1) Why are you based in Kingston?
Kingston, Ontario is the Canadian community most closely identified with Sir John A. Macdonald. The phrase “Macdonald of Kingston” still rings through Canadian history, as it did during Sir John A.’s lifetime. It is therefore fitting that Kingston – in close partnership with Canadians from across Canada — plays a key role in celebrating Sir John A.’s bicentennial today.
2) I want to become involved in the Macdonald Bicentennial but I don’t think I’ll be able to visit Kingston any time soon. Can my family, or class or association still participate in the Commission’s work?
Most definitely yes! In Sir John A.’s time he united us with the railway. Today, we have the Internet, social media and Skype. All Canadians can engage in our projects. The Commission will also be visiting various Canadian communities and as many schools as possible between now and 2015. We are also planning to ride the “bands of steel” Sir John A. bequeathed Canadians and operate a Sir John A. Bicentennial train. It will travel across Canada in 2015 taking the Macdonald story directly to communities and schools – large and small – across the land.
3) Canadian history is boring. Besides, I have no interest in politics. Why would I want to be involved in a Prime Minister’s bicentennial celebrations?
Unlike thousands of Canadians, you have obviously never seen our rock musical, Sir John Eh. The most common comment we’ve heard from audience members goes like this: “I wish every Canadian student could see that play. I had no idea history could be so fun and exciting.” Besides, the Macdonald story involves much more than politics. There is the private family drama and struggles Sir John A. faced, wheeling and dealing both politically and personally the likes of which we can’t even imagine today, and above all else, a man with a vision who pulled it off and left a G-8 country in his wake. Not bad for an immigrant child from overseas. So if you think Canadian history is boring, take a chance on the Commission. We’re confident we’ll be able to – thanks to Sir John A.’s story – change your mind.
4) My community already has an annual Sir John A. Macdonald birthday celebration. Is the Commission asking us to change our plans to fit their model?
Absolutely not! In fact, if you think we could help by informing even more Canadians about your celebration, just let us know. Perhaps your annual gathering is one others will learn from and want to try themselves. We do hope, however, that you will send the Commission an invitation!
5) What does the Commission see taking place on January 11, 2015, the actual day Sir John A’s 200th birthday will be marked?
Stay tuned. But for now the Commission can assure you that it will be the biggest Canadian birthday bash ever seen. In fact, we’re sending out more than 33 million invitations as each and every Canadian is invited.