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 35 stories about “Politics
Kingston City Hall and the Market Battery, 1857. Source: Queen's University Archives, William Sawyer fonds.

Kingston: A Geopolitical Location

1780-1890

Following the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists (UEL) in the 1780s, sensitivity between the Americans and the British over their mutual frontier was to have implications for Kingston for the n

Dr. James Sampson Becomes Mayor of Kingston

Dr. James Sampson Becomes Mayor of Kingston

1789-1861

Born in Ireland and educated in medicine at Trinity College, Dublin, James Sampson was a surgeon and educator dedicated to public welfare in Kingston.

Henry Cassady Becomes Mayor of Kingston

Henry Cassady Becomes Mayor of Kingston

1797-1839

Henry Cassady was the first mayor of Kingston to be born locally. His United Empire Loyalist family members were among the earliest settlers of Kingston.

John Counter becomes the first Mayor of Kingston

John Counter Becomes the First Mayor of Kingston

1799-1862

John Counter, the first mayor of the newly incorporated City of Kingston in 1846, was a baker turned entrepreneur.

Thomas Kirkpatrick Becomes Mayor of Kingston in 1838 and again in 1847

Thomas Kirkpatrick Becomes Mayor of Kingston in 1838 and Again in 1847

1805-1870

Thomas Kirkpatrick, born near Dublin, Ireland, arrived in Kingston to study law and later became the town solicitor (1839-1846).

Robert Charles Archibald McLean Becomes Mayor of Kingston

Robert Charles Archibald McLean Becomes Mayor of Kingston

1811-unknown

Born in Martinique, West Indies where his Irish father was serving in the Royal Artillery, Robert Charles Archibald McLean was a physician and one of the most popular men in Kingston.

William Ford Jr. becomes Mayor of Kingston

William Ford Jr. becomes Mayor of Kingston

1811-1893

William Ford Jr. was born in Ireland and immigrated to Kingston as a young man. He was a keen and successful business owner and active member of many councils, committees and social organizations.

William Sawyer

William Sawyer

1820-1889

William Sawyer was a Canadian-born, self-taught painter and, later in his life, a photographer.

From the New Forts - Point Levi - Looking down the St. Lawrence by John Herbert Caddy circa 1841. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Kingston Bypassed: Imperial Policy and Canals

1825-1959

The St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario and their tributary rivers were corridors of movement since the prehistory of the Kingston region.

Political Tensions and the Cholera Epidemic

Political Tensions and the Cholera Epidemic

1831-1854

As the cholera epidemic grew, and Kingston’s best and brightest continued to fall victim, panic and political tensions flared.

Site of the Battle of the Windmill, Prescott. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Nils von Schoultz

1837-1838

The most prominent criminal case in Macdonald's law career involves Nils von Schoultz, leader of a band of American-based raiders who attack near Prescott during the Rebellion of 1837.

St. Helen's

St. Helen's

1838

In July 1836, St Helen’s was begun for Helen and Thomas Kirkpatrick, a member of the Family Compact and a lawyer.

Unsuccessful Invasion of Kingston

Unsuccessful Invasion of Kingston

1838

By 1838, numerous secret societies of trained and armed Americans had formed with the intention of liberating Upper Canada from British rule.

Lord Durham's Report on the Affairs of British North America

Lord Durham's Report on the Affairs of British North America

1838-1839

John George Lambton, 1st Earl of Durham, arrived in the Canadas in 1838 to investigate, on behalf of Britain, the causes of the rebellions.

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.

Kingston Named the Capital of Canada

Kingston Named the Capital of Canada

1841

As Ontario's oldest settlement and a key naval and military town, Kingston had expected to be named the capital of Upper Canada.

Decision Made to Build a Civic Building Suitable to the New Capital of Canada

Decision Made to Build a Civic Building Suitable to the New Capital of Canada

1841-1842

In 1841, the town of Kingston acquired what had been a privately owned lot at the corner of Ontario and Brock streets in an effort to gain as large a building site as possible for the proposed town

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.

Criticism of the Construction of City Hall

Criticism of the Construction of City Hall

1843

In a letter to the editor, a “Kingstonian” has some harsh words about the city hall, “now in course of erection,” including: "It is said that there are no drains sunk, nor water closets erected; th

Kingston City Hall and the Market Battery, 1857. Source: Queen's University Archives, William Sawyer fonds.

City Hall Offered to the Government of the Province of Canada, if Kingston Could Remained the Capital

1843

The city council offers -- to no avail -- their new city hall for use as a parliament building to the Canadian parliament in a desperate bid to retain Kingston as the capital city of the United Pro

Possibly the earliest photograph of John A. Macdonald, circa 1840s. Source: Library and Archives Canada

Alderman Macdonald

1843-1844

In the municipal election on March 28, 1843, Macdonald ran for his first political post and was elected to Kingston's town council. He was carried from the tavern by his supporters, atop a chair.

Kingston City Hall and Market circa 1910. Source: Archives of Ontario.

Kingston's City Hall

1844-present day

Designed by famed architect George Brown and now a National Historic Site, Kingston's majestic City Hall was completed in 1844. Even today City Hall commands the Kingston skyline.

Sir John A. Macdonald, date unknown. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The 1844 Election Platform

October 14 & 15, 1844

In 1844, an election was called in the Province of Canada. John A. stood as the Conservative candidate for Kingston. His platform was about building roads and infrastructure.

Kingston City Hall and the Market Battery, 1857. Source: Queen's University Archives, William Sawyer fonds.

Kingston at Mid-Centry: An Overview

1850 - present day

By 1850, the future of Kingston was being determined by several factors.

Crimean cannon in City Park. Source: City of Kingston.

Crimean War Cannons at the Sir John A. Statue in Kingston's City Park

1853 - present day

The two cannons flanking the Sir John A. statue in Kingston's City Park were captured in the Crimean War (1853 – 1856) as English trophies of war.

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.