Hamilton chapter of Macdonald society fears city will remove statue from Gore Park

News Nov 09, 2018 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Members of the Hamilton chapter of the Sir John A. Macdonald Society have started a petition drive asking the city not to remove the statue of Canada’s first prime minister from its current location at Gore Park.

Robin McKee, a historian who is chair of the society, encouraged people attending a recent gathering honouring veterans to also sign a petition to keep the Sir John A Macdonald statue at its current location at King and John streets.

“We do not want the statue to come down,” McKee said. “It is the very first statue of Sir John A Macdonald in Canada and the very first statue in Gore Park.” He said the statue of Queen Victoria, at King and James streets in Gore Park, “was the second banana. Sir John A. should stay where it is.”

McKee said there is a fear the city will remove the Macdonald statue to accommodate the light-rail transit project and not return it to its current location. If the city follows the timelines, LRT construction is expected to begin in late 2019 and continue until 2024.

Meghan Stewart, project manager for the Gore Park remediation project, said “there are no plans” to remove the statue from its current location.

Phase 3 of the Gore Park makeover includes a proposal to revitalize the area around John Street. The idea is to call the area Macdonald Square, with the statue becoming the “prime anchor and feature element within this block,” according to a staff report. The statue is expected to be moved east across John Street into the area bounded by John and Catharine streets, in front of the Royal Connaught.

But Stewart said the final phase of the master plan is being delayed because of LRT construction. She said it wouldn’t be a “good idea” to redevelop the Phase 3 section, and then see it ripped up because of the LRT project. Work on the final phase of revitalizing Gore Park had been scheduled to begin this year.

When asked if the Macdonald statue will be removed, Stewart said, “I have not been directed.”

Hamilton city council has not been asked by the public to remove the statue. But outgoing councillors Matthew Green and Aidan Johnson had expressed a desire to see the Macdonald statue taken down.

Macdonald’s historical legacy has been criticized, especially by Indigenous leaders, for his role in creating the Indian Act and the residential school system.

In 2015, the city’s Aboriginal advisory committee called for the statue to be removed.

In the summer of 2017, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario voted to ask school boards to strip Macdonald’s name from all buildings.

During the Sir John A. Macdonald Society’s annual recognition of the former prime minister in 2015, some Indigenous people protested in front of the statue, calling Macdonald a “racist” and the “architect of genocide.”

At the time, Kaweonene of the Cayuga Nation told Hamilton Community News that Macdonald was “one of the first ones to have starved native people.”

But supporters of Macdonald argue that without the prime minister, the country called Canada would now be part of the United States.

“This man did what was unbelievable at the time,” McKee said. “He wrote almost every one of the 72 resolutions for our Constitution to make the Dominion of Canada. He is a true hero. He put a country together in three years.”

Macdonald, born in Scotland in 1815, became Canada’s first prime minister in 1867 and served until 1873. He also served as prime minister for a second time from 1878 to 1891. He died in 1891 in Ottawa and was buried in Kingston.

Hamiltonians urge city to keep Sir John A. Macdonald statue at Gore Park

News Nov 09, 2018 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Members of the Hamilton chapter of the Sir John A. Macdonald Society have started a petition drive asking the city not to remove the statue of Canada’s first prime minister from its current location at Gore Park.

Robin McKee, a historian who is chair of the society, encouraged people attending a recent gathering honouring veterans to also sign a petition to keep the Sir John A Macdonald statue at its current location at King and John streets.

“We do not want the statue to come down,” McKee said. “It is the very first statue of Sir John A Macdonald in Canada and the very first statue in Gore Park.” He said the statue of Queen Victoria, at King and James streets in Gore Park, “was the second banana. Sir John A. should stay where it is.”

McKee said there is a fear the city will remove the Macdonald statue to accommodate the light-rail transit project and not return it to its current location. If the city follows the timelines, LRT construction is expected to begin in late 2019 and continue until 2024.

Meghan Stewart, project manager for the Gore Park remediation project, said “there are no plans” to remove the statue from its current location.

Phase 3 of the Gore Park makeover includes a proposal to revitalize the area around John Street. The idea is to call the area Macdonald Square, with the statue becoming the “prime anchor and feature element within this block,” according to a staff report. The statue is expected to be moved east across John Street into the area bounded by John and Catharine streets, in front of the Royal Connaught.

But Stewart said the final phase of the master plan is being delayed because of LRT construction. She said it wouldn’t be a “good idea” to redevelop the Phase 3 section, and then see it ripped up because of the LRT project. Work on the final phase of revitalizing Gore Park had been scheduled to begin this year.

