On Jan. 10 it was the 200th anniversary of the birth of the first prime minister of Canada, probably the leading nation-building spirit behind the founding of our country.
There are many things that are good about the founder of our beloved country, and there are other things which in retrospect are not so good. It is these parts of our history that cause many to say Sir John A. was a bigot, Sir John A. was a drunk, Sir John A. was a politician who only believed in England, and more.
The truth is that Sir John A. MacDonald was a product of the times. He was a politician, but he was also a human being who came along and helped bring about this great country called Canada as we know it. I do not condone his racial views or financial dealings. All I am saying is let history be the judge of this man. He did try to unite the country, from sea to sea, and from the north to the south – is anyone without fault?
I write as an amateur historian who wants to know whether the people of our area, the East End of Toronto, should recognize this person, the first prime minister of Canada, with some type of tangible monument. Should we name a park after him? Name a street after him? Should we do nothing?
Sir John A. came to this area in 1878, making an hours-long speech via telegraph from Victoria Park, where the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant now stands. Many say that speech won him the election.
I now propose to you – citizens, teachers, legislators, children, and all Canadians in the Beach – shall we honour Sir John A. MacDonald with a fitting tribute such as a historic plaque on the grounds of the R.C. Harris plant?
Please let me know what you think we, as Canadians, should do. I would like to know, as an amateur historian and also as a proud Canadian who would like to see recognition for Sir John A. MacDonald.