Toronto Pearson Airport:
The Man Behind the Name

The Toronto Pearson Airport takes its name from the former 14th Prime Minister of Canada, Lester B. Pearson. But he wasn’t just “any” prime minister.

Lester B. Pearson, recently voted one of the Top Ten Greatest Canadians, had a very busy life.

Here are just some of his many achievements.

He won the Nobel Peace prize in 1957 for his role in the creation of the United Nations peacekeeping force.

He oversaw the introduction of many fundamental Canadian social programs like the Canadian Pension Plan, Medicare, student loans, family assistance, a national labour code and crop insurance for farmers.

He established the world’s first “race-free” immigration system.

He introduced the Canadian flag that we know today.

He signed the Auto-Pact Agreement with the United States which led to the expansion of the automobile manufacturing industry in Canada, a major source of wealth for this country (especially Ontario) over the last half-century.

He ruled a minority Liberal government from 1963 to 1967 when he retired.

During retirement he worked on a study that advocated increasing aid for poorer nations.

Loss and Honour

Pearson died from cancer in 1972.

In 1984, the Toronto Airport (also know as the Lester B. Pearson Airport) was named after him. It’s one of several buildings named after the man Canadians call one of the Top Ten Greatest Canadians.

Pearson was born in Newtonbrook, Ontario, which is now part of Toronto. Pearson's other connection to Toronto and Ontario is that before his active political life, he taught history at the University of Toronto. (If you are interested in other Famous Canadians born in Ontario, check out my article on Famous Canadians.)



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