Kwong ends term as lieutenant-governor

Alberta's lieutenant-governor, Norman L. Kwong, finished his five-year term Monday at a special ceremony honouring him for his work with the province.
Lt.-Gov Norman Kwong looks at his official portrait after it was unveiled at the Alberta legislature on Monday. ((CBC))
Alberta's lieutenant-governor, Norman L. Kwong, finished his five-year term Monday at a special ceremony honouring him for his work with the province.

Kwong, 79, was the province's 16th lieutenant-governor, serving from 2005 to 2010, and the first of Asian heritage.

"I was deeply honoured by such a rare opportunity to serve the province and country," Kwong said Monday during the unveiling of his official portrait at the legislature building.

Created by Tag Kim, the portrait reflects Kwong's many achievements.

It hangs alongside other portraits of others who held the post, including George Bulyea, who became the province's first lieutenant-governor in 1905.

"[Kwong's] portrait captures the spirit of a man who has served this province with dignity, grace and, at times, humour," Speaker Ken Kowalski said in statement.

In 1948 at age 18, Kwong became the first Chinese-Canadian to play in the Canadian Football League, where he won four Grey Cups, one with the Calgary Stampeders and three with the Edmonton Eskimos.

Kwong, the youngest player ever to have won a Grey Cup, was nicknamed the "China Clipper"  for his heritage and agility on the football field.

Stayed involved in sports

After leaving the league, he had a successful career in real estate and was part-owner of the National Hockey League's Calgary Flames when they won a Stanley Cup in 1989.

Kwong also ran the Stampeders for a while. Some credited him with turning around the franchise with moves such as hiring coach Wally Buono.

Kwong was inducted into the CFL Hall of Fame in 1969, the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1975. In 1998, he was named a member of the Order of Canada.

Retired colonel Donald Stewart Ethell will be sworn in as Alberta's newest lieutenant-governor on Tuesday.