Sir John A. Macdonald is being commemorated by having the downtown Napanee market square named after him.
Macdonald, Canada’s first Prime Minister, delivered his final political speech at Napanee’s town hall, on Feb. 25, 1891, before becoming ill and never recovering. The town hall and market square are being revamped over the next few years, so Greater Napanee council said this is the best time to rename the square.
“I think it’s great we’re renaming it after him,” said Greater Napanee Mayor Gord Schermerhorn, adding that next year will mark Sir John A. Macdonald’s 200th birthday.
Deputy Mayor Roger Cole moved that council, “Commemorate Sir John A. Macdonald’s political achievements as a nation building of Canada by officially naming the Greater Napanee town hall market square in his honour,” which was unanimously supported by council.
The Heritage/Street Smarts Committee brought the recommendation to council after a committee meeting held on Jan. 9, 2014.
Chief Administrative Officer Ray Callery said the town hall’s address and street names would not be changed.
“The street name will remain ‘Market Square’, the only thing we’d rename is the actual, physical, boundary of the square, which staff have no concern about,” explained Callery.
“At a time when we’re in the process of redoing (the square) and revitalizing the front (of town hall), we could revitalize the name at the same time. It makes a lot of sense to do it at that time,” said Callery.
Sir John. A Macdonald was born Jan. 10 or 11, 1815 and died June 6, 1891. He participated in his first political campaign in Napanee in 1861 and was elected MP for Napanee and Lennox in 1881.
He spent much of his adolescent years, from 1824-1829, in his parents’ home, just west of Hay Bay Church. He studied as a lawyer in Napanee between 1832 and 1833, and worked in Napanee as a lawyer in the 1840s and 50s.
He spent time at a number of locations in Greater Napanee, including the Allan Macpherson House, the Red Lion Inn, the Ramsay Store, the Quackenbush Tavern, and the Loucks House, the Paisley Hotel, the Matthew Pruyn House, the John T. Grange House and others. He also frequented the Grand Trunk Railway Station.
Reproduced with permission from The Napanee Beaver, 24 April 2014