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Macdonald Monument
Monument à Sir John A. Macdonald
Sir John A Macdonald Monument Montreal - 03.jpg
The monument as it appeared in 2011
Coordinates 45°29′55.5864″N 73°34′10.578″W / 45.498774000°N 73.56960500°W / 45.498774000; -73.56960500Coordinates: 45°29′55.5864″N 73°34′10.578″W / 45.498774000°N 73.56960500°W / 45.498774000; -73.56960500
Location Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Designer George Edward Wade
Material bronze, stone
Opening date 6 June 1895
Dedicated to John A. Macdonald

The Macdonald Monument (French: Monument à Sir John A. Macdonald) is a monument to Sir John A. Macdonald, first Prime Minister of Canada, by sculptor George Edward Wade (1853-1933), located at Place du Canada in the Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Work

At the top, an allegorical female figure carrying a horn of plenty represents Canada. Below, the children symbolize the seven provinces that made up Canada at the time. The bronze is housed under a stone baldachin replete with copper bas reliefs of industrial and agricultural trades practised in the Dominion he first commanded. While the plaza is arranged along the skewed cardinality characteristic of Montreal, Macdonald looks west-northwest, under a canopy created by trades, at the vast expanse awaiting the command coming from Montreal. Also, he faces off against the tribute to Sir Wilfrid Laurier, across the street in what is now Dorchester Square.

The two cannons flanking the monument were used at Sevastopol in the Crimean War and were a gift from Queen Victoria to the City of Montreal in 1892, to mark the 250th anniversary of the founding of the city.

History

The monument was unveiled by John Hamilton-Gordon, Earl of Aberdeen, Governor General of Canada on 6 June 1895.

Vandalism and calls for removal

Reassessments of Macdondald's role in Canadian history, particularly his assimilationist policies toward Indigenous Canadians and racist views of Asian immigrants, led to statues of Macdonald being removed and sometimes vandalized in other cities in the first decades of the 21st century. Since 2017, the Monument has itself been subjected to repeated vandalism, and was painted blue during an Extinction Rebellion protest.

Renewed calls for removal

In the midst of the anti-racism protests of 2020, which took place worldwide in solidarity with those following the killing of George Floyd while in police custody, and the removal of Confederate Army statues in the United States, Canadian cities have seen a rise in calls to remove Macdonald statues, and those of others linked to Canada's colonial legacy. Early in June, it was reported that the Monument was on a list of fifteen statues across Canada subject to petition for removal, with a Change.org petition begun in Montreal calling for the Monument's removal having garnered 2100 signatures as of 8 June. Several sculptures and monuments depicting historical figures across Canada "with ties to racist elements of Canada's past" were defaced, including a park bench statue of Macdonald covered in red paint in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. On 29 August 2020, during a defund the police protest, the statue in the monument was vandalized, toppled and decapitated. Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante condemned the actions and said the city plans to restore the statue.

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