When asked if the Macdonald statue will be removed, Stewart said, “I have not been directed.”

Hamilton city council has not been asked by the public to remove the statue. But outgoing councillors Matthew Green and Aidan Johnson had expressed a desire to see the Macdonald statue taken down.

Macdonald’s historical legacy has been criticized, especially by Indigenous leaders, for his role in creating the Indian Act and the residential school system.

In 2015, the city’s Aboriginal advisory committee called for the statue to be removed.

In the summer of 2017, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario voted to ask school boards to strip Macdonald’s name from all buildings.

During the Sir John A. Macdonald Society’s annual recognition of the former prime minister in 2015, some Indigenous people protested in front of the statue, calling Macdonald a “racist” and the “architect of genocide.”

At the time, Kaweonene of the Cayuga Nation told Hamilton Community News that Macdonald was “one of the first ones to have starved native people.”

But supporters of Macdonald argue that without the prime minister, the country called Canada would now be part of the United States.

“This man did what was unbelievable at the time,” McKee said. “He wrote almost every one of the 72 resolutions for our Constitution to make the Dominion of Canada. He is a true hero. He put a country together in three years.”

Macdonald, born in Scotland in 1815, became Canada’s first prime minister in 1867 and served until 1873. He also served as prime minister for a second time from 1878 to 1891. He died in 1891 in Ottawa and was buried in Kingston.

Hamiltonians urge city to keep Sir John A. Macdonald statue at Gore Park

News Nov 09, 2018 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Members of the Hamilton chapter of the Sir John A. Macdonald Society have started a petition drive asking the city not to remove the statue of Canada’s first prime minister from its current location at Gore Park.

Robin McKee, a historian who is chair of the society, encouraged people attending a recent gathering honouring veterans to also sign a petition to keep the Sir John A Macdonald statue at its current location at King and John streets.

“We do not want the statue to come down,” McKee said. “It is the very first statue of Sir John A Macdonald in Canada and the very first statue in Gore Park.” He said the statue of Queen Victoria, at King and James streets in Gore Park, “was the second banana. Sir John A. should stay where it is.”

McKee said there is a fear the city will remove the Macdonald statue to accommodate the light-rail transit project and not return it to its current location. If the city follows the timelines, LRT construction is expected to begin in late 2019 and continue until 2024.

Meghan Stewart, project manager for the Gore Park remediation project, said “there are no plans” to remove the statue from its current location.

Phase 3 of the Gore Park makeover includes a proposal to revitalize the area around John Street. The idea is to call the area Macdonald Square, with the statue becoming the “prime anchor and feature element within this block,” according to a staff report. The statue is expected to be moved east across John Street into the area bounded by John and Catharine streets, in front of the Royal Connaught.

But Stewart said the final phase of the master plan is being delayed because of LRT construction. She said it wouldn’t be a “good idea” to redevelop the Phase 3 section, and then see it ripped up because of the LRT project. Work on the final phase of revitalizing Gore Park had been scheduled to begin this year.

When asked if the Macdonald statue will be removed, Stewart said, “I have not been directed.”

Hamilton city council has not been asked by the public to remove the statue. But outgoing councillors Matthew Green and Aidan Johnson had expressed a desire to see the Macdonald statue taken down.

Macdonald’s historical legacy has been criticized, especially by Indigenous leaders, for his role in creating the Indian Act and the residential school system.

In 2015, the city’s Aboriginal advisory committee called for the statue to be removed.

In the summer of 2017, the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Ontario voted to ask school boards to strip Macdonald’s name from all buildings.

During the Sir John A. Macdonald Society’s annual recognition of the former prime minister in 2015, some Indigenous people protested in front of the statue, calling Macdonald a “racist” and the “architect of genocide.”

At the time, Kaweonene of the Cayuga Nation told Hamilton Community News that Macdonald was “one of the first ones to have starved native people.”

But supporters of Macdonald argue that without the prime minister, the country called Canada would now be part of the United States.

“This man did what was unbelievable at the time,” McKee said. “He wrote almost every one of the 72 resolutions for our Constitution to make the Dominion of Canada. He is a true hero. He put a country together in three years.”

Macdonald, born in Scotland in 1815, became Canada’s first prime minister in 1867 and served until 1873. He also served as prime minister for a second time from 1878 to 1891. He died in 1891 in Ottawa and was buried in Kingston.