Sir John A Bicentennial

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The City of Kingston would like to acknowledge the generous contribution from the Department of Canadian Heritage in support of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commemoration.

As a Father of Confederation and Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald has had a lasting impact on how we view ourselves as Canadians. 2015 marks the bicentenary of his birth and the City of Kingston has planned a number of projects, programs and events throughout the year to mark the occasion and start a conversation.

Arguably, no city has a greater claim to Macdonald than Kingston and 2015 offers a unique opportunity to explore the man and his life, as a new Canadian, a Kingston resident, a practising lawyer and City alderman as well as a lightning rod for debate.

For more information about other Sir John A. Macdonald events happening in Kingston throughout 2015, please visit

City projects, programs and events:

A new Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial logo

On January 11, 2014 the City unveiled a specially designed Bicentennial logo that combines a number of key elements, including an image of Sir John A. Macdonald himself based on the well-known portrait that hangs in Kingston City Hall. This logo references the corporate motto "where history and innovation thrives" and is presented alongside the official City of Kingston logo to highlight the close relationship between Macdonald and the city he called home.

Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial commemoration weekend

The weekend of January 9-11, 2015 featured a number of events presented by the City of Kingston. The support of Manulife Financial, Queen's University, and Empire Life, along with numerous individuals and organizations throughout the community helped to make the weekend a success. The City of Kingston presented The Empire Life Great Debate at the Grand Theatre on January 9 and  Sir John A. Bicentennial Day - Mayor's Welcome,  Manulife Bicentennial Birthday Bash and evening fireworks.

Update TODS Highway Signage

The City has completed a refresh of the bilingual TODS (Tourism-Oriented Directional Signage) on Highway 401 that promote Kingston as the first capital of the Dominion of Canada and as the hometown of Canada's first Prime Minister. These new signs are expected to be in place by the summer of 2015.

Redevelopment of Sir John A. Macdonald Monument in City Park

Work has already been completed to restore the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald in City Park and additional landscaping, lighting and interpretation is now complete. A new Kingston Remembers Plaque was installed in April 2015 that shares information about the life and legacy of Sir John A. Macdonald.

Launch of "In Sir John A.'s Footsteps" as a mobile app

The popular walking tour that exists in printed form is currently being redeveloped and refreshed as a mobile application in both English and French that can be accessed using Android and Apple devices. The app will launch in the summer of 2015.

‘Sir John A. Macdonald's Kingston' exhibit at Kingston City Hall

A special temporary exhibit commemorating Sir John A. Macdonald's birth will be opened in City Hall in time for the bicentennial birthday celebration on January 11, 2015. Through archival images and artefacts, this small display will examine the former prime minister's connections with Kingston as a child, student, lawyer, businessman, Alderman, Member of Parliament and community member. An accompanying brochure will also highlight other objects in the civic collection not on display in the show. This display will be place throughout the bicentennial year.

One-time targeted funding through City of Kingston Heritage Fund

One-time, bicentennial project funding has been made available to the Kingston community through the newly-established City of Kingston Heritage Fund administered by the Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries and Historic Sites.  The deadline for applications was August 29, 2014 and the funding was approved by Kingston City Council in support of Sir John A. Macdonald-themed exhibits, programs and events in 2015. For details on the recipients of the City of Kingston Heritage Fund please visit the Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries and Historic Sites website.

Sir John A. Macdonald Curriculum Program

The City of Kingston is currently coordinating a Grade 6, 7 & 8 Curriculum Program in honour of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial in collaboration with the Limestone District School Board, Parks Canada at Bellevue House, Kingston Frontenac Public Library, Queen's University Archives and Library, Parliament Hill/Federal House of Government and the Canadian Museum of History. Using the Inquiry Method of Engagement, teachers and students across the Kingston community have been asked to debate the question "Does Kingston need a new hero?" with a focus on Sir John A. Macdonald, his life, legacy and influence. By empowering students and teachers with a focus on student engagement, 180 students will work towards a final project to be displayed in Kingston City Hall in June 2015. You can find out more about the students' ongoing work on the Sir John A. Macdonald blog.

Citizenship Ceremony

KEYS Job Centre and the Kingston Immigration Partnership worked with the City of Kingston to welcome Minister Chris Alexander for a special Citizenship Ceremony in City Hall on January 9, 2015. Seventy-one new Canadians took part in the special event.

"Leading Change: Where History and Innovation Thrive"

Among Sir John A. Macdonald's many achievements was his ability to galvanize people and lead change in his own time. As part of the City's bicentennial programming the theme of "Leading Change" will be explored through a variety of endeavours designed to help promote Kingston as place "where history and innovation thrives."

  • Community profiles of transformational leaders:  Community profiles will be appearing in the Kingston Whig-Standard starting in May 2015 as a way to celebrate how Kingston residents are helping to lead change today through their individual efforts.
  • Stories of the City of Kingston website: A unique use of technology featuring a combination of historic themes and story locations related to Sir John A. Macdonald that can be accessed online and through mobile technology designed to engage local residents, visitors and Canadians from coast-to-coast in both official languages. This website will be launched in the fall of 2015.
  • Leading Change in the Cultural Economy: In partnership with the Kingston Arts Council, Sustainable Kingston, Downtown Kingston BIA!, Greater Kingston Chamber of Commerce, Kingston Association of Museums, Art Galleries and Historic Sites and Kingston Economic Development Corporation. A series of events are planned in 2015 including "Building Arts through Arts and Heritage" in February, a series of professional development workshops for artists in April and May, and a Business for the Arts event in May at the Tett Centre.

Expanded City-led events

Funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage is allowing multiple City departments to work together and in partnership with the community to expand City-led events throughout 2015, such as First Capital Day and Canada Day.

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