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 11 stories about “Myths and Realities
Sir John A Macdonald circa 1842 or 1843. Artist unknown. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

A Man of His Time

1815-2015

The bicentenary of John Alexander Macdonald's birth in 2015 has prompted many assessments of his life, legacy and role. Some have focussed on him as an iconic figure in the national history.

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.

Portrait of Isabella Clark by William Sawyer. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Isabella Macdonald's Health Takes a Turn for the Worse

1845-1857

While Macdonald was away for weeks of time in Montreal (then the seat of parliament for the Province of Canada), Isabella began suffering from an illness that left her plagued with aches, pains and

Kingston Penitentiary circa 1906. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

George Brown's 1849 Report on Kingston Penitentiary

1849-1856

Macdonald denounces George Brown's 1849 report on Kingston Penitentiary and accuses Brown of bias. His defence of warden Smith, father of his close friend Henry Smith, is unwavering.

The Ploughboy off Lonely Island, Georgian Bay, by William Armstrong. Source: Toronto Public Library, Baldwin Collection.

A Near Fatal Trip on the Ploughboy

July 1, 1859

In the summer of 1859, John A. was aboard the Ploughboy heading across Georgian Bay when the ship's engine failed.

Nicholas Flood Davin, M.P. Source: William James Topley, Library and Archives Canada.

Report on Industrial Schools for Indians and Half Breeds

1879

In 1879, Nicolas Flood Davin reported to the Canadian government recommendations on First Peoples education and assimilation.

First Peoples children holding letters that spell "Goodbye" at Fort Simpson Indian Residential School in the North West Territories circa 1922. Source: J.F. Moran / Library and Archives Canada.

Residential Schools

1883 - 1996

In 1883, Macdonald supported the implementation of government-funded residential schools.

Kingston Dry Dock. Source: Marine Museum Kingston.

Macdonald Gives Kingston a Dry Dock

1891

In what will be his final election campaign, Sir John A. gives Kingston the gift of a new dry dock. Mixing business, scandal and politics, his team arranges for a fictious contractor, Andrew C.

First Nations' children holding letters that spell "Goodbye" at Fort Simpson Indian Residential School in the North West Territories circa 1922. Source: J.F. Moran / Library and Archives Canada.

Truth and Reconciliation Commission

June 8, 2008

On June 8, 2008, the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement organized the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.

Residential school in Resolution N.W.T. Source: Canada Dept of Mines and Technical Surveys, Library and Archives Canada.

2008 Apology for Residential Schools

June 11, 2008

Although the federal government apologized for their involvement in the development of residential schools in 2008, there remains little ongoing effort from the government in supporting survivors a