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St. Alban's Church

St.Alban’s Church

454 King Edward Avenue

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Sir John A. Macdonald, ca 1867 - 1891

Sir John A. Macdonald, ca 1867 - 1891

Library and Archives Canada

Harold Daly fonds


The Sandy Hill of 1865, or St. Georges Ward as it was then called, was a very different place than it appears today. Dominated by the Besserer Estate, Sandy Hill–Ottawa’s first suburb–was sparsely populated. A fashionable neighbourhood for Ottawa’s elite, Victorian mansions sprang up in the late 1800s.

Birds Eye View Map

Birds Eye View Map

Library and Archives Canada

Maps, plans and charts


Mourning Ribbon: Sir John A. Macdonald

Bytown Museum, N60 c

Metal, fabric, Photographic, Glass

Albumen Photograph: Macdonald Funeral

Bytown Museum, P2304

Paper, Photographic, Ink

Beginning at Parliament, the solemn procession wound through the streets to Sandy Hill, leading to St. Alban the Martyr Anglican Church. A memorial service took place here on June 9th, 1891. The Church, built in 1867, was attended by Macdonald weekly – at the urging of his very religious (second) wife – during his years living in Sandy Hill. St. Alban’s was a hub for the political elite of the day, where Macdonald’s personal life and public life met.

Born in 1815 in Glasgow, Scotland, John Alexander Macdonald moved to Kingston, Upper Canada, with his family when he was five years old. Known as a charismatic and quick-witted businessman, lawyer, and politician, Macdonald’s all-consuming commitment to his work was driven not only by his vision for Canada, but by compounded tragedies, which will be revealed over the course of the tour.  It is at St. Alban’s Church where we meet Macdonald’s ghost and begin our reflection on his life in Sandy Hill.

Closeup of map marking St. Alban's Church

Sir John Macdonald is dead.” On June 6, 1891, The Globe article reported the death of Sir John A. Macdonald at his Ottawa residence.

Celebrated by Canadians as the chief architect of Confederation and founder of the Dominion of Canada, Macdonald was grieved by thousands during his funeral procession on the streets of Ottawa.

Artifact: Ribbon, Mourning: Sir John A. Macdonald
St. Alban's Church, 1897 
M.P. Frank and Mrs. Lennard in front of Sir John A. MacDonald monument
Artifact: Photograph, Albumen: Macdonald's Funeral

M.P. Frank and Mrs. Lennard in front of Sir John A. MacDonald monument

City of Ottawa Archives


St. Alban's Church, 1897 

William James Topley

Library and Archives Canada


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