Stories

The 200 story nodes created in commemoration of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial can be searched by more than twenty themes, through the pins on the interactive map and by date on the timeline. 

You're viewing 54 stories about “International Statesman
Benjamin Disraeli circa 1878 by W. & D. Downey. Source: Mansell/Time Life Pictures/Getty Images.

Benjamin Disraeli

December 12, 1804 - April 19, 1881

Sir John A. bore an uncanny likeness to famed Victorian British Prime Minister and novelist Benjamin Disraeli.

Sir John A Macdonald circa 1888. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Patriarch of Canada

1815-2015

John A. Macdonald is rendered as the "patriarch of Canada" in an era when the concept of nation-state had not yet been articulated.

Salon Theatre's Queen Victoria (Laura Casselman) and Sir John A Macdonald (puppeteer: Mathew Hunt). Source: City of Kingston.

Queen Victoria

June 20, 1837 – January 22, 1901

Her Majesty Queen Victoria reigned during the entire period Sir John A. served as Prime Minister. She knighted the Dominion's first Prime Minister in 1867.

City of Ottawa, Canada West by Stent and Laver, circa 1860 (prior to the Parliament Buildings). Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Ottawa Becomes the Capital

January 1858

For years the seat of Parliament had been alternating every four years between Quebec City and Toronto, but this was costly and disruptive and a permanent capital was needed.

Sir Alexander Campbell. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Alexander Campbell's Political Career

1858-1864

A year after Alexander Campbell's bitter disolution of his partnership with Macdonald he is elected to Kingston City Council to represent Victoria Ward.

Charles Tupper circa 1873. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

John A. and Charles Tupper

1860-1891

As premier of Nova Scotia, Charles Tupper leads the reluctant province into Confederation in 1867, then goes on to have a long and complicated relationship with Macdonald.

The Prince of Wales. Source: Visit of His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales to the British North American provinces and United States in the year 1860, by Robert Cellem, Toronto : H. Rowsell, 1861, Robarts Library, University of Toronto. (For the online book, visit: https://archive.org/details/visitofhisroyalh00celluoft)

The Prince of Wales Visits and the Orangemen

July 23, 1860 - September 19, 1860

Queen Victoria's 18 year-old son, Albert Edward, Prince of Wales, visited the Province of Canada in 1860. John A.

Hon. John A. Macdonald, Attorney General, Canada West circa 1861. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Responsibility for the Cancellation of the Visit from the Prince of Wales Lands with John A.

August 25, 1860

Responsibility for the public debacle of the Prince of Wales' cancelled visit to Kingston was attributed to Macdonald and, despite his Orange connections, the incident threatened his candidacy in t

A picnic at Sloat's Lake near Sydenham, Township of Loughborough, 1861, by Thomas Burrowes. Source: Archives of Ontario

The Fallout of the Royal Visit

1860

Following the disastrous visit to Kingston by the Prince of Wales, The Globe accused Macdonald of incompetence.

Sir John A. Macdonald portrait by William Sawyer. Photo: Chris Miner. Source: City of Kingston.

Sir John A.'s Portrait in Kingston's City Hall

1863

Painted by well-known photographer and portrait artist William Sawyer in 1863 (four years prior to Confederation), the full length portrait potrays the yet-to-be-knighted John A.

William MacDougall by Topley Studio. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

William MacDougall Attends the Gettysburg Address

November 19, 1863

Canada was represented on the platform at Gettysburg when Abraham Lincoln delivered what is probably the most famous speech in American history, the Gettysburg Address, in November of 1863.

First page of text inside the leather-bound copy of the British North America Act, March 29, 1867. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

John A. Writes Much of the British North America Act

1864-1867

While many students of law, who later become lawyers, study and read a great deal about the constitution, John A.'s legal training proved particularly relevant in the run-up to Confederation.

Title Page of the 72 Resolutions of the Quebec City Conference, October 10, 1864 with doodles by Sir John A. Macdonald. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

John A. at the Quebec Conference

October 1864

It was at the Quebec Conference that Frances Monck, the governor general's niece, noted that Macdonald was always drunk and that he had been found in his hotel room, with a rug thrown over his nigh

Delegates at the Quebec Conference, 1864. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Quebec Conference

October 10, 1864

On October 10, 1864, a second conference, the Quebec Conference, was held in Quebec City. For two weeks Sir John A. rallied the separate parties with impassioned speeches.

The Fathers of Confederation at the London Conference, 1866. Source: Library and Archives Canada

The British North America Bill

December 4, 1866 - July 1, 1867

A final Confederation conference was held in London, England on December 4, 1866 at the Westminister Palace Hotel. The event lasted three days and no minutes were taken.

