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In 1887, Sir Wilfrid Laurier became the leader of the Liberal Party. During the following years he worked to build party unity. In 1896 the Liberals came to power, partly due to Laurier’s work and partly due to the disarray into which the Conservatives had been thrown in the five years after the death of Sir John A. Macdonald. Laurier’s eloquence and elegant manner made him popular with the Canadian people.
In 1905, Laurier expressed his vision for Canada : "...as the nineteenth century had been the century of the United States, so the twentieth century would be the century of Canada". Laurier served as a member of parliament for 45 years, during which time he was Prime Minister for 15 years. He was the seventh Prime Minister of Canada and the first French-speaking person to occupy that office.
Founder of the Salada Tea Company, Peter C. Larkin was instrumental in purchasing Laurier House for the Lauriers. When it passed to William Lyon Mackenzie King, Larkin invested much time and energy in fund raising for its renovations, furnishing and maintenance.
William Lyon Mackenzie, was William Lyon Mackenzie King’s maternal grandfather, first mayor of Toronto in 1834 and leader of the Upper Canada rebellion of 1837.
In 1837, Mackenzie organized his followers to march against Toronto and overthrow the government. His obj/f1/ective was to free aggrieved farmers from the yoke of Tory rule but the mismanaged marchers were unsuccessful and Mackenzie was forced to flee to the United States. Mackenzie would remain, for some, a martyr to the cause of political liberty and, for others, a traitor.