"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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    For the Good and the Bad - Keep it where it is.

    by Richard Little , 8 months ago

    While Sir John A. has some bad history, he also did some very great things. The statue where it now stands is the perfect venue to present both the good and the bad. It should not be closeted or denied.

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    We Can't Re-write History

    by Susan Allen, 8 months ago
    As painful as some people think this is, it happened!!! We can't 'hide' everything that went on in the past or we will become a nation that thinks we have always been wonderful. Leave the statue where it is. We should be reminded that Canadians were not always 'kind' people.
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    Keep it where it is

    by Vida Edwards , 8 months ago
    It’s a part of history so I believe that we need to keep it. We can’t change our history but we can learn from our past and hopefully not repeat our mistakes.
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    Move it and add to it

    by Jess A Davis, 8 months ago

    Right now the statue doesn't tell a story of anything to those that don't know who John A was or why he is even in our town. It's not appropriate on Main St either because of the autrocities and painful reminders to those whose land we now steward.

    It should be moved and tell the whole story from as many viewpoints and as accurate as is possible. I agree that it needs context and to not be on Main st. But please don't destroy such a beautiful work of art either. Maybe put it away until the appropriate place and... Continue reading

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    Sir John A should stay

    by Joanne Nicholson, 8 months ago
    I am in favour of keeping the statue on Main Street where it currently sits in front of the library. The library is the place where people can learn more about the history surrounding Sir John A. There is much misinformation floating about of a negative nature. People need to read the whole history of the period and the man and then make decisions, not jump to conclusions based on twisted facts.
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    Sir John A. McDonald should Stay

    by Johanna McCarthy, 8 months ago

    The art installation of Sir John a McDonal “Holding Court’ is that of a young Sir John who argued his first case as a lawyer at the Picton Court House. Sir John grew up in Picton and he is part of Picton’s history. It is this history that the statue represents.


    It was the Parliament of 1880 that voted for the amendment of the Indian Act to place Indigenous children in Residential Schools, it not just Sir John A MacDonald personally. The residential schools were in place for over 100 years and any of the later Prime Ministers or parliaments... Continue reading

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    Sir John to remain on Main Street

    by Bruce Nicholson, 8 months ago
    I hold tremendous respect for what Sir John A. Macdonald accomplished as a lawyer and Canada's first prime minister. He has been attacked by individuals who are either ignorant of the facts of residential schools or have a bias against establishment. Attendance, at such schools. was not made mandatory until after his term as Prime Minister.

    Sir John A. introduced the Electoral Franchise Act in 1885 to allow women and indigenous peoples to vote.

    He stood up for minorities and the under-priviledged.

    The statue honours an historical Picton citizen who went on to become our Father of Confederation.

    The County... Continue reading

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    Contextualize it, move it and contextualize it or get rid of it.

    by Elizabeth Parkinson, 8 months ago

    Contextualize it, move it and contextualize it or get rid.

    5 year does not make this a precious landmark.

    Or maybe let the Banksy of the County repaint his hands red and leave it that way. Then it really will be a work of art.



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    A work of art

    by Bruce Dowdell, 8 months ago
    I view "Holding Court" as an interactive work of art. People can have their picture taken sitting in the prisoner's box being questioned by a young John A McDonald. It depicts the time he won his first court case here in Picton, well before he became involved in the situations he is being accused of as Prime Minister. Moving this piece of art to the Court House lawn would be appropriate but how many people, especially visitors, would find it there? It has been vandalized twice on Main Street, how many more times would this happen when it off the... Continue reading
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    We either care about reconciliation or we don’t

    by Julianne smola , 8 months ago
    I’m baffled that this conversation is still taking place. To some of our fellow Canadians—the ones who were here long before anyone else—this statue represents a genocide of their people and is deeply painful. Showcasing it in front of a public library (?!) on a Main Street (?!?!) sends a pretty clear message: this public library where learning is supposedly democratized was not made with you in mind. In fact, this Main Street, and this town were not made with you in mind. All of it was made by white people for white people, and even when you beg us... Continue reading