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Margaret Fullerton

Margaret Fullerton
Plaque no. 62
Date of plaque unveiling
7 December 2007
Speakers
John Lutman
Location
300 Dufferin Avenue, London, Ontario (present site of City Hall)
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History

Margaret A. Fullerton was one of London’s most effective and popular municipal politicians.  Born in 1909, she grew up the daughter of a clergyman, the Rev. A.E.M. Thomson.  After graduating from The University of Western Ontario, she attended the College of Education in Toronto securing a position teaching Latin at London’s Central Collegiate.  She married Edwin N. Fullerton in 1938.  Edwin died in 1970.  

Previous to her political career, she participated widely in community life especially in women’s affairs.  As a U.W.O. alumnus, she organized the Opera Workshop Society in 1950 and served as Vice-President of the University’s Women’s Club.  She was President of the Women’s Canadian Club in 1947-49 and was active also with the London Council of Women, the Western Fair Board and the I.O.D.E.

She made her greatest contributions to London affairs in the area of municipal politics.  With her election in 1953 to council as Ward 2 alderman, she became London’s first female councillor.  In 1960, she ran successfully for the Board of Control.  She sat on many council committees chairing several of them.  She gained notoriety for carefully reviewing all budgetary matters and displayed an avid interest in planning issues.  Her accomplishments were significant in their impact: the London Centennial celebrations of 1955; the establishment of the Victoria House Museum, London’s first permanent museum, in 1958; the annexation of 1961; the improved status for married women in the employ of the city; and the building of Centennial Hall as London’s Canadian Centennial project for 1967.  

While serving on Council in 1966, she accepted an appointment from Prime Minister Lester Pearson to serve on the Canadian delegation to the United Nations participating on the Committee of Trusteeship and Colonialism.  She conducted a vigorous campaign for the Liberal Party in the 1965 federal election, but suffered defeat at the hands of Conservative Jack Irvine.  Her municipal political career was terminated briefly in 1969 when she lost her seat on the Board of Control.  After 15 months, however, she returned to municipal politics in 1971 again as Controller replacing, ironically, Jack Irvine, who had resigned abruptly.  She served for only two weeks accepting an appointment by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau as a Commissioner on the newly constituted Pension Review Board.    While in Ottawa, she was active also in the Ottawa Civil Service Recreational Association.  On her retirement in 1978, she returned to London.  She died on July 27, 1991.  

Margaret Fullerton left municipal politics with a reputation as a vigorous and skilled debater.  To quote London Free Press columnist Joe McClelland, she had “the courage of her convictions and an utter contempt for political grandstanding.” 

She is buried in Woodland Cemetery, 493 Springbank Drive, London