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Museum show honours Sir John as a Quinte Boy

‘Always a Quinte Boy’, a new temporary exhibit on John A. Macdonald has been unveiled at Macaulay Museum in Picton.

The show focuses on the connections that Canada’s first prime minister had with Prince Edward County throughout his life.

Curator Jennifer Lyons with the Sir John bust created by Ruth Abernathy.

Curator Jennifer Lyons with the Sir John bust created by Ruth Abernethy. (see below)

Macdonald only lived in the County for a short time but appealed to local residents in speeches and frequently reminisced about “the good old county” and spending “some of the happiest days of my life” in the region.

“He crossed paths with the County many times,” said Jennifer Lyons, head curator. “Starting with his father operating a mill in Glenora. He spent his late teens helping out in his uncle’s log practice in Picton. He was also involved in the debate around the naming the town of Picton. He and Macaulay differed. Macdonald would have liked to see the town named Port William when the two villages (Hallowell and Picton) incorporated in the 1830s but Macaulay got his wish granted.

“Macdonald was called upon to show some leniency for George Louder, one of the fellows in the 1884 double hanging and he wasn’t overly sympathetic. He thought the fellow should hang if he had anything to do with the crime whatsoever.

“He also did the first demonstration through the Murray Canal on a steamship,” said Lyons. “Kingston really claims Sir John A but we really have a history with him as well.”

This exhibition was the museum’s contribution to this year’s 200th anniversary of Macdonald’s birthday.

While viewing the show, the “John A Macdonald Waltz”  and a series of sheet music from 19th century may be playing in the background. The period piece was played by former employee Katy James on the musuem’s box piano, also period specific, and recorded. James’ brother Andrew played music on his violin at the exhibit’s opening.

Countylive-Museums-and-Facilities-AdThe exhibit also includes an 1835 map of Prince Edward County borrowed from Shire Hall. It will be on display to the end of  September.

Macaulay Heritage Park is at 23 & 35 Church Street, Picton. For details, call 613-476-3833  or email

Further to Sir John’s 200th birthday celebration is the July 1 unveiling of Ruth Abernethy’s sculpture:


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