MACDONALD, The Right Hon. Sir John Alexander, P.C., G.C.B., Q.C., D.C.L., LL.D.
Picture of MACDONALD, The Right Hon. Sir John Alexander, P.C., G.C.B., Q.C., D.C.L., LL.D.
Harold M. Daly
© Public Domain

Source: Library and Archives Canada, C 005327
Date of Birth ( 1815.01.11
Place of Birth: Glasgow, Scotland
Deceased Date ( 1891.06.06 (76 years old)
Profession | Occupation: Lawyer
Party Leader:
Notes: Father of Confederation; attended the Charlottetown (Sept. 1864), Quebec (Oct. 1864) and London (Dec. 1866) conferences.
Federal Political Experience
Years of Service: 8624 Days (23 years, 7 months, 10 days)
^ House of Commons
ConstituencyPolitical Affiliation at ElectionDate of Election (
Kingston, Ontario Died in office. Liberal-Conservative 1891.03.05 Elected
Carleton, Ontario Resignation. Elected for Kingston and for Carleton. Chose to sit for Kingston. Liberal-Conservative 1887.02.22 Elected
Kingston, Ontario Liberal-Conservative 1887.02.22 Elected
Carleton, Ontario Liberal-Conservative 1882.06.20 Elected
Lennox, Ontario Election declared void 1883/10/23. Liberal-Conservative 1882.06.20 Elected
Kingston, Ontario Liberal-Conservative 1878.09.17 Defeated
Marquette, Manitoba Resignation. Becomes Prime Minister, October 17, 1878. Elected for Victoria and for Marquette. Chose to sit for Victoria. Liberal-Conservative 1878.09.17 Elected
Victoria, British Columbia Liberal-Conservative 1878.09.17 Elected
Kingston, Ontario Liberal-Conservative 1874.12.29
Kingston, Ontario Election declared void 1874/11/18. Liberal-Conservative 1874.01.22 Elected
Kingston, Ontario Liberal-Conservative 1872.10.12 During the general election of 1872, elections in the constituencies were held at various times between 1872-07-20 and 1872-10-12. Elected
Kingston, Ontario Liberal-Conservative 1867.09.20 During the general election of 1867, elections in the constituencies were held at various times between 1867-08-07 and 1867-09-20. Elected

^ Parliamentary Group
PartyTerm (
Liberal-Conservative 1867.07.01 - 1891.06.06

^ Offices and Roles as a Parliamentarian
Prime Minister of Canada

PortfolioTerm (
Prime Minister Died in office. 1878.10.17 - 1891.06.06
Prime Minister 1867.07.01 - 1873.11.05


PortfolioTerm (
Minister of Railways and Canals Died in office. 1889.11.28 - 1891.06.06
Minister of Railways and Canals (acting) 1889.04.10 - 1889.11.27
Minister of the Interior (acting) 1888.05.08 - 1888.09.24
Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs (acting) 1888.05.08 - 1888.09.24
President of the Privy Council 1883.10.17 - 1889.11.27
Minister of the Interior 1878.10.17 - 1883.10.16
Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs 1878.10.17 - 1887.10.02
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada 1867.07.01 - 1873.11.05

Leader of the Official Opposition

PortfolioTerm (
Leader of the Official Opposition 1873.11.06 - 1878.10.16

^ Committees - House of Commons
Committee membership is shown below by session. All members who served on a committee at any time during a session are listed.

CommitteeRoleDuring Session
Special Committee for an Address to thank His Excellency the Governor General for his gracious Speech from the Throne at the commencement of the Session Chair 7th Parl., 1st Session (1891.04.29 - 1891.09.30)
Standing Committee of Selection Chair 7th Parl., 1st Session (1891.04.29 - 1891.09.30)
Standing Committee on Privileges and Elections Member 7th Parl., 1st Session (1891.04.29 - 1891.09.30)
Standing Committee on Public Accounts Member 7th Parl., 1st Session (1891.04.29 - 1891.09.30)
Standing Committee on Railways, Canals and Telegraph Lines Member 7th Parl., 1st Session (1891.04.29 - 1891.09.30)

^ Committees - Joint
Committee membership is shown below by session. All members who served on a committee at any time during a session are listed.

CommitteeRoleDuring Session
Standing Joint Committee on the Library of Parliament Member 4th Parl., 1st Session (1879.02.13 - 1879.05.15)

^ Political Party Roles

RoleTerm (
Party Leader 1867.07.01 - 1891.06.06
Municipal Political Experience
MunicipalityLocal GovernmentFunctionMandate
Municipal Government Alderman 1843 - 1846
Military Service

Military OrganizationFunctionTerm (
Militia 1837.12 - 1837.12
Family Ties in Parliament
RelativeNameDate of BirthDate of Death
Son Macdonald, Hugh John
1850.03.13 1929.03.29
Selected Publications This bibliography includes books, chapters in books and journal articles written, edited, compiled or translated solely by the parliamentarian or with others.

Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the following information. Should you find any errors or omissions, please contact us at the following e-mail address:

^ Sole Author Books

  • Affectionately yours; the letters of Sir John A. Macdonald and his family.
    Toronto : Macmillan Co. of Canada; 1969. 205 p.

