Henry Nathan Jr. First Jew to Sit in the Canadian House of Commons, 1871

Henry Nathan Jr.

Henry Nathan Jr.

Values Codes I-H-E-L-P

Henry Nathan Jr. was born in London, England in 1842.

He was educated at London University College in England.

His Anglo-Jewish family was prominent in commerce and official circles. 


Henry and his father, Henry Nathan Sr,. arrived in Victoria in 1861.

Both father and son soon were established in business as importers on Wharf Street, with connections in the Hawaiian Kingdom as well as Australia and New Zealand.

They also obtained interests in property in both, Vancouver Island and British Columbia.

Henry Nathan Sr. returned to England in 1867.


Henry Nathan Jr. &  Co. were both Importers and General Merchants.


Henry Nathan Jr. first became involved in Freemasonry in 1863,

In 1869 he was elected Worshipful Master of his lodge.

In 1871, he became the first  Junior Grand Warden of the Grand Lodge of B.C.


Henry Nathan Jr. headed the Agricultural and Horticultural Society.

In 1870, he was elected member of the last Colonial Legislative Council of British Columbia, and was influential in bringing British Columbia into confederation with Canada,

In 1871. Henry Nathan Jr. became the first Jew to sit in the Canadian House of Commons.


Henry Nathan Jr. returned to London in 1876.

He passed away in 1913


General Sources:

  • Pioneer Jews of British Columbia, Cyril Leonoff, editor, Western States Jewish History, Vol. 37, Issue 3/4
  • Lured North of the 49th, Jewish Colonial Roots, by Sarah H. Tobe, Western States Jewish History, Vol. 46, Issue 2/3
  • Archives of Sarah H. Tobe, Cyril E. Leonoff, Christopher J.P. Hanna, and David Rome. 

Sarah H. Tobe is Curator of this Henry Nathan Jr. Exhibit.

Any additional information would be appreciated.

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