On a visit to Rivière-du-Loup at the end of February, Prime Minister Stephen Harper delivered remarks to members of the community, mentioning that Sir John himself was quite taken with the small city on the banks of the St. Lawrence River-”in the summer months that is,” joked the Prime Minister. Sir John did indeed summer at a home on the shores of the river for nearly two decades, following the urging of his physician, who was adamant that Rivière-du-Loup was the perfect place for Sir John to regain his health.
At the Macdonald-Laurier Institute’s Third Annual Soirée, Green Party Leader and MP for Saanich-Gulf Islands, Elizabeth May, voted for Macdonald as her pick for best Canadian Prime Minister. Though John Diefenbaker was ultimately the winner, May praised Macdonald for both his well-known accomplishments, like the building of the coast-coast railway (Canada’s first mass transit system) and some lesser known achievements, such as the creation of a national parks system and his expressions of concern over Canada’s destruction of our timber resources. May praised his early adoption of environmental concerns as forward thinking at a time when most people weren’t even giving it a second thought, ““He essentially set out the concern for sustainability before anyone else knew the word,” she said.
The Governor General of Canada, David Johnston, is also a Macdonald admirer and spoke fondly of the former Prime Minister while at an Innovation Luncheon in London, England last summer. The luncheon took place in the historic Macdonald House, a building named for Sir John. Mr. Johnston spoke of Macdonald’s love of Britain, both for the shared values between his country and the United Kingdom, as well as the personal exhilaration he derived from “the bustle and buzz of London’s streets.” Johnston also mentioned Sir John’s uncanny resemblance to then British Prime Minister, Benjamin Disraeli. While in London, Sir John would sometimes be mistaken for Disraeli; once, when Disraeli was on his deathbed, his friend saw Macdonald at a train station and was momentarily shocked to discover that Disraeli had made a miraculous recovery.