First PM’s home facing demolition

It appears that the movement to preserve parts of Canada’s short history is taking a beating again, with reports that Sir John A. Macdonald’s first home is soon to be razed. Matthew Hart of The Star reports from Glasgow, Scotland:

In a grimy lane in central Glasgow stand an abandoned brothel and a boarded-up saloon. Partners in hopelessness, they face the dismal thoroughfare. The building that houses them, like all its neighbours, is slated for demolition, and standing there you think: the sooner the better.

“And you’d never know this place had anything to do with him,” said Douglas Pritchard, a Winnipeg-born architect, as he stood in the Glasgow lane and looked at the hoardings and the flaking paint and the green weeds growing in the cracks.

“If this was connected to George Washington, the Americans would have covered it in gold. There’d be arrows pointing the way from miles around,” Pritchard said.

“Not even a plaque.”

However, all is not lost, as the property is owned by Selfridges, a high-end department store, which is actually owned by Canadian billionaire Galen Weston. When the company heard about the importance of the property, they promised some sort of action:

This week, learning that their Glasgow site was connected to Macdonald, Selfridges agreed to include a memorial in its development plans.Veteran Glasgow city councillor Colin Deans, born in Scotland but raised in Nova Scotia, is a proponent of a Macdonald memorial, as is councillor Catherine McMaster.

“I can assure you,” McMaster said in an email, “that I will be active and robust in my promotion of the memorial to Sir John A. Macdonald.”

Details on Sir John A.’s early life are sketchy at best, and there is a healthy debate as to where exactly he was born. However, this address is the only one that is definitely associated with the Macdonald family. While it appears the forces of development will take what is otherwise an unimportant building, I hope that the responsible Canadian agency ensures that the Macdonald monument will be appropriate for a man so important to the creation and success of our fine country.

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