The 200 story nodes created in commemoration of the Sir John A. Macdonald Bicentennial can be searched by more than twenty themes, through the pins on the interactive map and by date on the timeline. 

You're viewing 13 stories about “Medical Realities
Smallpox circa 1909. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

19th Century Diseases


Life is anything but easy for John A., his family and any resident of Kingston (or anywhere else) in the 19th century when it comes to health.

Hugh John Macdonald by William Sawyer 1852. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Birth of John Alexander Macdonald

January 10-11, 1815

John Alexander Macdonald, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on either January 10 or January 11, 1815.

A New Map of Upper and Lower Canada, 1798; Stockdale Piccadilly. Source: Samuel Peter Jarvis and William Dummer Powell Collection, Archives of Ontario

Moving from Scotland to Canada


John A. was five years old when he left Scotland, bound for Kingston, Upper Canada, in 1820.

Portrait of Isabella Clark by William Sawyer. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Isabella Macdonald's Health Takes a Turn for the Worse


While Macdonald was away for weeks of time in Montreal (then the seat of parliament for the Province of Canada), Isabella began suffering from an illness that left her plagued with aches, pains and

Sir John A. and Kingston General Hospital

May 30, 1849

As Kingston grew, so did the need for medical care. In May 1846, Macdonald presented a memorandum to the Governor General requesting the establishment of a hospital and £300 was awarded.

John Alexander Macdonald Jr.


Born to John A. and his wife Isabella in 1847, Sir John A.'s namesake did not live long.

Hugh John Macdonald by William Sawyer 1852. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Births of John Alexander and Hugh John Macdonald


After their Christmas holiday together in New York City, Isabella found herself pregnant. John A. was by Isabella's side when she delivered a healthy baby boy on Aug. 2, 1847.

Newspaper notice of Isabella Macdonald's death and funeral. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Isabella Macdonald's Death

December 28, 1857

Sadly, on Dec. 28, 1857, one month after John A. had been appointed premier of the Province of Canada, Isabella died, bringing to a close a forlorn and unhappy period. John A.

John A. Macdonald, June 1, 1858. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Double Shuffle


1858 was an arduous year for John A. He was mourning the death of Isabella and his mother was in very poor health.

Baroness Macdonald of Earnscliffe and daughter Mary Macdonald. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Birth of Mary Theodora Macdonald

February 8, 1869

On February 8, 1869, Mary Theodora Macdonald was born to Lady Agnes and Sir John A.

East Block, Parliament Hill. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

John A. Diagnosed with Gallstones

May 6, 1870

On May 6, 1870, Sir John A.'s assistant heard a crash and found the Prime Minister in convulsions, his pulse almost undetectable. It appeared that Sir John A. was dying.