Hour 3: Sir John A. Macdonald


A special Canada Day look back at the life and career of Sir John A Macdonald, our first prime minister. Award-winning journalist and historian Richard Gwyn has spent most of the past decade writing his two volume biography of Sir John A. Poll after poll shows Canadians aren't all that interested in our history. Richard Gwyn is doing his part to change that.

For more information and music used in this hour ...

Most of us will mark Canada Day with a barbeque, a few fireworks and maybe a beer or a glass of wine - Canadian, of course - and a little homegrown music. That will be the extent of our nod to the meaning of the day, the day we became a country 145 years ago, in 1867.

The unfortunate reality is that poll after poll suggests that we don't know ... and don't care all that much ... about our history. And there might be plenty of reasons for that.

But the one person you really can't blame for our lack of knowledge of Canadian history, is Richard Gwyn.

Mr. Gwyn is an award-winning journalist and historian.

For much of the first decade of the 21st century, he spent days and nights immersed in the world of 19th Century British North America, trying to make sense of the Canada that emerged, and of the people and forces responsible for shaping the times and the place.  

Mr. Gwyn's two-volume biography of this country's first Prime Minister was completed in stages. Volume one was published in 2007; Michael Enright spoke with him about it then. Volume two was completed last year. Richard Gwyn came to The Sunday Edition studio this past fall, to talk to Michael about it. We have both conversations for you this morning.

While it may be true that no single person can be entirely responsible for the broad sweep of history, the title of Mr. Gwyn's first volume suggests otherwise. The title is John A:The Man Who Made Us. And that is where Michael began.

Music in Hour Three:

Guitar Duet Stomp by Jeff Healey, Drew Jurecka, and Ross Wooldridge

Sir John A. Macdonalds/The Back Room Deal/The Wee Dram by Frank Cassidy and James Stephens

March Past from Canadiana Suite by Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown and Ed Thigpen

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