According to a monograph written by Charles C. Hill, curator of Canadian art at Canada’s National Gallery of Art in Ottawa, the monument at St. Paul’s was the first one ever erected to Sir John A.’s memory.
A memorial service was held in Westminster Abbey the day after Macdonald’s burial in Kingston, Ontario. Soon after, Sir Charles Tupper informed Macdonald’s widow that the Council of the Imperial Federation League (established to strengthen economic and political ties across the Empire) was intending to raise money to erect a tablet to Macdonald’s memory in St Paul’s Cathedral.
Although it was intended to be sculpted by a Canadian artist, the first attempt based on Macdonald’s death mask was deemed “very bad." By then, the project had been modified to be a sculpture.