John A. MacDonald, Victoria, BC, Canada

A statue of Sir John A. McDonald was removed by city action in August 2018 as part of a municipal process of reconciliation with local First Nations.

MacDonald was Canada’s first Prime Minister and served for a total of 19 years, during which he shaped the Dominion of Canada in significant ways, many of which still stand. His legacy includes:

  • Founding the residential schools to which First Nations children were forcibly removed and in which they were banned from speaking their own languages or practicing their own cultures, and subjected to widespread abuse1.
  • Introducing an openly discriminatory head tax on Chinese immigrants to Canada2.
  • The brutal suppression of a Métis rebellion in the prairies, culminating in the execution of its leader Louis Riel and several indigenous warriors and the subjugation of the First Nations in what is now Western Canada3.

In 2017, the City of Victoria began a formal process of reconciliation with the First Nations on whose land it was built4. In 2018, City Council voted to remove a statue of MacDonald from in front of City Hall as part of that process, and the statue was removed on August 115.

As of mid-2020, the statue remains in storage and its long term fate is yet to be determined6.


  1. Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Canada’s Residential Schools: The History, Part 1 Origins to 1939 ↩︎

  2. The Canadian Encyclopedia: Chinese Head Tax in Canada ↩︎

  3. The Canadian Encyclopedia: North-West Rebellion ↩︎

  4. City of Victoria: Reconciliation ↩︎

  5. CBC: John A. Macdonald statue removed from Victoria City Hall ↩︎

  6. CTV News: Future of Sir John A. Macdonald statue focus of Victoria meeting ↩︎

Photo Credit: Megan Thomas/CBC