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Photograph of the entrance to the office of Sir John A. Macdonald in the East Block of Parliament, 2007

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Entrance to the office of Sir John A. Macdonald in the East Block of Parliament, 2007

ARCHIVED - Sir John A. Macdonald
Canada's Patriot Statesman

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Introduction

For Canadians, few names conjure up grander images of our shared past than Sir John A. Macdonald. A resolute architect of Confederation, Macdonald was a complex and passionate individual who played an epic role in Canada's history and remains today the country's most important political figure.

He was known in his day as "Old Chieftain," "Old Tomorrow" and "Canada's Patriot Statesman." This political lion never wearied of the battle, fighting for office right up until the last weeks of his life. A charismatic leader and legendary firebrand whose exploits made him a favourite of voters, cartoonists and critics alike, Macdonald also was a beloved husband and an adoring father. He was active in politics before and after Confederation, and is Canada's second longest-serving prime minister, having held that position for 19 years in the vast new country he did so much to help build.

Sir John A. Macdonald: Canada's Patriot Statesman is a tribute to this great Canadian. As well as presenting an exhibition of photographs, documentary art and other unique records held at Library and Archives Canada (LAC), this Web project introduces tens of thousands of pages from Macdonald's political papers and correspondence that will be made available online for the first time in 2008, enabling all Canadians to learn about Macdonald's life, career and legacy.

LAC gratefully acknowledges the participation of the Right Honourable John Turner in this project, as well as the insights provided by the public figures and historians quoted throughout the exhibition. LAC also acknowledges the contribution of the Department of Canadian Heritage, whose financial assistance through the Canadian Culture Online Program made this exhibition possible. Special thanks to consultant Arthur Milnes, writers Brock Harrison and Brendan McNally, educational resource developer Alison Bogle, and in particular to the archivists, librarians and staff of Library and Archives Canada whose expertise and dedication have ensured that Sir John A. Macdonald's documentary heritage continues to be accessible, understood and honoured.