Prime Ministers of Canada Resources: John A. MacDonald

John A. MacDonaldSir John A. MacDonald was the first Prime Minister of Canada. Although originally against the idea of Confederation – as soon as he was on board with the idea, he became a strong advocate which led to his first term as leader in 1867.

During his time in office, Sir John A. made significant advances for the nation of Canada, including the cross country railway and the expansion of our lands. Sadly, though, there are a few bad things he is remembered for too – including racism against Asians and First Nations people, alcoholism, and a money scandal during the building of the railway. It was also during his leadership that rebellion began with the Metis people led by Louis Riel.

Despite his shortcomings, Sir John A MacDonald held the office of Prime Minister for 19 years in total, the second longest of all our leaders.

The year 2015 marks Sir John A.’s 200th birthday.

As he was our first Prime Minister, there is a lot of valuable resources available for us to use while learning about him, his life, and his time in office.

Notebooking page

About his life:

The Prime Ministers: John A MacDonald – an intro, biography, and various audio clips.

 Timeline by – a timeline of John A’s life.

People of the Canadian Confederation – John A MacDonald’s life from Collections Canada

 Quick Facts about John A. MacDonald – from

Sir John A MacDonald – from the Canadian Encyclopedia. This is a very full page of information including video clips and photos.

Sir John A MacDonald – written in a chapter format, this site uses anecdotes to bring the life of John A to its readers.

Lesson Plans

Lesson Materials by -both web-based and offline lessons that can be downloaded as either a teacher ir student package. Focusing on the timeline of Sir John A’s life from childhood to his death.

Who was John A. MacDonald? – from CBC Digital Archives. “In this introductory activity, students will gather information about the personality, political career, and main achievements of Sir John A. Macdonald.”

The Legacy of John A. MacDonald – from CBC Digital Archives. “Using a variety of web-based resources, students will evaluate the legacy of Sir John A. Macdonald as a Canadian public figure.”

If That Doll Could Talk – from CBC Digital Archives. “Students will create a monologue that they imagine the Sir John A. Macdonald doll might give.”

Dramatizing A Life & Career – from CBC Digital Archives. “Students dramatize various episodes in the life and times of Sir John A. Macdonald.”

A National Holiday? – from CBC Digital Archives. “Students will consider and debate whether Sir John A. Macdonald’s birthday should be declared a national holiday.”

Educational Resources – from Library & Archives Canada. Aimed to students in grades 5 – 9, these lesson plans include essays, art, music, field trip ideas, debates, and media study.


Video Lectures by – 10 Questions about Sir John A, Making Confederation, and What happened after July 1, 1867. Includes a section to download video teaching resources, complete with worksheets and discussion starters.

John A. MacDonald: Architect of Modern Canada – CBC Digital Archives. On the right hand side of the page (under the ads), there is a scroll bar where you can find a collection of video and audio clips about Sir John A.

John A. – Birth Of A Country
– This video is a two part series about the beginning of Canada as a country.

Did You Know ….? A short youtube video from the MacDonald Festival about Sir John A.

The Life of Sir John A MacDonald – A short video of Sir John A’s early life.

The History Moments:

Reference Books

Library Call Number: 971.051


Sir John A. MacDonald Bicentennial Commission – this site is dedicated to the national awareness and celebration of Canada’s first Prime Minister on the date of his 200th birthday. They have created a musical (Sir John, eh?) complete with corresponding lesson plans, a walking drama group in Kingston, plans to reach schools and VIA rail passengers across Canada, and other fun activities to bring Sir John A into the public eye.

City of Kingston – Self-Guided Historic Tours. Follow the footsteps of our first Prime Minister through the city of Kingston with a printable tour guide written by Kingston writer Arthur Milnes.

The Legends of Lake on the Mountain: An Early Adventure of John A. Macdonald – A young adult fictional novel about a young John A Macdonald. Written by Canadian author, Roderick Benns.
Colouring Page – from Crayola, a colouring sheet of John A. MacDonald’s portrait.

2 thoughts on “Prime Ministers of Canada Resources: John A. MacDonald”

  1. steven millikin

    My name is Steven Millikin from St. Andrews, NB and my great great grandfather is Sir John A. Macdonald.
    my family has been keeping a secret for a long time now and me being the last to tell the story, it’s time. I can’t find anybody that is willing to help me tell it to Canadians, can you please help, this is real history
    I do not want to take away from his great service to Canadians only tell the truth.

    I have several artifacts pertaining to Sir John A. MacDonald. I would like to a chance to make a documentary or tv mini series or book . I had Scott from the Canadian Pickers visit me last summer in St. Andrews NB and he made me an offer of being on his show this year 2014, and CBC 4 rooms but I think it’s not the right venue . I think with Sir John’s 200th birthday next year that it maybe its time this untold history is told before it’s lost to history. I would like your opinion and see if it’s something you can help me with. P.S. January 10th was celebrated by our family as his real birthday.

    John the Bigamist

    200 th Birthday

    Sir John A. MacDonald

    January 10th 1815 – June 6th 1891

    The Father of Confederation

    Sir John A. MacDonald’s secret marriage to Catherine Denenhaner his third wife.

    They meet at British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli funeral April 27th 1881

    The secret marriage was to be revealed when Sir John A. MacDonald left office, divorced his second wife and retired to St. Andrews, NB.

    First and only born was Annabel F. MacDonald on March 14th 1882 in St. Andrews West, Ont.

    Photos of Catherine Denenhaner and Sir John A. MacDonald were never taken and the secret never talked about to help protect the family.

    A Chair was made special for the birth of Annabel by Sir John and signed by Annabel, with two photos of the chair with Annabel.

    Annabel was Promised by Sir John that when she grownup that she could be one of the Prime Ministers Body Guards.

    Friends of Sir John helped to keep it a secret by sending his mistress/wife and daughter secretly on the same train as Sir John and Sir William Van Horne are travelling on to the home of the Ballantyne summer estate “Charles Bellenden. Ballantyne Dorval, PQ. One-time owner of Sherwin Williams Paints” in St. Andrews, NB. for opening of The Algonquin hotel on Aug. 16, 1889

    Annabel F. MacDonald Married in St. Andrews, New Brunswick 1904 to

    Thomas E. Williamson “Ballantyne’s head gardener’ and later after serving in the 66th Canadian field artillery in the great war became captain of the Ballantyne Yahat Osiris’“

    Annabel’s Grave Site Photo with Her in the Shot it just before Her Death.

    Annabel F. ‘Fanny’ MacDonald Chair

    Annabel F. MacDonald’s Birth Certificate showing John A. MacDonald and Catherine Denenhaner St. Andrews West, Ont. In 1882.

    Photos of Annabel Dressed in Different Uniforms and MacDonald/Williamson Klan Tartens.

    Photo of Catherine Denenhaner with Annabel.


    3 Plates Germany from Catherine Denenhaner.

    The MacDonald Kilt Pin.

    MacDonald Silver Match Box Holded.

    MacDonald Rug Hook.

    ‘Photos of the Ballantyne Yahat Osiris’

    Tea Cup # 13 By Apiontment, 1955 The Invitation. Annabel MacDonald Meets the Queen and Queen Mother for Garden Party.

    1. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Very exciting that you are able to trace your family history to Sir John A – and that you have both great stories and artifacts! I’m not sure how I can be of help for your plans, but feel free to email me and we can connect.

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