Share your views on the future of the "Holding Court" John A. Macdonald Statue

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The Sir John A. Macdonald statue "Holding Court" was returned from storage to 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?"

The Sir John A. Macdonald statue "Holding Court" was returned from storage to 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?

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    Cannot Judge the Past by Today's Standards

    by John Randall, about 1 hour ago

    This statue is a monument to remember someone who had a meaningful role in our nation's history. Specifically, to remember those positve contributions. Period.

    1) You cannot judge a person in the past based on today's standards.

    Try to think critically here. Let's say in a 100 years we think it's immoral to get married. Or fish or hunt. Or drive a car and pollute the world. Or drink bottled water. Or eat fast food. Or have pets. Do you want to be judged at that time by your actions today? Shall we remove your monument/grave stone? Would that right... Continue reading

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    Move to a museum location

    by Alice mennacher, about 9 hours ago
    I’d like to see the statue moved to a location where viewers can learn about macDonald in the context of the times in which he lived, compared to our thinking today. We can’t ignore the painful legacy of many of his ideas. It’s not appropriate for him to be celebrated on Main Street.
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    Move to a more appropriate location

    by Penny Morris, 1 day ago
    The location of this statue has always been wrong. In addition, wherever it is moved to (outside the old court house perhaps?) there should be a balanced history provided of both the good and the horrible deeds of this leader.
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    The JAM Statue has GOT TO GO

    by Ellis Greenberg, 1 day ago
    To echo the sentiment of many comments already present, the Holding Court statue has no place in downtown Picton, or anywhere in Canada. It is a visual marker of historic and ongoing colonization, and symbolizes the violent subjugation of Indigenous Peoples by the Canadian State that continues today. If we want the town of Picton to move towards any kind of reconciliation, and if we are going to claim that we are a "welcoming" community, the statue must be removed.
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    The County has already clearly spoken

    by vdetour, 2 days ago



    The "holding court" statue is a vestige of a time when white men ruled over everyone else, sometime brutally. It's been a long road to us, as a culture, finally starting to collectively stand against such injustice.

    The OPP confirmed that over 1000 people laid face-down for 9 minutes on Picton Main St. on June 6 as part of the peaceful Black Lives Matter protest.

    We can celebrate Sir John A's accomplishments without this statue. Please remove it from Picton main st.

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    Time for a different history

    by Jess Posgate, 3 days ago

    It's time to change how we represent the past and who we celebrate with public monuments. There are many good arguments on both sides already stated. I suggest that prince edward county lead and innovate in our public spaces, instead of following the overused paths of celebrating people and events that represent only one side of what makes up our history.

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    It should go.

    by Melanie Dailey, 3 days ago
    The statue represents different things for different people... and it seems we can debate that from here until eternity. For me, the bottom line is that it is in a shared public space and if it makes people feel unwelcome in this community, unequal, unsafe, uncomfortable, or harmed, it should go. There is simply no justification for keeping it. I cringe every time I look at it.
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    Too Painful

    by Jane McGall, 3 days ago
    I believe that Indigenous folks who visit the library should not need to walk by a visual reminder of a racist man who actively tried to eliminate their culture. It hurts me to walk by this statue because it reads as a glorification of a spectacularly hideous part of our past. How about we honour the survivors of the residential school system and the efforts being made to reclaim language and culture by first nations peoples, and not their oppressors?

    The statue must be removed because it is too painful for it to remain.

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    Be the center of attention amid a crowd of one's admirers

    by Joanne Barrett, 3 days ago

    "Be the center of attention amid a crowd of one's admirers"

    That is the definition of one who "holds court". When I look at the statue I feel it is intended to portray an admirable "person of justice". While John A. Macdonald may have many admirable historical accomplishments, I do not perceive him as a "person of justice", given his treatment of Indigenous people; nor do I admire him because of that abuse and racism. Not every one agreed with his atrocities at that time in history and many pleaded with him to stop. Even if the entire world agreed... Continue reading

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    History shouldn’t always be told be the winners

    by Nell Casson, 3 days ago
    This statue has no business being on the Main Street of Picton. Rehome Sir John A in a museum where he can have his larger story told to people who want to educate themselves.

    As an artist I appreciate inclusive and educational public art, but audiences don’t read; and shouldn’t have too read just to understand a piece of art. A plaque wont be enough to provide the full context of the complicated history that Sir John A represents.
    Having this monument, without offering any context, as one of the features of Main St Picton sends a message of hero... Continue reading