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Canada’s first Prime Minister may be ‘holding court’ at Picton’s Library

At the June 2015 unveiling, actor RH Thomson re-enacted Wilfried Laurier’s tribute in the House of Commons, following Macdonald’s death on June 2, 1891. Here, he hams it up with historical re-enactor Brian Porter, who portrayed Macdonald. – Sue Capon photo

Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald may soon be ‘holding court’ at Picton’s Library.

Prince Edward County council approved a request at Tuesday’s council meeting to relocate the sculpture currently at The Armoury and moving it 30 feet east to the Picton Library subject to approval of a heritage permit and a signed agreement between the Picton Library and TGSL Holdings Inc.

The 1,400-pound bronze larger-than-life statue entitled “Holding Court” was unveiled on Canada Day 2015 in a grand style. It includes a prisoner’s dock and chair and depicts Macdonald as a young lawyer addressing a jury at his first court case in Picton, in 1834. He won the case, successfully defending himself against an assault charge occasioned by a practical joke. Four months later, at age 20, he graduated from the Law Society of Upper Canada as an attorney – the beginning of his career in law and politics. He was prime minister from 1867 to 1873 and 1878 to 1891.

TGSL Holdings, the owner of The Armoury property has requested the statue be relocated to allow for a landscaped square encompassing the entire Main Street frontage of the Armoury property.

County staff note consultations with the former Sir John A. Macdonald committee chair David Warrick and the sculpture’s artist Ruth Abernathy approve the relocation.

Costs associated will be paid for by TGSL Holdings Inc. and the Picton Library has agreed to cover the costs of elective work to be done in conjunction with the sculpture relocation.


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  1. Ian Macpherson says:

    Newcomers put up a statue. Newcomers move the statue. Newcomers complain about the statue’s ‘significance’. *shrug*

  2. Jim says:

    Agreed, some Canadian native art honouring their spirit in spite of McDonald’s life long bigoted and racial oppression would be appropriate. His negative legacy still lives on with polluted waters , unhealthy housing and stolen lands. For shame.

  3. Marc says:

    Great idea. I look forward to seeing what the new owners will do with that wonderful Public Square . Talk about a gift to the community. Also, hopefully someone will commission a new piece of art soon to bring some balance to the story of John A MacDonald

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