Who we are

The Institute is headed by a president, is governed by an executive committee, and is supported by an expert advisory board.

The Institute also appoints a College of Fellows.


The Hon. Margaret McCain, CC, ONB

Margaret McCain

In 1994, Margaret Norrie McCain was appointed Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick, the first woman to hold this position. She served in that role until 1997, when she moved to Toronto. Mrs. McCain has been active in organizations that promote education, music, and the arts at the provincial and national levels. She served as chancellor of Mount Allison University from 1986 to 1994 and was a member of the board of Canada’s National Ballet School for 18 years, serving as board chair from 1998 to 2000. She is currently chair of the Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Foundation. In 2019, Mrs. McCain became patron of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada and served as honorary chair of its fourth conference in Toronto.

Executive Committee

Barbara J. Messamore, FRHistS, FSCC (Vancouver)


Barbara J. Messamore

Barbara J. Messamore, professor of history at University of the Fraser Valley, is the author of Canada’s Governors General, 1847-1878: Biography and Constitutional Evolution (2006), co-author of Narrating a Nation: Canadian History Pre-Confederation (2011) and of Conflict and Compromise: Pre-Confederation Canada (2017), and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Historical Biography. With a PhD from the University of Edinburgh, she is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society (UK). She is also a Fellow of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada.

John Fraser, CM, FSCC (Toronto)

Founding President

John Fraser

Author and journalist John Fraser is executive chair of the National NewsMedia Council of Canada. He was Master of Massey College in the University of Toronto from 1995 to 2014. Previously he was the award-winning editor of Saturday Night. He is author of eleven books, including the internationally-acclaimed The Chinese: Portrait of a People (1980),Eminent Canadians (2000), and The Secret of the Crown: Canada’s Affair with Royalty (2012). A Member of the Order of Canada, he is the founding president and a Fellow of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada. In 2020 he received the Michener-Baxter Special Award from the Michener Awards Foundation for long-term achievement in public service journalism.

Nathan Tidridge, MSM (Waterdown, Ontario)


Nathan Tidridge

Nathan Tidridge teaches Canadian history, government, and Indigenous studies at Waterdown District High School in Ontario. He is author of Canada’s Constitutional Monarchy (2011), Prince Edward, Duke of Kent (2013), and The Queen at the Council Fire (2015). He is a board member of the Ontario Heritage Trust and a member of the national advisory council for the Prince’s Charities Canada. He was awarded a Meritorious Service Medal in 2018 for his work in educating Canadians on the role of the Crown and its relationship with Indigenous communities. He received a Governor General’s Award for excellence in teaching history in 2020.

Christopher McCreery, MVO (Halifax)


Christopher McCreery

With a doctorate in Canadian political history, Christopher McCreery is the author of more than a dozen books, including On Her Majesty’s Service: Royal Honours and Recognition in Canada (Dundurn, 2008), The Canadian Honours System (2nd edition, Dundurn, 2015), The Order of Canada (2nd edition, University of Toronto Press, 2018), and Government House: A Place of History and Gathering (Goose Lane, 2020). He is private secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia and a member of the Royal Victorian Order.

John Gross (Toronto)


John Gross

From 2011 to 2020, John Gross was the resident expert on constitutional, policy, and protocol matters in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. He has a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Toronto Metropolitan University (formerly Ryerson University) and currently works as a public servant in Ontario.

Advisory Board

James Bird, MRAIC (Toronto)

James Bird

James K. Bird is a member of the Dënesųłiné Nation and is affiliated with the Northwest Territories Métis Nation. After completing a master’s degree in architecture at the University of Toronto, he is transitioning into a PhD program in architecture. 

His current work examines the intersection between Indigenous languages and shape forming using parametrics and algorithms. This research was supported in part by a Social Science and Humanities Research Council grant for research in linguistics and architecture in the Dene language. James has received several academic awards and national awards: the Prideaux Award for Science and Architecture, University College Merit Award, the Gordon Cressy Award, the Dr. Lillian McGregor Indigenous Award for Excellence, and the President’s Award. He is a fellow at Massey College.

James has been equally active outside academia. He is a member of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada’s Indigenous Task Force on Architecture. James was proud to be part of the Canadian team that won the 2018 Venice Architectural Biennale, a team headed by world-renowned Indigenous architect Douglas Cardinal and 18 other Indigenous architects.

