Born in Scotland and trained as a sugar broker in London, England, Sir George Simpson (1792–1860) was unexpectedly appointed in 1820 as governor of Rupert's Land and the Indian territories, an area encompassing all of Canada from Hudson Bay to the Pacific Ocean. By his friendliness of manner, strict discipline, and vigorous and constant travel, he brought peace and prosperity to the vast empire under his control.
Simpson's explorations opened Canada from Labrador to British Columbia and from Yukon to Nunavut. He was knighted in 1841, then travelled around the world, predicting the fall of California to the United States, saving the Hawaiians from colonial occupation, and describing the mysteries of remotest Siberia. Praised as the governor who “combined the widest range of authority and the longest tenure of power ever enjoyed by one man in North America,” he stands with Sir John A. Macdonald as one of the greatest Makers of Canada.