Sir 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.
About his life:
The Prime Ministers: John A MacDonald – an intro, biography, and various audio clips.
Timeline by SirJohnADay.com – 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 about.com
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 Materials by SirJohnADay.com -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 SirJohnADay.com – 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:
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.