Kingston to consult public on Sir John A. Macdonald legacy

The City of Kingston is taking another look at their most prominent son, holding public consultations on Sir John A. Macdonald's legacy.

City wants to hear from residents about Macdonald, beginning next week

The city is planning to look at Macdonald's legacy and how the city currently honours him, including this statue in a city park. (Doug Kerr/Wikimedia Commons)

The City of Kingston is taking another look at their most prominent son, holding public consultations on Sir John A. Macdonald's legacy.

Starting next week, residents will be able to share their opinions both online and in the room named after the first prime minister at Kingston City Hall, the city announced in a news release Thursday.

Jennifer Campbell, the city's manager of cultural heritage, said they want a fulsome conversation about Kingston's history.

"It is an opportunity for an inclusive dialogue about how we tell our story, a dialogue that is not necessarily just about how the city should manage artifacts linked to Sir John A. Macdonald," Campbell said in the news release.

Macdonald was the country's first prime minister, but his treatment of Indigenous people has led many people to question his legacy. A statue of him was removed in Victoria earlier this month and other monuments to him across the country have been vandalized.

Kingston has a statue of its own and artifacts from him at city hall. There is also a restored locomotive dubbed the "Spirit of Sir John A."

Macdonald was born in Scotland, but moved to the city as a young child and served the city in parliament for 47 years.

More information about the process is set to be released on Sept. 6, when the city officially launches the public consultation.

"The endpoint is not known but the hope is the community will work together to address systemic violence, deal with hard truths and heal in ways that make Kingston a welcoming, inclusive and safe space for residents and visitors alike," said Campbell in the news release.

Canadian political icon? Scourge to the country's Indigenous people? Maybe a bit of both? The City of Kingston is trying to figure out how to handle the complicated legacy of John A. Macdonald. 8:17