Skip to primary content

A Sense of Duty  to the End

In the winter of 1919, Laurier was 77. His age weighed heavily on him, as did the cumulative years of fatigue. Ever the Liberal Party leader and proud Member of Parliament representing Québec-East, he agreed to slow down somewhat, but refused to withdraw from political life. This man of duty defended his electors right up to the last days of his life.

On February 15, alone at his office, Wilfrid Laurier suffered a first attack that left him unconscious. Believing the problem to be an accumulation of chronic fatigue, he returned home to rest. The next morning, he suffered another attack that caused a brain hemorrhage and left him paralyzed. He died the next day at 2:50 p.m. February 17, 1919.

Black and white photo taken at the home (in the background) of the Honorable Sydney Fisher. From right to left: the Honorable Sydney Fisher in a black suit; W. Laurier in a grey suit, holding a cane; Mrs. Arthur Branchaud in a white dress and Mackenzie King in a grey suit.

State Funeral of the Late Right Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier

Download video: MP4, (13,83 MB), WebM, (12,89 MB), Ogg (12,08 MB) (1 minute 25 seconds)

Library and Archives Canada, State Funeral of the Late Right Honourable Sir Wilfrid Laurier, Pathéscope of Canada Limited, February 22, 1919, video, 6m22, Drawn from La toile des Sources.

Film of the state funeral of Sir Wilfrid Laurier. Footage includes: pall bearers coming out of the Victoria Museum in Ottawa and placing the coffin inside a covered hearse; the funeral procession, lead by several horse-drawn carriages laden with wreaths, followed by the hearse drawn by four black horses with dignitaries following, some on foot.