True to his journalistic aspirations, Calvin Hobbes live tweeted both journeys. See below for some Highlights.
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This fall, members of the SALON Acting Company once again boarded VIA Rail’s The Ocean for two more successful round trips from Montréal to Halifax. The first trip saw news boyCalvin Hobbes (Anna Sudac) and Sir John’s first wife,Isabella Macdonald entertaining passengers with songs and vignettes. The second trip, Calvin Hobbes was joined by Father of Confederation, Thomas D’Arcy McGee. To the delight of all on board, the actors brought a special guest along, Sir John A. Macdonald himself, in puppet form!
True to his journalistic aspirations, Calvin Hobbes live tweeted both journeys. See below for some Highlights.
Kingston’s Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission joins celebrations as federal government unveils plans for Sir John A. Macdonald Building in Ottawa
For Immediate Release
October 10, 2013
Ottawa: Kingston lawyer Robert P. Tchegus of the law firm Cunningham Swan was a guest of honour Thursday when the Harper government unveiled the designs of the Parliament of Canada’s new Sir John A. Macdonald Building.
Tchegus was there in his role as Chair of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission’s volunteer Steering Committee.
“The Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission believes it is fitting that this beautiful building – located near Parliament Hill, where Sir John A. did so much to craft and define our country during its earliest days – will now be known as the Sir John A. Macdonald Building,” Tchegus told the audience during his address. “And if even just one young Canadian in the future notes the name of this building on the sign outside and then returns to their school library or searches the Internet for information about Sir John A., then we will all have done a good thing for Canada’s future.”
Joining Tchegus on the platform was Minister of Public Works and Government Services Diane Finley whose department is responsible for the renovation. Representatives from the Bank of Montreal and the Canadian Museum of Civilization were also part of the official party.
The former Bank of Montreal Building on Ottawa’s Wellington Street will serve as the permanent home of the Confederation Room where meetings and ceremonial events for Parliamentarians will be held. The work is scheduled to be completed in 2015, Sir John A. Macdonald’s bicentenary year.
Tchegus reminded the audience that not much time remains before Sir John A. Macdonald turns 200 in January 2015, making celebrations like Thursday’s all the more important.
“The bicentennial of Sir John A. Macdonald’s birth is now less than two years away,” he said. “This national celebration is the rarest of opportunities for Canadians, from all walks of life, to reflect on our nation’s history. It is a time to recognize the public service of those like, Sir John A., Sir Charles Tupper, George Brown and D’Arcy McGee, and others, who came together when a young country needed them most. This is an inspiring story and one we believe needs to be shared over and over again with Canadians as 2015 get closer.”
“Through Minister Finley, the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission would like to salute Prime Minister Harper and his government for their generous support of our Commission.”
For further information please contact Kate Burgess at the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission at (613) 767-8178 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To contact Robert Tchegus please telephone (613) 546-8073 in Kingston.
The pictures, courtesy Public Works and Government Services Canada, show Mr. Tchegus with Minister Finley inside the Sir John A. Macdonald Building, Ottawa.
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This article was written by Michael Chong, Member of Parliament for Wellington-Halton Hills. Mr. Chong sent this call to action in his Newsletter, inviting all his constituents to mark the bicentennial of 2015. Reprinted with the express permission of the author.
In less than two short years, on January 11th, 2015, Canada will mark the 200th anniversary of Sir John A. Macdonald’s birth, Canada’s first prime minister. As a Father of Canada’s Confederation, Macdonald played a critical role in shaping Canada’s history and today remains one of our nation’s most important political figures.
His commitment to a united Canada paved the way to the country we know and love today.
Affectionately known as “Sir John A.”, Macdonald’s role as a nation builder is often associated with the official date of Confederation on July 1st, 1867. However, even after the official date of Confederation, Macdonald spent nearly all of his 19 years as prime minister continuing to build Confederation. He resisted separatists, purchasing vast swaths of vacant land from the Hudson’s Bay Company to give Canadians space to expand the union.
His union-building efforts included using the military to defeat western rebels who were against expansion, undertaking the largest engineering project in Canadian history that linked the provinces by rail, and building economic barriers to avoid American influence.
A former resident of Kingston, Ontario, Macdonald is Canada’s second-longest serving prime minister, a position he held for 19 years. Without this architect of Confederation, Canada as we know it today would not exist.
