Lincoln Alexander goes to Toronto for the last time

Lincoln Alexander was taken to Toronto Sunday, where he will lie in State at Queens Park until Monday night. He will lie at Hamilton City Hall from Oct. 23 - 25.
Lincoln Alexander's wife, Marni Beal, at her late husband's funeral procession. Alexander passed away Friday at the age of 90. (Adam Carter/CBC)

A somber crowd watched as former Ontario lieutenant-governor Lincoln Alexander left Hamilton for Toronto Sunday morning.

Police officers from Hamilton and Toronto escorted Alexander's body from Hamilton to the provincial legislature in Toronto, where he will lie in state until Monday night.

He will return to Hamilton Monday night and lie in State at Hamilton City Hall Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

A funeral is scheduled Friday at Hamilton Place.

Alexander's wife, Marni Beal, personally thanked each police officer for being there for the escort.

Beal said he died peacefully at about 8:15 a.m. Friday. He was 90.

She was beside him at Hamilton General Hospital when he died.

"He was sleeping and the breath just went out of him," she said.

Alexander was the country's first black member of Parliament, elected to the House of Commons in 1968 as the Progressive Conservative candidate for Hamilton West.

He was re-elected in 1972, 1979 and 1980. He was the country's labour minister from 1979 to 1980 and served in the House of Commons until 1985.

That year, Alexander was appointed Ontario's 24th lieutenant governor. He held the post until 1991, focusing on youth and education.

"At a time when racism was endemic in Canadian society, he broke through barriers that treated visible minorities as second-class citizens, strangers in their own land," said Lieutenant Governor David Onley.

"Lincoln Alexander's whole life was a rebuke to those who would equate ability with skin colour."

The public will be able to pay their respects at the lobby of the main legislative building at Queen's Park starting on Sunday from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., and again on Monday beginning at 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.

For more photos of Lincoln Alexander's funeral procession, visit the CBC Hamilton Facebook page here.