The Royal TreatmentWhat can you discover about the role of the lieutenant-governor from the Royal BC Museum collections?

What would you do if you found a box in an abandoned building and inside the box was an old-fashioned, official-looking uniform? Would you take it home? What if you discovered that the garment was priceless, that it had actually belonged to the lieutenant-governor of British Columbia, Robert McInnes, from 1897 and 1900?

This really happened to an unsuspecting British Columbian, who has since donated the uniform to the Royal BC Museum. The McInnes uniform has now been restored and is in the museum collection (read the full story of its recovery and conservation here). This is just one of the stories about the role of lieutenant-governors from the Royal BC Museum collections.

Since 1871, when British Columbia joined the Dominion of Canada as a province, lieutenant-governors have provincially represented the Crown (Her Majesty the Queen). Each lieutenant (pronounced left-tenant in Canada) governor normally serves for a term of about five years.

The lieutenant-governor works in partnership with the Legislative Assembly. Citizens across the province elect Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs), the lieutenant-governor appoints the Premier and swears-in members of the Executive Council. The Governor-General (the Crown’s national representative) upon the advice of the Prime Minister, appoints the lieutenant-governor of each province.

Our collections hold and protect images, records and artifacts from the office of the lieutenant-governor. They also tell stories. What can you learn about the role of lieutenant-governors from the Royal BC Museum collections?


Read about Iona Campagnolo’s specially designed lieutenant-governor uniform and BC’s first marriage license signed by the first lieutenant-governor.



Watch video of Lieutenant-Governor Bell-Irving’s swearing-in ceremony in 1978. Royal BC Museum Curator, Lorne Hammond, tells the story of Lieutenant-Governor Barnard’s influential family.



View images of past lieutenant-governors, significant documents they have signed and images of Lieutenant-Governor McInnes’ recovered uniform.