"Holding Court" John A. Macdonald Statue

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Public feedback for this project has now closed.

The “Holding Court” John A. Macdonald statue will remain in its current location on Picton Main Street following a decision by County Council at a special meeting on Tuesday, November 17. Read more on the County of Prince Edward website.


The Sir John A. Macdonald statue "Holding Court" was returned from storage to Picton Main Street at the Picton Library in early 2020 (after its original installation in 2015). Its return was a catalyst for conversation about Sir John A. Macdonald's past, within the broader context of colonialism. From this conversation

Public feedback for this project has now closed.

The “Holding Court” John A. Macdonald statue will remain in its current location on Picton Main Street following a decision by County Council at a special meeting on Tuesday, November 17. Read more on the County of Prince Edward website.


The Sir John A. Macdonald statue "Holding Court" was returned from storage to Picton Main Street at the Picton Library in early 2020 (after its original installation in 2015). Its return was a catalyst for conversation about Sir John A. Macdonald's past, within the broader context of colonialism. From this conversation came the Prince Edward County Public Library's Speaker Series (Dr. Niigan Sinclair, Sarah Midanik, Kateri Lucier-Laboucan and Calvin Brook) addressed the need for projects which aim to restore Indigenous presence within communities, among other things. Other speakers were scheduled into March, but the COVID-19 pandemic caused the series to be cancelled due to public health measures.


The "Holding Court" Statue Working Group" was formed under the Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee (PEHAC) to conduct public consultation, research and ultimately to make recommendations to PEHAC about the future of the "Holding Court" statue. Their mandate is to advise PEHAC in their recommendation to Council in regard to the current installation in Picton of the "Holding Court" Sir John A. Macdonald statue.


Their goals are as follows:


  1. Follow the scope of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's 10 Principles of Truth and Reconciliation
  2. Conduct research, carry out public consultation and prepare documentation, as necessary, to assist PEHAC in their recommendation to assist Council in their decision on the future of the Holding Court" statue
  3. Assist staff to prepare a report to PEHAC and ultimately Council by December 1, 2020, or as soon as feasible, outlining a recommendation for the future of the "Holding Court" statue.

Through this Have Your Say public engagement page, the Working Group will share information relevant to the public discussion, including their terms of reference, the 10 Principles of Truth and Reconciliation, and other documents (located in "Resources").


The Working Group would like to hear your views on what should be done with the "Holding Court" statue.


Individuals and organizations can tell the Working Group their views:


  • Directly (in person or virtually) by presenting deputations (see "Deputation Guidelines" for more information on making public deputations)
  • During a Town Hall event planned for Fall 2020.
  • Via email to: ecowan@pecounty.on.ca
  • By fax at: 613.476.5727
  • By mail to: The "Holding Court” Statue Working Group, c/o County of Prince Edward, 332 Main Street, Picton, ON, K0K 2T0.

Please note that deputations and all comments are public.


Please explore the feedback options available on this page (below) to give your feedback. Register for updates to this page to get notified when new consultation tools are added as the Working Group progresses towards their goal.


In the words of Dr. Niigan Sinclair during his address in Picton, "What do we do with this history we have inherited together?"

Tell us what the Holding Court statue means to you?

Thank you for sharing your story with us.
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

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    What are we commemorating?

    by Andrew Faulkner, 8 months ago

    As a resident of Picton, I find myself rather embarrassed by the John A. Macdonald for several reasons.

    Many County residents have already used their deputations to discuss the fact that Macdonald was an avid racist, notable even among his contemporaries for his disdain for Indigenous people. I will not re-document the overwhelming human suffering that resulted from his creation of the residential school system, nor will I delve into the countless examples of genocide that he willfully enacted in Canada's early years.

    What I will state is that our first prime minister has already sealed himself in the history... Continue reading

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    It expresses the minority politics of heritage extremism as a defence against the truths in the emerging TRR.

    by Steve Staniek, 8 months ago
    Since I moved here 10 years ago, I began to study colonial and post colonial Canada, as part of the British Empire. To me, the Macdonald statue represents colonial and post colonial crimes against humanity as revealed in the TRR. It took the Spirit of Truth, over 150 years to fight its way bravely out of the dark delusions that opposed it, like white Christian supremacy, that kept everyone ignorant of the religious terrorism being perpetrated against 150,000 native children over 150 years. It is indeed Canada's hidden indigenous holocaust, and this horror must be recognized, owned, and indeed embraced... Continue reading
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    Totally Inappropriate Location

    by Marc and Donna Saulnier, 8 months ago

    If people truly believe that this is a work of art, it should be placed in a gallery or museum where those who wish to see it can pay to see it. To place it in such a prominent location where the sight of it cannot be avoided is an action without care and consideration for others.