Canadians are often subtly reminded of Macdonald’s legacy in our day-to-day lives. His face adorns the Canadian $10 bill, and during our daily commutes, many of us travel along the Macdonald-Cartier freeway, known as Highway 401 in Ontario.
However, in 2015, Canadians across the country will have an opportunity to honour Sir John A. in a much bigger way.
To commemorate Macdonald’s Bicentennial in 2015, the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission is trying to engage as many Canadians as possible in celebrating the occasion. During the countdown to the Bicentennial, the Commission seeks to inspire a greater appreciation for the life and achievements of Sir John A. by promoting events in the arts, education, tourism and other sectors at a local, regional, and national level to create an ongoing celebration befitting a great Canadian statesman.
The Commission would like to learn how people in communities across Canada, including Halton Hills and Wellington County, are planning to celebrate this occasion, and for them to share those plans with the rest of Canada. The Commission serves as a way to connect Canadians celebrating the Bicentennial to one another, and encourage and promote their Macdonald Bicentennial celebrations across the country.
Canada’s history is full of distinguished Canadians who have achieved remarkable accomplishments. However, without Sir John A., there may not have been a country in which those Canadians could flourish. That is why it is important for Canadians to commemorate this important historical figure during his 2015 Bicentennial.
The SALON Acting Company are taking their show about Sir John A. on the road and it is coming to a school near you!
Starting in January of 2014, kicking off Sir John’s 199th Birthday celebrations, the SALON Acting Company will be staging theatrical performances for school children across Canada. Kicking off with seven performances in Kingston, as part of the local birthday celebrations, the Company will then tour the Eastern provinces with school performances in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and P.E.I. The tour dates will fall between January 13th – February 23rd, 2014. A second leg of the tour in the Fall of 2014 and an extended tour in the Spring of 2015 will see the tour travel to Newfoundland and the Western Provinces.
The performances will be presented as a variety show with the actors portraying various figures from Canadian History. They will explore both the political and personal life of our first prime minister through vignettes and music, adapted from our famed, award-nominated Walking Tours and productions of the acclaimed Sir John, Eh? The Musical. The result is a rip-roaring live show, easily adapted for audiences of all grade levels and ages. Following the performances, the actors will engage in a period of questions and answers with the student audience about Sir John, the history of Canada and the use of art and performance as a medium for learning history.
As well as the school performances, the Commission will be conducting a series of Town Hall consultations, with the intent of inspiring local engagement and planning for the 2015 bicentennial of Macdonald’s birth. The Acting Company will co-host the Town Hall meetings, along with Commissioner Arthur Milnes and a range of local and regional parties. The Town Halls are scheduled for Halifax (January 18th), Charlottetown (January 25th) and Fredricton (February 1st). The public will be invited to attend, so stay tuned for more details.
For a detailed description of the Sir John, Eh? Road Show, click here.
If you are a school teacher, principal or administrator interested in having Sir John, Eh? The Road Show come to your school, or would like more information, please get in touch with Mary Rita Holland by email at email@example.com or by calling at (613)767-8178.
By Ann Stevens
How should Canadians celebrate the 200th birthday of their first prime minister?
“Go out into the middle of any outdoor hockey rink on January 11, 2015 and drink a glass of brandy, John A’s favourite libation. If the ice looks thin, go anyway.”
So says Michael Adams, the co-founder of Environics Research Group, one of Canada’s leading public opinion and market research companies.
He thinks Canadians don’t always beat the drum loudly for our political leaders, so different from the way the Americans celebrate presidents such as Washington and Lincoln who which have national holidays in their honour.
Adams, the author of the Donner Prize winning bestseller Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values, says this stems from the differing ways citizens of each country view their leaders.
“Canadian prime ministers are occasionally respected, never revered as are some American presidents,” says Adams. “The first US president was a general, ours was a lawyer. Where in the world are lawyers revered? Perhaps if Sir John A. had been an accountant,” he jokes.
Could this attitude be changed? Adams says not.
“The tall poppy syndrome is a socio-cultural characteristic in our collective DNA. Instead of focusing on our leaders’ occasional acts of courage, wisdom, and even heroism, we dwell on their all too human foibles. Cut them down to size. Make sure they don’t put on airs as my Bruce County grandmother used to say.”
If Adams could talk to Macdonald today, he would have lots to tell him.
