Glasgow-born PM is to be honoured

WHEN he was just five, John Macdonald left Glasgow with his family for a new life in Canada.

Loading Comments
John Macdonald became the first Prime Minister of Canada
John Macdonald became the first Prime Minister of Canada

As they set sail, little did they think the youngster would go on to become the country's first Prime Minister.

Now Canada is preparing to mark the 200th anniversary of his birth, in Glasgow's Laurieston, with a series of events.

The young Macdonald moved to Bath Street, then to a flat in Brunswick Lane, next to the Mitre and the Fox and Hound bars, before setting sail for Canada in 1820.

The family's home was demolished many years ago but the site is the focus for Canadians looking to mark the anniversary next year, and a plaque honouring Macdonald can be found in Ramshorn Cemetery in the Merchant City.

The youngster's family emigrated to Kingston, in Upper Canada - today the southern and eastern portions of Ontario - after his father Hugh's unsuccessful business ventures left them in debt. Soon after they arrived, John's younger brother James died from a blow to the head from a servant who was supposed to look after the boys.

After he quit formal school at 15, he needed to start earning immediately to support his family because his father's businesses were again failing, so his parents decided he should be a lawyer.

Macdonald began his apprenticeship with a prominent young lawyer and was called to the Canadian bar in 1836.

He took on dramatic criminal cases, which got him noticed, then entered politics in 1843 when he was appointed to the local council.

The following year he was elected Conservative member of the Legislative Assembly.

Between 1867 and 1873, Macdonald was the first Prime Minister of what is today recognised as Canada and was returned again as Prime Minister from 1878 to 1891.

Plans are under way in Glasgow to mark the anniversary of the birth of the local lad, who went on to become Sir John Macdonald.

A city council spokesman said it is hoped to get a tribute to him at the site of his last home in the city.

The spokesman added: "The city council and, I understand, the Scottish Government are aware that January 11, 2015, marks the 200th anniversary of his birth in Glasgow.

"We will continue to discuss with the site owners what form any commemoration to Sir John may take on the site around Brunswick Lane."


Local government

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on Evening Times on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis. If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.


Have you got a story?

Contact the news desk on 0141 302 6520 or email
A weekly round up of social highlights

A weekly round up of social highlights

Cat's Eyes on Glasgow

The Look Awards, a bra fitting and going veggie at Usha’s.




Gail’s Gab

Gail’s Gab

Gail Sheridan is a mother-of-one and wife to Tommy and she likes to get political with the hot topic of the week in her column Gail’s Gab.

Michelle McManus

Michelle McManus

Sussed in the City

Jam packed with Empire biscuit making.

Janice Bell

Janice Bell

You couldn’t make up half the stuff that happens to PA Janice Bell- some of the jams she gets herself into are worth a story or two.