    Honouring genocide is a reprehensible act and cannot be buried in the notion of protecting history. The Indigenous people were on this land long before many of us and deserve respect.

    If the misguided attempt to leave the statue in place is successful... Continue reading

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    Let's do what is right, not what is easiest

    by Christine Renaud, 8 months ago

    I would like to outline five reasons why the Macdonald statue on Picton’s Main street needs to be removed and, at least, relocated to within a museum space or inside the courthouse with additional information to provide context of Macdonald’s racist policies.

    First, and I had raised this objection to the statue when it was originally erected, the creation of the statue as a piece of public art was never approved or decided upon in a democratic way with input from our community. Had that happened, we might not be where we are, spending countless hours and energy on what... Continue reading

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    We can do better!

    by Lenny Epstein, 8 months ago
    I was on our municipal council when we voted to accept the gift of the Sir John A statue and place it on Main St. Growing up in Canada, even in the 80s and 90s, we were taught to lionize our Country’s first prime minister. His policies led to confederation and the establishment of nascent country. It is sadly a narrative that didn’t tell the real story which is that in order to build this nation, Sir John A Macdonald and his peers undertook a genocide we still haven’t reckoned with and created racist policies to create the Aryan nation... Continue reading
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    Symbols of oppression have no place on main street

    by Will Loach, 8 months ago

    In its current form, without an overt expression of the truth of his legacy, this statue does not contribute to anyone's understanding of Canada's history. Melt it and put it to use as a boat-anchor, or if it's so precious, put it in a museum with a plaque that tells the whole story. There is not much more to be said; a decision by council to leave it as-is would be a disgrace.

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    Statues remind us to remember

    by Wendy Dunning , 8 months ago

    History shows us that Sir John A. Macdonald was a powerful contributor in shaping and building this nation - that fact is undisputed.

    We know now (sadly, in social hindsight) that some (not all) of his contributions were unjust, unethical, prejudiced and harmful in the very long term. We would be remiss to not remember the shameful aspects of what our country was built on, alongside the great ones.

    The removal of the statue erases the possibility of telling this whole story - good, bad and ugly, about this particular individual and his role in Canadian history. Leave the statue... Continue reading

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    Statues can teach.

    by Andrew Janikowski, 8 months ago
    This is the man who was responsible for this country we call Canada. Most of the articles of our constitution were written by this man who had to convince others to give the concept of Canada a go. Can we let go of this fact? That is the reality of his positive contribution. There is a lot of negatives about him as well - not to be denied. Let’s leave this statute in a prominent place and use it as a teaching moment how so much good can exist with so much bad.

    As an aside - the concentration camps... Continue reading

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    Statues glorify, they don’t teach

    by Bethany MacInnes, 8 months ago
    The statue of Macdonald on Picton Main Street glorifies a person who perpetrated a deliberate genocide of indigenous people; he put into place policies that are still negatively affecting indigenous people today. Why would we honour that person with a statue? Because he started his legal practice in our area?

    The statute should be completely removed from Main Street. Putting up a plaque as some suggest to tell “the other side“ of Macdonald’s Legacy isn’t good enough. We cannot say that as a country we are committed to reconciliation when we continue to glorify despicable people.
    To those who say... Continue reading

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    My Thoughts on the JAM Statue

    by Annelise Noronha, 8 months ago

    To whom it may concern

    I am a person of colour and an immigrant in this great country of ours. Because of such, my feelings are often contradictory with regards to colonialism in Canada. Without said colonizing of Canada, my family would not have come here...india to east africa to England and finally to Canada. Without the blanket of the commonwealth and an allegiance to the Queen, I would not enjoy the freedoms Canada has to offer. On the other hand, despite having the same freedoms and rights as most Canadians, my colour leaves me a victim of racism on... Continue reading