Wednesday, January 11, 2012

John A Macdonald's Birthday

It’s John A’s birthday today (or some contend yesterday) – in 3 more years he’ll be 200, well, you know what I mean. Remember, parties are my thing. In Today in Canadian History they have a 2 part interview with Richard Gwyn whose 2nd volume of his great biography on John A was released this year.

The intro to John A, before the interview with Richard Gwyn, talks of Confederation – and how boring that time was. I beg to differ there – the Confederation Conferences started in Charlottetown at the end of August beginning of September 1864 – with $13,000 worth of champagne on the Canadian’s steamship the Queen Victoria where the Fathers of Confederation had to stay because all the hotels were booked with circus goers. The Slaymaker and Nichols Olympic Circus had arrived 2 days before the Conference was to begin – and everyone was far more interested in it than in the Conference, and so no one had booked any rooms for the famous Fathers (not that they were that famous then, still - ). The weather was unusually warm and sunny, there were late lunches of Island delicacies and moonlit strolls along the north shore beaches ... Who knew that Canada started with a circus? And it was more or less the ones who drank the copious amounts of champagne on the Queen Victoria that agreed a federation of the British Provinces  was a good idea. And, as Gwyn points out, quoting Joseph Pope, Macdonald ‘knew every chord of the human heart’. Macdonald’s skills along with the Confederation parties, created Canada.
(He did doodle though, so maybe some aspects were boring?)
from the LAC Fonds Sir John A. Macdonald [document textuel] (MG26-A)

And for all of you in Saskatchewan, Richard Gwyn will be reading and signing at McNally Robinson in Saskatoon, this Mon Jan 16, 2012, 7:30 pm.
      And my personal favourite picture of John A.  This evening there will be gin.
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