Patrice Dutil, PhD

Patrice Dutil

Author and Commentator Patrice Dutil is a professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at Toronto Metropolitan University. He has been a visiting scholar at Massey College, and visiting professor at the George Mason University School of Public Policy (2014) and in the Political Science Department of Boston University (2018). He is a senior fellow at the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History and the Macdonald-Laurier Institute.

His main research interests are political and public sector leadership, the process of political development, and the study of elections. He has also written extensively about the politics of heritage. He has written or edited more than a dozen books.

Dutil started his career in Ontario’s ministry of intergovernmental affairs as a policy advisor, working on constitutional and environmental issues. He then worked in various government and non-governmental agencies before joining Ryerson University in 2006. He founded the Literary Review of Canada in 1991 and was the editor of Canadian Government Executive in 2015-17 and the President of the Champlain Society from 2010-2017. 

J. William Galbraith (Ottawa)

J. William Galbraith

J. William (Bill) Galbraith is the author of John Buchan: Model Governor General (Dundurn, 2013). He retired as executive director of the Office of the Communications Security Establishment  Commissioner in 2018 after a career of 30 years of federal public service involving investment review, intelligence, national security policy, and intelligence review. Prior to joining the federal government, he was with che Conference Board of Canada. He was a volunteer for over 25 years with St. John Ambulance, first as a member of the Brigade and subsequently many years on local and national governing boards. He is a commander of the Order of St. John.

Carolyn Harris (Toronto)

Carolyn Harris

Author, historian, and royal commentator, Carolyn Harris received her doctorate in European history from Queen’s University and teaches at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. She is author of Magna Carta and Its Gifts to Canada (2015), Queenship and Revolution in Early Modern Europe (2015), and Raising Royalty: 1000 Years of Royal Parenting (2017). Dr. Harris is the proofreading editor of the Royal Studies Journal and co-editor of English Consorts: Power, Influence, Dynasty, a four-volume series about English royal consorts, to be published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2022.

The Hon. Serge Joyal, PC, OC, OQ, FRSC, FSCC (Montréal)

Serge Joyal

Serge Joyal was a Senator from 1997 to 2020. He had been an MP, a minister and Secretary of State, and in 1980-81 co-chaired the joint committee that recommended the adoption of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. A collector and patron of the arts, he is the author and publisher of several articles and books related to parliamentary and constitutional law, as well as essays in social and political history. Serge Joyal is an officer of the Order of Canada, officier de l’Ordre national du Québec, and commandeur de la Légion d’honneur (France). He is a Fellow of the Institute for the Study of the Crown in Canada.

George Lafond, SOM (Victoria)

George Lafond

George Lafond’s professional life has been shaped by four decades of a public service career as a trusted advisor to federal, provincial, civic, and tribal governments. His experience has been sought by private and public companies to create community-based partnerships promoting positive outcomes for Indigenous peoples in education and employment. This involves a complex array of legal and cultural issues that give strategic direction to collaborative partnerships and support mutual benefits between the partners.

George Lafond is a Cree citizen of the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. He has served as a tribal leader to the Saskatoon Tribal Council and as Saskatchewan’s Treaty Commissioner. He serves on numerous boards of for-profit and non-profit organizations. He was appointed to the Saskatchewan Order of Merit in 2016.

Akaash Maharaj, FRCGS (Ottawa)

Akaash Maharaj

Akaash Maharaj serves as ambassador-at-large for the Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption and as director of policy for Nature Canada. Earlier in life, he was a national athlete for Canada, and was a triple gold medallist at the International Championships of Equestrian Skill‑at‑Arms. He earned his MA from Oxford University, and was the first overseas student elected president of the student government in the university’s history. He is a governor and Quadrangler of Massey College, and a senior fellow of the Munk School of Global Affairs, both at the University of Toronto.

Michael Valpy (Toronto)

Michael Valpy

Michael Valpy has been a member of The Globe and Mail’s editorial board, Ottawa political columnist, Africa correspondent, deputy managing editor, and columnist on social and political issues. He is a continuing senior fellow at Massey College and a senior fellow in public policy at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. He taught for nine years in U of T’s book and media studies program and has also has taught at U of T Scarborough’s School of Journalism.

Justin Vovk

Justin Vovk

Justin Vovk is PhD candidate in early modern history at McMaster University and an adjunct  professor of history at Redeemer University. He is the author of Imperial Requiem: Four Royal Women and the Fall of the Age of Empires (2012). He has also been a contributing writer to the European Royal History JournalActive History, and The Conversation. He specializes in European royal history and is frequently a royal commentator for CBC and CTV national news.