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Vincent Christopher MacDonald was born in Mulgrave, Nova Scotia, in 1897 to Archibald and Clara MacDonald. He was educated at Dalhousie University where he received a B.A. (1930) and LL.B. (1920). In 1927 MacDonald married his first wife, Emily O’Connor, with whom he had three children, David, Peter, and Paul. After Emily’s death in 1937, MacDonald married Hilda Durney in 1938 and had two children, Brian Henry and Alan Hugh.
MacDonald led a prestigious career as a lawyer, educator, and civil servant. Called to the bars of Nova Scotia and Ontario in 1920 and 1927 respectively, he practiced law in both provinces; worked as a law clerk in the Nova Scotia Legislature; was a research assistant to the Royal Commission on Maritime Claims; served as secretary to Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King in 1927; and lectured law at Dalhousie from 1920-1926 and Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto from 1929-1930. In 1930 he returned to Dalhousie to teach law and in 1934 became Dean of the Law School. He also served as Assistant Deputy Minister of Labour of Canada from 1942-1944. He remained at Dalhousie until 1950 when he was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. MacDonald worked with numerous boards and commissions throughout his career, and even served as an advisor to the Newfoundland government on union with Canada in 1948. He published numerous papers, frequently on topics related to constitutional and labour law, and edited a variety of publications, including the Dominion Law Reports and Canadian Criminal Cases (1924-1934). He also served on the board of governors of Dalhousie University and received honorary degrees from St. Francis Xavier, British Columbia, Dalhousie, and Columbia. MacDonald died in 1964.