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 19 stories about “Law and Order

Legal Apprenticeship


John A.'s formal education ends at age 15, when he begins articling with George Mackenzie, a Kingston lawyer and friend of the Macdonald family.

Kingston Penitentiary circa 1906. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Construction of Kingston Penitentiary


The Penitentiary has long been one of the defining institutions of Kingston.

The unveiling of 'Holding Court.'  L-R: Robert Quaiff (Mayor of Prince Edward County), Daryl Kramp (M.P. Hastings and Prince Edward), Janet Minor (Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada), Ruth Abernethy (Artist), David Warrick (Chair of the Macdonald Project). Source: The Macdonald Project.

John A.'s First Legal Case

October 8, 1834

Macdonald's first legal case ended in a  fistfight with the opposing counsel at the Picton courthouse.

In the left corner, the windows of the rooms turned into jail cells at Fort Henry have been barred. Watercolour by Lt. George St. Vincent Whitemore of the Royal Engineers, 1841. Source: National Archives of Canada.

The 1838 Escape from Fort Henry

June 29, 1838.

On June 29th, 1838 the prisoners of the Rebellion in Upper Canada escaped through one of Fort Henry’s underground chambers.

Sir Alexander Campbell. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Alexander Campbell Becomes John A.'s Second Articling Student


In 1839 Alexander Campbell becomes Macdonald's second articling student (Oliver Mowat is his first). Four years later Macdonald makes him a junior partner.

Sir John A Macdonald circa 1842 or 1843. Artist unknown. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

The Brandt Trial


In the autumn of 1839, John A. defended Abraham Brandt, a Mohawk man, against the charge of murder in the brutal beating and death of fellow Mohawk man, John Marrikell. John A.

Henry Smith Jr. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Henry Smith Jr.


Henry Smith Jr. is an immigrant from England and three years older than John A. Macdonald.

Fire insurance map of Kingston circa 1911. On this map the Stuartsville of the 1840s is contained within lots 17, 20 and 21, now near the heart of Queen's University campus. The centre of Picardville is lot 11 notable for the mention of Frontenac Park, now McBurney Park (locally referred to as Skeleton Park), but was in the 1840s still the Upper Burial Ground. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

Kingston's Slums


Kingston had two slum neighbourhoods in the 1840s: Stuartsville west of Barrie Street, and Picardville between Princess Street and Raglan Road.

Confederation Celebrations in Market Square on July 1, 1867. Source: Queen's University Archives.

John A.'s Community Presence


Apart from is career in law and politics, Macdonald was a visible and active presence in 19th century Kingston society.

Charles Dickens on Kingston Penitentiary

Charles Dickens on Kingston Penitentiary

May, 1842

On his 1842 visit to Kingston, Charles Dickens made the following observations, recorded in American Notes, about Kingston Penitentiary:

Report on Prisoners Brought to Stationhouse (bottom portion). Source: City of Kingston.

Report of Prisoners Brought to Stationhouse in April of 1843

April 1843

On April 8, 1843, Samuel Shaw, Chief Constable of Police from 1840 to 1849, submitted a “Report of Prisoners Brought to Stationhouse” (the framed recent copy is available for viewing in the city ha

City Hall's Police Holding Cells

City Hall's Police Holding Cells


Only one of the four cells has a window, and it is yet to be determined if that was a later change. They range in size from 5’10½” x 7’11” to 9’7” x 10’.

Kingston City Hall and Market circa 1910. Source: Archives of Ontario.

Kingston's City Hall

1844-present day

Designed by famed architect George Brown and now a National Historic Site, Kingston's majestic City Hall was completed in 1844. Even today City Hall commands the Kingston skyline.

Kingston Penetentiary North Lodge

Kingston Penitentiary North Lodge


In the autumn of 1840, architect William Coverdale presented his plans for a stone perimeter wall to replace the decaying wooden fence protecting Kingston Penitentiary.

Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph's caring for typhus victims, Kingston waterfront, 1847. Artist unknown. Source: St. Joseph Region Archives of the Religious Hospitallers of St. Joseph, Kingston K-135.

The 1847 Typhus Epidemic


In 1847, Kingston harboured thousands of Irish emigrants fleeing the Great Famine.

Kingston Penitentiary circa 1906. Source: Library and Archives Canada.

George Brown's 1849 Report on Kingston Penitentiary


Macdonald denounces George Brown's 1849 report on Kingston Penitentiary and accuses Brown of bias. His defence of warden Smith, father of his close friend Henry Smith, is unwavering.