Robert Baldwin circa 1917. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Robert Baldwin

1867-1890

This great reforming leader from what is now Ontario played a key role in bringing responsible government to what is now Canada. Sir John A.

Reading the proclamation of Confederation in Market Square on July 1, 1867. Source: Queen's University Archives.

John A. Becomes Sir John A.

July 1, 1867

On the morning of July 1, 1867, the first Dominion Day, John A. received word that he had been granted a knighthood. He was now officially Sir John A. Macdonald, and Agnes was Lady Macdonald.

A Transcontinental Nation

1867-1891

While it took the true qualities of leadership and statesmanship to bring Canada together in 1867, Sir John A. Macdonald did not stop there.

Sir John A. Macdonald circa 1883 by William James Topley. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

International Leadership

July 1, 1867 - June 6, 1891

Macdonald shared the international stage with several other internationally recognized figures in the second half of the nineteenth century including Bismarck (Germany), Garibaldi (Italy), and Linc

Sir John A. Macdonald circa 1883 by William James Topley. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

International Presence

July 1, 1867 - June 6, 1891

While Macdonald is feted for his local municipal presence and national role as the "Father of Canada," his presence on the international stage should also be acknowledged.

Sir John A. and the American Presidents

July 1, 1867 – June 6, 1891

Sir John A.’s time in office – and his time as leader of the opposition between 1873 and 1878 – saw him share stage in North America with seven American presidents: Andrew Johnson, Ulysses S.

Councillors of the Provisional Government of the Métis Nation. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Louis Riel and the Provisional Government

1869-1870

After failing to be consulted on the sale of Rupert's Land where they were living, the Métis, joined by settlers and First Nations peoples, formed a provisional government in 1869.

The execution of Scott. Artist: J. W. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Red River Resistance

1869-1870

Louis Riel led two resistance movements against the government of Canada while Sir John A. was prime minister.

Printed Declaration of the People of Rupert's Land and the North West, by Bruce, John and Louis Riel, opposing the establishment of Canadian authority. December 8, 1869. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Sale of Rupert's Land to Canada

March 20, 1869

After significant pressure from Great Britain, the Hudson's Bay Company sold Rupert's Land to Canada.

Councillors of the 1869 Provisional Government of the Métis Nation. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Manitoba Act

May 12, 1870

With consideration of the Métis' list of conditions, in 1870 Sir John A. and the Canadian government drafted the Manitoba Act, which created the small province of Manitoba.

"Blackwash and Whitewash" Source: A caricature history of Canadian politics: events from the union of 1841, as illustrated by cartoons from “Grip” and various other sources by J. W. Bengough, With an introd. by Rev. Grant, Toronto, Grip Print. and Pub. Co., 1886. - Toronto : P. Martin Associates, 1974

The Greatest Political Comeback

1873-1878

As Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. won an incredible – by today's standards – six majority governments.

Personnel of the North-West Mounted Police, Dawson, Yukon. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Establishment of the North-West Mounted Police

May 23, 1873

On May 23, 1873, Queen Victoria, acting on the advice of Sir John A., approved the act to establish the North-West Mounted Police, later to become the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, one of the most

Grip, Toronto. April 29, 1882.

John A and the Political Picnic

1873-1878

Considering that he won six majority mandates from Canadians as their first and founding Prime Minister, it won’t be a surprise to discover that Sir John A.

Sir John A. Macdonald political cartoon by John Wilson Bengough. First published in Grip, September 28th, 1878. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The 1878 Election

1878-1889

Whatever political power base resides at Grimason House is seriously eroded with Macdonald's 1878 defeat at the hands of the Kingston voters.

Group photograph of Metis and First Peoples prisoners from the North West Rebellion by O.B. Buell. (L-R): Ignace Poitras, Pierre Parenteau, Baptiste Parenteau, Pierre Gariepy, Ignace Poitras Jr., Albert Monkman, Pierre Vandal, Baptiste Vandal, Joseph Arcand, Maxime Dubois, James Short, Pierre Henry, Baptiste Tourond, Emmanuel Champagne, Kit-a-wa-how (Alex Cagen, ex-chief of the Muskeg Lake Indians). Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Indian Act (1885)

1885

By 1885, the Canadian government had tried to alter much of the Indian Act and remained unresponsive to the calls by the Métis for negotiations regarding the conditions they had made in 1869.

Hector Langevin circa 1873 by William James Topley. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Hector Langevin

June 8, 1891

After the death of Cartier in the 1870s, Hector Langevin worked his hardest to fill the shoes of his fallen friend as Sir John A.'s leading partner in French Canada.

Sir John A. Macdonald's funeral procession on Parliament Hill, Ottawa, June 1891. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Wilfrid Laurier's Eulogy to Sir John A.

