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Stop #9 – Queen’s Park Circle

Return to the Macdonald Statue

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Statue of Sir John A. Macdonald
Statue of Sir John A. Macdonald

Macdonald fought his last fight in the election of March 1891, in which the Liberals called for free trade with the United States. He was sick and tired through most of that campaign, and though he won it handily, it brought him to his knees.

Two months later, Macdonald suffered a slight stroke. On May 29, he had another stroke that robbed him of his speech. He died a week later, in the evening of June 6, 1891.

There was a great state funeral held for Macdonald in Ottawa and he was buried in Cataraqui Cemetery, near Kingston, beside his parents, his first wife, his sisters, and his first child who had died in the 1840s.

Sir John A. Macdonald
Sir John A. Macdonald Credit: Library and Archives Canada

This brings our tour to an end with a plea for you to consider this remarkable life and career. Macdonald was not perfect. He made many mistakes, but his accomplishments were numerous and we stand here today as the heirs to some of his best and most ambitious ideas. Macdonald also failed on occasions. At the height of the CPR Scandal in November 1873, he gave a speech to the House of Commons pleading for some forgiveness:

“I have fought the battle of Confederation, the battle of Union, the battle of the Dominion of Canada. I throw myself upon this House; I throw myself upon this country. I throw myself upon posterity, and I know that notwithstanding the many failings of my life, I shall have the voice of this country and this House rallying around me. And, if I am mistaken in that, I can confidently appeal to a higher court—to the court of my own conscience and to the court of posterity. I leave it this House with every confidence. I am equal to either fortune.”

That session of parliament is long gone. You are now the court of posterity he was refering to in his speech. How would you judge Sir John A. Macdonald?

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