That June in 1814, Macdonald was not yet even born; and in 1820 he was only five years old and newly relocated to Upper Canada from Scotland when the village was named after Commodore Robert Barrie. The seeds of Barriefield had been planted when businessman and politician Richard Cartwright divided part of his own land into village lots located across the Cataraqui River from Kingston (itself originally called Cataraqui). These lots were purchased principally by tradesmen employed at the Royal Naval Dockyard - now site of the Royal Military College - which Barrie oversaw.
Its population comprised of working people, their homes and lots modest in scale and dominated by St. Mark’s Anglican Church, Barriefield stood as a representative pre-confederation Upper Canadian village. And so it stands still: ultimately Barriefield became a Heritage Conservation District, a status requiring inhabitants to maintain their buildings and properties in a manner appropriate to their village’s 1800s origins.
On Saturday, June 7th from 10am to 4pm, the people of Barriefield will welcome visitors from Kingston and beyond to help celebrate their rich heritage. All are encouraged to attend in period dress, the better to enter into the spirit of the day’s events: walking tours; trade and craft demonstrations; musical performances; a bake sale and afternoon tea; and activities for children.
On the heels of commemorating Sir John A.’s demise, why not visit this village that he would have passed through, and probably stopped in, regularly on his route from Kingston to Ottawa? Present-day villager David Craig relates that John A. appears as lawyer on paperwork for his neighbour’s property; indeed, Barriefield’s buildings are the very ones Macdonald would have laid eyes on while practising in Kingston. And he remains nearby to this day, across the river in Cataraqui Cemetery, his final resting place. In Barriefield on June 7th, perhaps you’ll feel his presence close at hand.
For further information:
Barriefield Village website http://www.barriefieldvillage.com/
Floyd Patterson, “Barriefield celebrating bicentennial.” Kingston Whig-Standard, 22 January 2014. http://www.thewhig.com/2014/01/22/barriefield-celebrating-bicentennial
Mark Bergin, “200 years of history in our midst.” EMC Heritage (Kingston), 17 April 2014. http://www.kingstonregion.com/news-story/4471479-200-years-of-history-in-our-midst
With thanks to David Craig and Barb Carr