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Dalton McGuinty receives the Key to the City

May 15, 2019
Announcements and Events

Mayor Jim Watson presented the Key to the City to Dalton McGuinty at a ceremony at City Hall this evening, in recognition of his staunch commitment and steadfast dedication to public service, with the distinction of being the first Member of Provincial Parliament representing Ottawa to serve as Premier of Ontario (2003-2013). During this time, he made education, health care, the environment and the economy his priorities.

Raised in a family of elected officials, Mr. McGuinty was elected Premier of Ontario in 2003 and served the Province until 2013. His three consecutive victories as Premier represented the first time the Liberal Party had achieved that feat in Ontario in more than 100 years. His political career started when he won the riding of Ottawa South in 1990. In total, he served his constituents for 23 years, reducing health care wait times, improving education and student test scores, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by closing coal plants province-wide, and improving the provincial economy by introducing a competitive tax regime and other incentives for businesses.

Since retiring from politics, Mr. McGuinty has focused his attention on business and education. He has served on several boards of directors, including for Innergex Renewable Energy Inc., the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and Canadian University Dubai. He has also served as a fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs, the University of Toronto’s School of Public Policy and Governance, and Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration.


“Dalton McGuinty has served his community and his Province proudly. He was a dedicated provincial representative for the residents of Ottawa South and, during his three terms as Premier, he strengthened Ontario’s economy while improving health care, education and environmental protection. Today, through his work, he helps groom future leaders and he continues to press for action on climate change.”

Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa

Key Facts

  • The Key to the City is Ottawa’s most prestigious award.
  • An ornamental key is presented to esteemed residents, visitors and others whom the City wishes to honour. This practice evokes medieval walled cities, the gates of which would be guarded during the day and locked at night. The key symbolizes the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will, as a trusted friend of residents.
  • Previous recipients include:
    • Author and lawyer Maureen McTeer
    • Figure skater Patrick Chan
    • Former politician Paul W. Dewar
    • Organ donor advocate Hélène Campbell
    • President and CEO of the National Arts Centre Peter A. Herrndorf
    • The Right Hnourable David Johnston and Mrs. Sharon Johnston
    • Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth (now Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)
    • Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
    • Author Margaret Atwood
    • Photographers Yousuf and Malak Karsh
    • The Community Foundation of Ottawa
    • Actress Sandra Oh
    • Former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson
    • The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice of Canada
    • Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek
    • Journalist Michel Picard

Dalton McGuinty biography

Dalton McGuinty, a lawyer, served as Premier of Ontario, Canada from 2003 to 2013. During that time, he led the Ontario Liberal Party to three successive election victories, a feat not achieved in his party in over 100 years. Premier McGuinty established education, health care, the environment and the economy as his priorities, achieving real gains in each area.

Student test scores rose by 17 per cent. Health care wait times fell from Canada's longest to the shortest. Ontario closed its coal plants in the single largest greenhouse gas reduction initiative in North America. And, to make Ontario more competitive, the McGuinty government cut the marginal effective tax rate on new business investment in half and adopted a value-added tax, the HST.

Since leaving politics, Mr. McGuinty has been actively engaged in business and philanthropy. He is on the Board of Directors of Innergex Renewable Energy Inc. and Pomerleau Inc. He serves as Special Advisor to the CEO of D2L Corporation and as an advisor to Ontario business startups. He also sits on the Board of Directors of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute and Canadian University Dubai.

Mr. McGuinty served as a Fellow at Harvard University’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. He is currently a Senior Fellow at the University of Toronto School of Public Policy and Governance, as well as Carleton University’s School of Public Policy and Administration.

An engaging speaker, Mr. McGuinty speaks regularly on a variety of subjects including leadership, politics and climate change.

Dalton married his high-school sweetheart, Terri Taylor. Together, they have four children and four grandchildren.

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