June 8, 1891

In his eulogy to Sir John A., Wilfrid Laurier told the House of Commons, "it is almost impossible to convince the unwilling mind that Sir John Macdonald is no more, that the chair which we now see

Sir John Abbott. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Sir John Abbott

June 16, 1891 – November 24, 1892

Sir John Abbott was a senior member of Sir John A.'s cabinets. Upon Sir John A.'s death in 1891 the Governor General chose Abbott to be the Father of Confederation's successor.

Sir John A. Statue. Photo: Alexander Gabov. Source: City of Kingston.

Sir John A. Statue in City Park

October 23, 1895 - present day

There are numerous statues of Sir John A. Macdonald across Canada. The statue in Kingston's City Park is a full-length bronze depiction of Sir John A.

Nellie McClung by Cyril Jessop. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Voting Rights for Women

1921-1960

While it wasn't until the 1921 that some women were granted the right to vote and not until 1960 that all Canadian women had the right to vote in federal elections, Macdonald was the first national

Visit to Canada of Rt. Hon. Stanley Baldwin, Prime Minister of Great Britain ((L-R): H.R.H. Prince George; H.R.H. the Duke of Kent; Rt. Hon. W.L. Mackenzie King; Rt. Hon. Stanley and Mrs. Baldwin) by John G. Dickson. Library and Archives Canada.

UK Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin Visits Sir John A.'s statue

1927

Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Stanley Baldwin visited Sir John A. Macdonald's statue in 1927 in Kingston to pay homage to Canada's first and founding Prime Minister.

Sir John's Study at Earnscliffe in “The Dominion Illustrated,” 20 June 1891. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

British High Commissioners to Canada

1930 - present

Since 1930, British High Commissioners to Canada have had to learn a great deal about Sir John A. Macdonald.

Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King places a wreath during an event in Kingston, Ontario, on June 7, 1941, to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of Sir John A. Macdonald's death. Source: Queen's University Archives.

Prime Minister Mackenzie King and Sir John A.

1941

Canada's longest-serving Prime Minister, Mackenzie King was a great student of the life and legacy of Sir John A. Macdonald. His father had taught Sir John A.'s son, Hugh John, law in Toronto.

Prime Minister John Diefenbaker and Sir John A.

1957-1963

Sir John A. has had no greater fan amongst his successor Prime Ministers than John Diefenbaker of Saskatchewan. Diefenbaker, Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963, often told Sir John A.

Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson and Sir John A.

1963-1968

Considered by many to be one of Canada’s greatest Prime Ministers, Lester B. Pearson led the country from 1963 until 1968.

Ontario Premier William Davis and Sir John A. Macdonald

January 11, 1965

Ontario’s Premier from 1971 until 1985, William Davis also served as a ground-breaking Ontario Minister of Education in the 1960s under Premier John Robarts.

Premier John P. Robarts Announces the Macdonald-Cartier Freeway

January 11, 1965

John P. Robarts, who celebrated his birthday on January 11 as John A. did, is widely considered one of Ontario's most successful Premiers.

The Right Honourable Kim Campbell. Portrait by Bryan Adams. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Prime Minister Kim Campbell

June 25, 1993 – November 4, 1993

Kim Campbell made history in 1993 by becoming the first woman Prime Minister of Canada. Like Sir John A. Macdonald did for a period, she also represented British Columbia in the House of Commons.

Prime Minister Brian Mulroney and Sir John A.

2008

Past Prime Ministers have honoured Macdonald’s statesmanship and vision. The Rt. Hon. Brian Mulroney, for example, who led Canada between 1984 and 1993, penned an article in tribute to Sir John A.

The Rt. Hon. Jean Chrétien reads. Source: City of Kingston.

Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and the Macdonald Bicentennial

January 11, 2015

Canada's 20th Prime Minister, Jean Chrétien, shares more than holding Canada's top political job with Sir John A. Macdonald.

The Rt. Hon. John Turner and the Hon. Sophie Kiwala at Kingston's Bicentennial Commemoration in January 2015. Photo: Tim Forbes. Source: City of Kingston.

Prime Minister John Turner and the Macdonald Bicentennial

January 11, 2015

Canada's 17th Prime Minister, John Turner, was one of the Hon. Chairs of Kingston's Macdonald Bicentennial Commemorations.

The Rt. Hon. Stephen Harper delivering the keynote address at the Sir John A. bicentennial in City Hall, Kingston, ON. Image: City of Kingston. Photo: Tim Forbes.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and Sir John A.

January 11, 2015

Stephen Harper is Canada's 22nd Prime Minister. Representing Calgary in the House of Commons, he has held Canada's top political job since 2006.

John A.'s Toronto Statue

1894 - present day

Even today Sir John A. Macdonald’s statue stands prominently in front of the Ontario Legislature in Toronto. This statue of Sir John A.