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 69 stories about “Peers
Joseph Howe by William James Topley. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Joseph Howe

December 13, 1804 – June 1, 1873

A brilliant journalist and scholar, Joseph Howe of Nova Scotia, was the leader of the anti-Confederation forces in his home province.

Sir George Étienne Cartier by Notman & Son. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

George-Étienne Cartier and Sir John A. (colleagues)

1815-1873

Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir George-Étienne Cartier were close friends, political colleagues, and shared a vision of a continental Canada.

Hon. John A. Macdonald, Hon. George-Etienne Cartier and Lieutenant-Colonel John G. Irvine. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

George-Étienne Cartier and Sir John A. (confederation)

1815-1873

Macdonald and Cartier were united in their commitment to integrate the Maritimes into Confederation at the Charlottetown Conference (1864).

George Brown addressing an audience during an election campaign by Charles William Jefferys. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

George Brown and Sir John A.

November 29, 1818 - May 9, 1880

Sir John A. had no greater foe than Liberal – or Reform as the party was known in the early days – leader George Brown of Toronto.

Eliza Grimason. Source: Newland family private collection, reprinted in Lena Newman, The John A. Macdonald Album, Tundra Books, 1974.

Eliza Grimason

1821-1916

Of the several women in John A. Macdonald's life, Eliza Grimason stands out first as a client and later as a confidante and close friend.

Eliza Grimason. Source: Newland family private collection, reprinted in Lena Newman, The John A. Macdonald Album, Tundra Books, 1974.

Eliza Grimason's Influence

1821-1916

In an age of female subservience, Eliza Grimason was a populist leader in the Kingston community. As a Protestant Irishwoman, she was a member of St.

Helen Shaw Macdonald circa 1850. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

James Macdonald's Death

1822

John A. Macdonald was the middle child of five born to Hugh and Helen (Shaw) Macdonald. He had an older brother who died in infancy.

Sir Alexander Campbell. Source: Library and Archives Canada

Sir Alexander Campbell

March 9, 1822 - May 24, 1892

Sir John A. had no closer confidant in Kingston than his fellow Father of Confederation, Sir Alexander Campbell.

George Mackenzie's Death

1834

George Mackenzie dies suddenly during the 1834 cholera outbreak. John A. grieves the death of the man who had taught him so much and gave him his start in life.

Oliver Mowat. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Oliver Mowat and John A.

1836-1840

Unlike John A. Macdonald, Oliver Mowat is quiet, sober and deeply religious.

Sir Alexander Campbell. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Alexander Campbell Becomes John A.'s Second Articling Student

1839

In 1839 Alexander Campbell becomes Macdonald's second articling student (Oliver Mowat is his first). Four years later Macdonald makes him a junior partner.

Sir John A. and Queen's University

December 18 1839 - October 16, 1841

On Dec. 18, 1839, the day after the bill was introduced to the Legislature for the establishment of a Presbyterian college to train ministers, a meeting was held in St.

Henry Smith Jr. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Henry Smith Jr.

1840-1850

Henry Smith Jr. is an immigrant from England and three years older than John A. Macdonald.

Confederation Celebrations in Market Square on July 1, 1867. Source: Queen's University Archives.

John A.'s Community Presence

1841-1849

Apart from is career in law and politics, Macdonald was a visible and active presence in 19th century Kingston society.

Statement of Marriage between John A. Macdonald and Isabella Clark. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

John A. Marries Isabella Clark

September 1, 1843

In the summer of 1843, John A.'s cousin, Isabella, arrived in Kingston from England. Before long, Macdonald was courting her.

Telegraph poles (loaded with wires). Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Telegraph Arrives in Kingston

1847

In 1847 the communications revolution spurred by the invention of the telegraph arrived in Kingston and decorated the landscape with the required poles and cables.

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.

John Rose by William James Topley. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

John A. and John Rose Go Bar-Hopping in the USA

1850

A long-time confidant and drinking companion of John A. is Montreal lawyer and businessman John Rose.

Portrait of James Williamson by William Sawyer circa 1887. Source: Queen's Archives.

James Williamson Marries Margaret Macdonald

October 19, 1852

Married to Macdonald's sister Margaret, James Williamson is far more than a brother-in-law to John A.

Mr. Joseph Pope by William James Topley. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Sir Joseph Pope

August 16, 1854 - December 2, 1926

Sir Joseph Pope was the famous – and loyal – private assistant to Sir John A. Macdonald during the Father of Confederation's latter years.

John Stephen Willison by Unknown - The Year book of Canadian art. 1912/13. Source: University of Toronto, Roberts Collection.

Sir John Willison

November 9, 1856 - May 27, 1927

Sir John Willison was one of the leading journalists of his time and he chronicled the lives, legacies and politics of Sir John A. Macdonald and Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

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.

