Hon. Lorna Ann Milne, nee Dennison born on December 13, 1934, in Toronto, Ontario, a Canadian Senator from 1995 to 2009, passed away peacefully on March 1st, 2023, of natural causes at 88 years of age in Brampton.
Beloved wife of William Ross Milne, who served as a federal Liberal Member of Parliament in the 1970s. Loving mother to Robert (Jennifer), Jeanne, and Alec (Jocelyn). Proud Grandma to Lachlan, Madelyne, Selin and Deniz. Lorna was the daughter of Bill Dennison, former Mayor of Toronto, and Dorothy Bainbridge. She attended Jarvis Collegiate Institute in Toronto and graduated from The University of Guelph (OAC) in 1956.
After graduation, Lorna lectured in the Department of Physics at the University of Guelph. In the 1960s, after moving to Brampton, she became a political and community activist, serving as a school trustee, first on the Brampton School Board (1964-68) and then as Vice Chair of the Peel County Board of Education (1964-72). She owned Flowertown Antiques, featuring early Canadian glass. (1972-89).
She was always involved in community activities and charitable organizations, serving as President of the North Peel unit of the Canadian Cancer Society in the 1980s and as residential coordinator for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ont. She also served on the Board of the Brampton YM-YWCA, the Association now known as Community Living and as a Director of the Peel County Heritage Complex. In addition, she was a Board member of the Ontario Automobile Insurance Board. She served twice as a Census Commissioner for Statistics Canada. (1971 and 1981) Lorna founded the Brampton and District University Women’s Club and served on the Senate of the University of Guelph (1981-85).
Lorna’s passion was genealogy and researching family history. Over the years, she was involved with the Ontario Genealogical Society (OGS), and in 2002, she was named Hon. Patron of the Ont. Genealogical Society. Her other long-term hobby was collecting and researching early Canadian pressed glass. Over the years, she amassed a museum-worthy collection. She was recognized as an authority on Canadian pressed glass patterns and an active member of the Glassfax Association.
In 1995, she was appointed to the Senate on the advice of Prime Minister Jean Chretien and served with distinction. She chaired the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee. She waged a seven-year campaign (1998 to 2005) to allow historical census data to be released to the public. It culminated when Bill S-18 was passed, ensuring that all censuses conducted until 2001 would be released after 92 years. Starting with the 2006 census, all subsequent censuses will enable Canadians to decide whether or not their information is to be released.
While in the Senate, she served as Chair of the Committee on Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament when it successfully recommended the creation of the position of Senate Ethics Officer. After a long battle, she was also responsible for the legalization of hemp as an agricultural crop in 1999 which today is a major agricultural crop in many parts of Canada.
Lorna served as Senate Vice-Chair of the National Liberal Caucus from 2006–09 and the Canada-Europe Parliamentary Association President from 2004-08. In 2009, Lorna retired from the Senate upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75.
After her retirement, Lorna devoted her time to researching the Dennison, Bainbridge and Milne family genealogy. Lorna donated a 50-acre forest she and her dad planted in her youth. That land will forever be a protected forest and wetland area in Caledon. Lorna loved nature; her favourite place was at her cottage on Kasshabog Lake.
Lorna touched all who had the good fortune of meeting her. To our beloved mother, grandmother and wife, we are so glad you outlived your prediction of “popping off” in your 70s. You inspired us to be who we are and to contribute to our communities. Your lessons will live on for generations to come. Lorna was loved and admired; she will be missed more than she could ever imagine.
A celebration of Lorna’s remarkable life will be held on June 23 in Brampton at The Alderlea, 40 Elizabeth Street South Brampton Ont., L6Y 1R1 from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm with speeches at 3 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Honey Bee Research Centre at Guelph University or to the charity of your choice. She would be happy knowing bee research would continue, as she had a part in making that happen.
Click Here the Honey Bee Research Centre