  • Correspondence of Sir John Macdonald: selections from the correspondence of Sir John Alexander Macdonald made by his literary executor, Sir Joseph Pope.
    Toronto : Oxford University Press; Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, Page, [1921?]. xxvi, 502 p.

  • The letters of Sir John A. Macdonald / edited by J.K. Johnson.
    Ottawa : Public Archives of Canada; 1968-. v.

  • The letters of Sir John A. Macdonald, 1858-61 .
    Ottawa : Public Archives of Canada; 1969. xvii, 626 p.

  • Les lettres de Sir John A. Macdonald, 1836-1857; préparé sous la direction de J.K. Johnson.
    Ottawa : Archives publiques du Canada; 1971. xxiii, 607 p.

Archival fonds and collections

Library and Archives Canada holds a fonds or collection of private records relating to this parliamentarian.

For any general question about the political and governmental records in the holdings of Library and Archives Canada, please call the toll free number 1-866-578-7777 and select “Reference Services”.
Additional information ^ Biographical information
Marriage (1843.09.01 - 1857.12.28)
  • Clark, Isabella
    Birth: 1809 Death: 1857.12

  • Macdonald, John Alexander
    Birth: 1847.08.02 Death: 1848

  • Macdonald, Hugh John (M.P.)
    Birth: 1850.03.13 Death: 1929.03.29

Marriage (1867.02.16 - 1891.06.06)
  • Bernard, Susan Agnes
    Birth: 1836.08.24 Death: 1920.09
    1891, named Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe

  • Macdonald, Margaret Mary Theodora
    Birth: 1869.02.08 Death: 1933
    First child in Canadian history to be born during his father's term as Prime Minister.
Cause of Death: heart failure
Place of Burial: Cataraqui Cemetery, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
^ Heritage Information
Plaques, Statues, etc.:
  • Kingston, Ontario
    Plaque on Heathfield, former residence, South side of Hwy 2 at Western approach to Kingston
  • Adolphustown, Ontario
  • St. Patrick, Quebec
  • Cataraqui Cemetery, Kingston Twp., Ontario
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    Parliament Hill
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Monument in front of Queen's Park
  • Kingston, Ontario
  • Picton, Ontario
  • Places, Buildings, etc.
    Named After Prime Minister:
  • Mount Macdonald, at Rogers Pass, British Columbia.
  • Macdonald. Village North West of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. Original name DRUMCONNER.
    Macdonald was a training base for British pilots during World War II.
  • Macdonald-Cartier Bridge. Interprovincial bridge between Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec.
  • Ottawa Macdonald-Cartier International Airport. The Ottawa International Airport was renamed in 1993 to commemorate two Fathers of Confederation, John A. Macdonald and Georges-Etienne Cartier.
  • Sir John A. Macdonald Building. Former Bank of Montreal building, located at 144 Wellington Street, in Ottawa, Ontario renamed in 2012.
  • Historic Sites:
  • Kingston, Ontario
    Bellevue House
    35 Centre St.
    (in 1848)
  • Toronto, Ontario
    Macdonald-Mowat House
    63 St-George St.
  • Ottawa, Ontario
    140 Sussex Dr.
    (Since 1930 the official residence of the British High Commissioner to Canada)
  • Additional Information
    on Historic Sites:


    In 1848-1849 Bellevue House was the home of John A. Macdonald, who later became Canada's first prime minister.

    The House was built between 1838 and 1840 by Charles Hales, Kingston grocer and entrepreneur, from whose trade it received the nickname "Tea Caddy Castle." In August 1848 it was rented to John A. Macdonald, Kingston's member of the Legislative Assembly and Receiver General for the province of Canada.

    The home was renamed "Bellevue" by the Macdonalds in appreciation of the breathtaking view from its tower. Their brief stay here was not a happy one, however, for Macdonald's ailing wife, Isabella, was confined to a ground floor sickroom, and their infant son died a month after they moved in. Setbacks in John A.'s law practice forced the family to move to more modest quarters after only a year.

    Bellevue was purchased by Parks Canada in 1964 and is now operated as a national historic park. It has been restored to the late 1840s period.

    EARNSCLIFFE, Sussex Drive, Ottawa, Ontario

    Constructed: ca. 1857

    Material: stone

    This residence was first erected by John Kinnon, who was the son-in-law and partner of Thomas McKay, one of the most active master masons of Ottawa's early days. But the building is associated more with John A. Macdonald, who bought it in 1883 and lived in it until his death in 1891. Since 1930, this house has been the home of the British High Commissioners.

    Earnscliffe is one of the most refined examples of the L-shaped Gothic Revival house. Its general appearance retains the characteristic reserve of Ottawa domestic architecture. The handling of proportions gives the composition a feeling of great stability which is heightened by the strongly three-dimensional effect of the Gothic Revival motifs: drip mouldings, fretwork roof trim, pendants and bay windows.

    (Canadian inventory of Historic Buildings.)

    Other Information: First Among Equals -- The Prime Minister in Canadian Life and Politics
    (Library and Archives Canada)
    Details of Interest
  • First PM in Confederation
  • First PM of Canada to die while in office as PM
  • One of the Fathers of Confederation
  • Came to Canada at the age of five

  • ^

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