Lionel Massey

The Globe and Mail Vincent Massey Ontario
Lionel Massey
Secretary to the Governor General of Canada
In office
February 28, 1952 – September 15, 1959
Governor-GeneralVincent Massey
Preceded byH. F. G. Letson
Succeeded byEsmond Unwin Butler
Personal details
Born(1916-07-02)July 2, 1916
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
DiedJuly 28, 1965(1965-07-28) (aged 49)
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
(m. 1946)
ChildrenJane Massey
ParentsVincent Massey, father
Alice Massey, mother

Lionel Massey (July 2, 1916 – July 28, 1965) was a Canadian civil servant and dignitary, most noted for serving as Secretary to the Governor General of Canada during his father Vincent Massey's term as Governor General.[1]

Born in Toronto to Vincent and Alice Massey, he was educated at Upper Canada College and Balliol College, Oxford.[1] He served in the King's Royal Rifle Corps during World War II, during which he was injured in Greece and spent time as a German prisoner of war.[2]

He returned to Canada in 1944, and married Lilias Ahearn Van Buskirk in 1946.[3] The couple's primary residence was Batterwood House[4] in Canton, Ontario, although they travelled frequently on family business.[5]

His brother Hart also served in WWII, as a Spitfire pilot.[6]

When Vincent Massey was appointed as Governor General in 1952, he appointed Lionel as secretary; as Alice Massey had by this time died and there would be no viceregal consort, Lilias was simultaneously appointed as acting châtelaine of Rideau Hall.[7]

Following the end of Vincent Massey's term in office, Lionel was appointed as administrative director of the Royal Ontario Museum.[8] He was promoted to associate director of the institution in 1963.[9] He also served on the boards of Hart House,[10] Upper Canada College and the Stratford Festival.[1]

He died in Toronto on July 28, 1965 after suffering a stroke.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d "Lionel Massey: ROM Director Was Wounded In Greece in '41". The Globe and Mail, July 29, 1965.
  2. ^ "Lionel Massey War Prisoner; Wounded and Left in Athens". The Globe and Mail, May 14, 1941.
  3. ^ "Massey-Van Buskirk Vows Of Dominion-Wide Interest". The Globe and Mail, June 17, 1946.
  4. ^ his father's estate; see home movies of the Massey family, including Lionel, at Batterwood in 1931-32 on YouTube:
  5. ^ "Mrs. Lionel Massey Leads Busy Social Life". Ottawa Citizen, May 14, 1954.
  6. ^ see Wikipedia article on John Gillespie Magee; Stephen M. Fochuk, "Maggie's War - John Gillespie Magee's One and Only Time he engaged the Luftwaffe", Air Force Magazine, Vol. 41, No. 3, 15 December 2017, p. 44, p. 49;
  7. ^ "Death of King Affects Many World Problems, Says Vincent Massey". The Globe and Mail, February 18, 1952.
  8. ^ "Lionel Massey". The Globe and Mail, October 21, 1960.
  9. ^ "Name Swinton Head Of Ontario Museum". The Globe and Mail, June 28, 1963.
  10. ^ "Robert Gill New Director At Hart House". The Globe and Mail, September 7, 1946.