(Photo Credit: Claire MacDonald)
Home to Canada’s first Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald, his wife Agnes and their daughter Margaret Mary from 1878 – 1883.
The Macdonalds moved to Stadacona Hall shortly after Sir John A. won re-election from Alexander Mackenzie. It was during these years that progress was made towards building the Canadian Pacific Railway – a condition of British Columbia’s agreement to join confederation.
Built in 1871 by local lumber baron John Cameron, there are conflicting accounts on how this Gothic limestone cottage came to be called Stadacona. Some believe it was given its Iroquois name by Marie-Louise Nolan, wife of Quebec politician and journalist Joseph-Édouard Cauchon who lived in the home prior to the Macdonalds (1875-1877). It was thought that the name evoked her beloved Québec City where her husband had served as mayor prior to their arrival in Ottawa, and near which there was an Iroquoian village with the same name. Another explanation comes from Lilian Desbarats who claims Macdonald named Stadacona after the gentlemen’s club in Kingston to which he belonged.
Of note, it wasn’t only the political elite of the day strutting their stuff at Stadacona. To the glee of neighbourhood children, the Macdonalds also kept peacocks in the yard.
Sir John A. Macdonald lived in the neighbourhood of Sandy Hill before, after and during the time of Confederation. He is known to have resided at 63 Daly Avenue from 1865 – 1871, and on the Northwest corner of Chapel and Besserer from 1871-1878.