May 2009

A sparkling part of Ontario history

De Beers Canada donates diamonds for refurbished legislative mace

By A. Gordon

Two spectacular diamonds serve as the mace’s crowning glory. 

Two diamonds from the De Beers Canada Victor mine have been installed in the legislative mace, presented to Parliament in a special ceremony at the Ontario Legislature on March 24. The mace was scheduled to undergo replating and repair when the House adjourned for the winter recess in December 2008.

The setting, designed by De Beers jewelry award winner, Reena Ahluwalia, features one cut and polished diamond and another in its natural rough form. A third polished stone was donated for a display to be created later this year in the Ontario legislature building. The three diamonds were among the first commercially produced from the Victor mine, the province’s first diamond mine.

“The De Beers Canada Victor mine is extremely proud of the superior quality diamonds we produce and equally proud to be able to share them with the people of Ontario in this historic way,” said Jim Gowans, De Beers Canada president and CEO. “As Ontario’s first diamond mine, we will continue to set high goals for our team to ensure we maximize the benefits of this world-class operation for our employees, our community partners and the people of Ontario.”

No business may be conducted in the House unless the mace is present. While the Speaker is officiating, it must be in its proper place on the table before him, with its “crown” pointing towards the government of the day.

This is actually the Ontario Legislature’s third mace, which has a long and colourful history. The first mace, which was introduced to Upper Canada’s first Parliament in 1762, was captured by the Americans during the War of 1812, and not returned until 1934 by U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. It is still available for public viewing in the main lobby of the Legislative Building. The second mace was stolen in 1849 during a riot in Montreal, but was quickly returned. However, it was eventually lost to fire in 1916. The current mace was created in 1867, and was last refurbished over 100 years ago in recognition of King Edward VII’s ascension to the throne when Queen Victoria died in 1901.

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