The view from the tower of St. Mary's Cathedral, 279 Johnson St., Kingston, ON circa 1916 by Clifford M. Johnston. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Edward Horan Appointed as the Roman Catholic Bishop of Kingston

January 8, 1858 - June 16, 1874

Edward Horan is appointed Roman Catholic bishop of Kingston in 1858, and soon makes the acquaintance of Macdonald. Both men are shrewd politicians.

From oil painting by F. A. Pratt, reprinted in Lena Newman, The John A. Macdonald Album, Tundra Books, 1974

Eliza Grimason and the Grimason House

1860

John A.'s closest female companion in Kingston is Eliza Grimason. She and husband Henry first rent, then buy Grimason House (now the Royal Tavern) from John A. in the early 1860s.

Sir Henry Smith. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Henry Smith Jr.

1860-1867

According to biographer Richard Gwyn, Macdonald and Henry Smith Jr.

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.

Oliver Mowat. Source: The Canadian Portrait Gallery, Project Gutenberg Canada.

The Battle for the 1861 Election

1861

In the 1861 general election, John A. found himself in a tight battle for his Kingston seat, running against his former schoolmate Oliver Mowat.

Helen Shaw Macdonald circa 1850. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Death of Helen Macdonald

October 24, 1862

Helen Macdonald died on October 24, 1862 and was buried in the Cataraqui Cemetery.

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.

Empire Life (former Commercial Bank), 259 King St. East, Kingston, ON. Source: City of Kingston.

John A's Finances

1864-1869

John A.'s long-term law partner A.J. Macdonell died in 1864 and it is soon discovered that the law practice is insolvent.

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.

Lady Agnes Macdonald circa 1873 by William Topley. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Agnes Macdonald's Influence on Sir John A.'s Mood

July 7, 1867

Not surprisingly, Sir John A put in some long hours at the office. In her diary a week after Confederation, Agnes Macdonald gives us an insider’s view of his mood and their relationship.

John Sandfield Macdonald by William James Topley. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

John Sandfield Macdonald

July 16, 1867 – December 20, 1871

Also hailing from eastern Ontario, John Sandfield Macdonald was Ontario's first Premier. His service to his province has been overshadowed by Sir John A.

Thomas D'Arcy McGee circa 1861 by Ellisson & Co. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

D'Arcy McGee

1868

While Sir John A. Macdonald is often, rightly, called the architect of Confederation, D'Arcy McGee is known as Confederation's poet.

Funeral Procession of the late Hon. Thomas D'Arcy McGee. Montreal, Canada. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

D'Arcy McGee Is Murdered

April 7, 1868

On April 7, 1868, John A.'s trusted colleague, drinking partner and old friend D'Arcy McGee was murdered. McGee had been at the parliamentary debates until well after midnight. At 2 a.m.

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.

Sir George-Étienne Cartier, after 1882. Montréal, Quebec. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

British Columbia Becomes the Sixth Canadian Province

July 20, 1871

In 1871, British Columbia became the sixth Canadian province, joining Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba.

Edward Blake by Edmund Wyly Grier. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Edward Blake

December 20, 1871 – October 25, 1872

For much of the time Sir John A. Macdonald served as Prime Minister, the brilliant Edward Blake sat across from him in the Commons as Leader of the Opposition.

Alexander Mackenzie. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Alexander Mackenzie

1873 - 1878

Alexander Mackenzie, Canada's second Prime Minister and the first Liberal leader to hold the post of Prime Minister, has the unique distinction of being the only political leader to have defeated S

George Monro Grant, Principal of Queen's University. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

George Monro Grant

1877–1902

George Monro Grant, who led Queen’s for decades as Principal, was one of the most important non-political leaders of his time and knew Sir John A. Macdonald well.

Sir Charles Tupper and Hugh John MacDonald by William Notman & Son. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

John A. and Charles Tupper Have a Falling Out

1880-1890

Despite the fact that they are intimate political allies, for close to two years Macdonald and Tupper rarely speak to each other.

Sir George Étienne Cartier by Notman & Son. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

George-Étienne Cartier on His Friendship with Sir John A.

1885

Following Macdonald's appointment as Prime Minister in 1867, Cartier was his constant supporter until his own death in 1873.

Mackenzie Building at the Royal Military College (RMC), Kingston, Ontario with Fort Frederick in the foreground. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Major-General D.R. Cameron

1888-1896

Sir Charles Tupper makes frequent trips to Kingston to campaign for Macdonald, but also to visit his daughter Emma and her husband Major-General D. R.

Eliza Grimason. Source: City of Kingston.

Sir John A. Lays the Cornerstone for the Kingston Dry Dock

1890

One year before his death, Sir John A. laid the cornerstone for a dry dock in Kingston. According to biographer E. B.

Eliza Grimason. Source: City of Kingston Collection.

Eliza Grimason Buried Near Sir John A.

1891 - 1916

Sir John A. Macdonald died in June of 1891 and was buried in Cataraqui Cemetery.

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

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.

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.

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.