the Conservative party was facing a decline and opposition. Bowell was eventually forced to retire in 1896.

His status as a Prime Minister and editor of The Intelligencer, make him a prominent figure in the city of Belleville’s history.

To learn more about Sir Mackenzie Bowell, Glanmore National Historic Site has created an exhibit about his life that is on display at Belleville’s City Hall building.

*Written by Public Relations intern Stephanie Clue