Over the years some of Canada’s most distinguished citizens have served as Orillia’s guest of honour and Macdonald Dinner speaker. These have included former Premiers Bob Rae, Clyde Wells and Ernie Eves, former Prime Minister John Turner, Kingstonians Hugh Segal and Flora MacDonald, the Hon. Barbara McDougall, historian Jack Granastein and others.
I was honoured to serve as the dinner speaker myself and it was in Orillia that I chose to announce the establishment of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission.
Mr. Bremner and others in Orillia also played leading roles in organizing the Town Hall meeting at Orillia’s downtown public library in May of 2013. And if that wasn’t enough, members of the Macdonald committee in Orillia have sent the commission donations and attended events in Kingston.
So a special Sir John A. Macdonald Day thanks go out to Orillia as we prepare to mark the 199th birthday of the Father of Confederation.
Special congratulations to TV Ontario’s Steve Paikin. Mr. Paikin, who has traveled to Kingston three times to lead special Sir John A. Macdonald walking tours in recent years, was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Steve’s worthy honour was only recently announced by the Governor General of Canada.
Richard Gwyn and Alastair Sweeny, both pioneering biographers of Macdonald and Cartier respectively, debated this subject before a national audience in the pages of the Globe and Mail on January 3. Each championed the man they had written about. As both are proud friends and supporters of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission, I won’t say who I thought “won” the column debate. What I will say, however, is that all Canadians are the winners when historians of the calibre of Richard and Alastair share their views and research before modern-day Canadians. Congratulations!
Friends of Sir John A. Macdonald: Ottawa
Over the past year, and on my many trips to Ottawa, I have been working with Vivasvat Dadwal and Luke McCall on establishing a committee in the nation’s capital to lead Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial events there. One of their pair’s projects is designing a Sir John A. Macdonald walking tour around Parliament Hill. We have now modeled Viva and Luke’s walk and will be unveiling it for the public later this year.
Viva received national recognition over the Christmas holidays when it was announced she had been nominated by Samara, a respected non-profit working to encourage more participation by young people in Canadian politics, to be one of their Everyday Political Citizen Project’s inaugural winners.
This project honours what is calls the “unsung heroes” who are busy re-defining Canadian politics.
PostMedia had just reported on Viva’s nomination. During her interview, Viva made a specific point of mentioning her work on Sir John A.’s Bicentennial.
“I’m inspired by what he did to bring Canada together. I’m hoping to see how Canadians can start identifying with this man … unifying immigrants, young people and aboriginal communities to continue to build Canada, because history generates identity,” said Dadwal.
For the full story see: http://o.canada.com/uncategorized/1230-samara-heroes-for-dec-30-papers-a-look-at-some-of-nominees-for-the-everyday-political-citizen/