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

John Fraser, CM, FSCC (Toronto)

Acting 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)

First Vice-President

Nathan Tidridge

Nathan Tidridge teaches Canadian history, government, and Indigenous studies at Waterdown District High School, 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.

Barbara J. Messamore, FRHistS, FSCC (Vancouver)

Second Vice-President

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.

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. A writer and researcher, he helped pioneer the use of social media within the Canadian viceregal community. He has a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Ryerson University and currently works in the Ontario Public Service.

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.

Mary Dawson, CM, KC (Ottawa)

Mary Dawson

Mary Dawson was the Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner in Ottawa from 2007 to 2018. Prior to her appointment as Commissioner, she had a long and distinguished legal career within the Department of Justice and was Associate Deputy Minister from 1988 to 2005. She played an important role in relation to constitutional matters, including the drafting of the patriation package (Constitution Act, 1982) and all subsequent constitutional amendments and proposals. Mary Dawson was made a Queen’s Counsel in 1978 (now King’s Counsel) and was named to the Order of Canada in 2007.

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 CSE 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 The 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.

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.