A State Funeral Will Be Held in Memory of the Right Honourable John Napier Wyndham Turner

News release

OTTAWA, September 22, 2020

The Government of Canada will hold a state funeral for the Right Honourable John Napier Wyndham Turner, who passed away on September 19, 2020.

A church service will be held on October 6, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. at St. Michael’s Cathedral Basilica (65 Bond Street) in Toronto. The ceremony will strictly follow public health COVID-19 protocols on mask wearing, sanitizing, physical distancing and congregating.

The church service is by invitation only. At the request of the family, there will be no public lying in state or lying in repose.

The Government of Canada has proceeded with a half-masting of the National Flag of Canada to honour the memory of Mr. Turner. Flags are at half-mast on all federal buildings and establishments in Canada, including the Peace Tower in Ottawa.

On the evening of September 19, 2020, the Great Bell in the Peace Tower tolled 91 times—each ring representing a year in the life of the former politician.

Canadians are invited to visit the commemorative webpage and learn more about the life and times of Mr. Turner. They can also share their messages of sympathy in the online book of condolences.

The Right Honourable John Turner was Canada’s 17th Prime Minister and served from June 30 to September 17, 1984. An accomplished lawyer and politician, Mr. Turner was recognized for his personal integrity and commitment to democracy. Through three decades of public service as a cabinet minister, Leader of the Opposition, and Prime Minister of Canada, he was tirelessly devoted to upholding Canadian values and principles.

Quick facts

  • Although the Basilica can hold up to 1,600 people, due to public health COVID-19 protocols, only a limited number of guests can be invited. Guests are selected by the family. 

  • In accordance with the family’s wishes, the burial will take place in private, and no reception will follow the church service.

  • Mr. Turner’s family appreciates all the expressions of support and condolences and asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the World Wildlife Fund Canada and the Lake of the Woods Water Sustainability Foundation.

Associated links


For more information (media only), please contact:

Media Relations
Canadian Heritage

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