“Catholic Quebec is now one of the least religious places on the planet, although Jesus suffers on the cross above the National Assembly witnessing the sinning below. We allow people of the same sex to marry each other, although we still allow those of the opposite sex to tie the knot if they so wish,” he says. “The mayor of Calgary is a Muslim. He enjoys approval ratings in the eighty percents and any other city in the country, given the chance, would probably steal him. The list of things that we take for granted from the role of the state and the taxes people pay for services they find essential to the abolition of the death penalty would astonish a 19th-century politician.”
Adams says the most significant change in Canadian society since Sir John A.’s time is how women have become equal to men in most milieus and in some ways outperform them.
“For instance, women are surpassing men in schools and universities. We have had three female Governors-General, six of our thirteen premiers are women and so is our Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. For the time being, men remain the more numerous sex in corporate boardrooms and in the NHL.”
(Macdonald was the first national leader to propose the vote for women. Early in 1885, while proposing enabling legislation, Canada’s first prime minister argued that this country “should have the honour of first placing woman in the position that she is certain, after centuries of oppression, to obtain.” That meant “completely establishing her equality as a human being and as a member of society with man.”)
If Canada’s political leaders could take any lessons from Macdonald’s experience uniting the country, Adams says they need to “be prepared to fudge [their] principles.”
“Canada has proven Zeno’s paradox of the dichotomy: politically you never get from A to B, only half way, ad infinitum. The Canadian crosses the road to get to the middle,” he says.
Co-founded in 1970 by Michael Adams, Environics Research Group has built a reputation for insight, accuracy and integrity over four decades. From a start-up focused on public affairs polling, Environics has grown to become a leading public opinion and market research firm employing experts in a range of practice areas, from pharmaceuticals and financial services to human resources and consumer marketing
On October 2, representatives from The Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission and members of the SALON Acting Company travelled to Queens Park in Toronto for the second annual “Kingston Day” at Queen’s Park.
Premier Kathleen Wynne stopped by and met Sir John A. the Action Figure
Joined by representatives from over 15 local businesses and organizations from Kingston, The Commission and SALON actors were on hand to help increase the profile of Kingston with Members of the Provincial Parliament through a showcase of local businesses, educational institutions, tourism partners and local food to the 107 MPP’s in the Ontario Legislature. The Commission is grateful for the opportunity to showcase Kingston and the important role the city plays in marking Sir John’s upcoming bicentennial to members of Ontario Parliament. A special thanks to the City of Kingston staff for helping to organize, and to the host MP John Gerretsen.
Kingston: A local winery has produced a special wine to mark the fast-approaching 200th anniversary of the birth of Sir John A. Macdonald in 2015.
The wine is the product of a unique partnership between the non-profit, non-partisan Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission and Bergeron Estate Winery & Cider Co. The estate wine, a Riesling/Vidal, features the official label of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission.
“This is a great example of an area business seizing the opportunity presented by the 200th birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald,” said Arthur Milnes, Commissioner of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission. “We hope this will encourage other groups and businesses in the area and across Canada to become involved in this crucial national commemoration.”
The very first bottle of Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial wine was presented, in Ottawa, to the Prime Minister.
“It was a very real honour to present Prime Minister Stephen Harper with the first bottle,” said Dave Bergeron, owner of Bergeron Estate Winery & Cider Co. “It is only fitting that the man who today holds the job that Sir John A. Macdonald perfected should receive our first bottle.”
“Bergeron Estate Winery & Cider Co. will be donating $2 from the sale of each bottle to the Commission,” Bergeron added. “It is our way of assisting the celebrations that will allow all Canadians to mark, in 2015, the service to Canada by our first and founding Prime Minister. This is a special cause for us because Bergeron Estate Winery & Cider Co. is located in Adolphustown where John A. Macdonald and his parents lived when the future Father of Confederation was a boy.”
Kingston lawyer Gavin Cosgrove, a leading member of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission’s volunteer steering committee, was also on hand for the presentation of the first bottle of Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Wine to Prime Minister Harper.
“The Prime Minister was very interested in our Commission’s work and mandate and we thanked him for the support his government has already given the Macdonald Bicentennial celebrations,” Cosgrove said.
For further information and to inquire about how to purchase Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Wine please contact Dave Bergeron at Bergeron Estate Winery, (613) 373-0181, or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For further information about the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial Commission please visit www.sirjohna2015.ca or contact Kate Burgess email@example.com or by telephone in Kingston at (613) 767-8178.
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