Bill White (Canadian politician)

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William Andrew White, III
Bill White III.jpg
Bill White, seen here in the mid-1970s.
Photo courtesy of the White family.
Personal details
Born(1915-02-07)February 7, 1915
Truro, Nova Scotia, Canada
DiedJanuary 23, 1981(1981-01-23) (aged 65)
New Zealand
Political partyCo-operative Commonwealth Federation
Spouse(s)Vivian R. Keeler
ChildrenW. Romney White, Chris White, Laurie White, Sheila White, Tim White
ResidenceScarborough, Ontario, Canada
OccupationTeacher/Composer/Choral Group Leader

William Andrew (Bill) White, III, OC (February 7, 1915 – January 23, 1981) was a Canadian composer and social justice activist, who was the first Black Canadian to run for federal office in Canada.

Family and education[edit]

He was born in 1915 in Truro, Nova Scotia, the son of Baptist minister William A. White and his wife Izie Dora (White). (They were not related before marriage.) Among his twelve siblings were internationally renowned Canadian concert singer Portia White, labour union leader and politician Jack White, and television performer Lorne White. Another sister married a Mr. Oliver, and they were the parents of Donald H. Oliver, the first black Canadian Senator.

His family moved to Halifax where his father was minister of the Church for nearly 20 years. After attending local schools, he got an education and music degree, he taught music. He was also a composer and choral group leader.

Marriage and family[edit]

Bill White and his wife had children including software designer W. Romney White, folk musician Chris White, Toronto physician Laurie White, social activist and politician Sheila White, and professional musician Tim White.

1949 federal election[edit]

White stood as the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation candidate in the Toronto electoral district of Spadina in the 1949 election, he was defeated.

Canadian federal election, 1949: Spadina
Party Candidate Votes
     Liberal David Croll 23,652
     Progressive Conservative Willard M. Box 9,407
     Co-operative Commonwealth William Andrew White 5,969

Order of Canada[edit]

Bill White was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada on December 18, 1970,[1] he was invested into the Order on March 31, 1971.[1] The appointment was for "services to the community and his contribution to better relations and understanding between people of different racial background."[1] Another honour he earned was the Scarborough Citizen of the Year in 1976.


Bill White died in New Zealand on January 23, 1981 local time (January 22 in Toronto's Eastern Time Zone).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Honors, Order of Canada". Governor General of Canada Website. Governor General of Canada. 2006-03-30. Retrieved 2009-11-16.