Common menu bar links

Sir Wilfrid Laurier National Historic Site of Canada

The One-Time Model Student Turns Liberal Polemicist

Black and white picture of the young Wilfrid Laurier. Wilfrid Laurier as a preparatory school student
© Collection du Musée Laurier

Wilfrid Laurier continued his education at the Collège de L'Assomption, a preparatory school. Following graduation as class valedictorian, he enrolled at the Law Faculty of McGill University. Upon completing his studies in 1864, he was admitted to the bar that same year.

Wilfrid Laurier practised law in Montreal for a few years. During this period, he frequented Montreal's liberal circles and, as a reporter and orator, he took part in the political debates of the time. However, his fragile health prompted him to leave the city. Upon being nominated editor of Le Défricheur, a newspaper, he moved to the town of L'Avenir. Not long afterwards, he moved again, this time to Arthabaska, where he settled permanently. As director of a "rouge" (i.e., secular, progressive-minded) newspaper, he energetically combated Confederation in 1867. The impassioned idealist of the time was far from imagining that one day he would himself reach his own pinnacle of glory as Prime Minister of this same Confederation.