Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tracing The Footsteps Of McGee

This is a section of Sparks Street downtown. The outdoor pedestrian mall is a block south of Parliament Hill. The architecture of the entire street has changed over time- in the 1860s, a boarding house stood where the Subway now resides. It was a local home for Members of Parliament away from their ridings. Note the historical plaque over to the side. 


The boarding house was the residence for Thomas D'Arcy McGee, an Irish born journalist, activist, Montreal M.P., Father of Confederation, and one of the most eloquent Canadian politicians of his time. He was coming home late one evening in April 1868 from debates in the House of Commons when he was shot down by an assassin at his doorstep. The plaque is placed here at the site.


Walking east along the street brings us to a modern building named after him. The Thomas D'Arcy McGee Building houses, among other things, a number of federal courtrooms- a fitting use, as McGee's accomplishments included a law degree. The building itself is decidedly contemporary in its look (and very reflective), with a new addition in front of it- the bear sculpture was moved in recent months from its place further east on the street.


McGee's trail also leads further east on Sparks to a pub named after him. D'Arcy McGee's is housed on the first floor of one of the three buildings that make up The Chambers.

28 comments:

  1. Fascinating post, William, and I love seeing the store fronts!

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  2. Gostei de ver estas fotografias.
    Um abraço e Bom Ano de 2017.
    Andarilhar

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  3. Talk about a place full of history that has gone through some substantial changes. I don't understand outside pedestrian malls in cold and/or hot areas. We have some here, one especially in Destin, Florida, and in the summer it's miserable to try to shop there because of the heat. Love your header! Yikes that looks cold!

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  4. Interesting history about a shot politician.

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  5. His name still lives on in this place.

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  6. "The most eloquent of the Fathers of Confederation" what a grand title. As a linguist, I admire eloquence of speech!

    Janis
    GDP

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  7. Now that was an interesting bit of history. Thanks.

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  8. Thank you for teaching us about Canadian history of which we are woefully ignorant.

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  9. His death reminded me of the way John Lennon met his end William.. horrifying to think men have been killing each other for ever, with no end in sight!

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  10. One wonders what influence McGee would have had if he had lived?

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  11. @Linda: thank you!

    @Francisco: thanks.

    @Marleen: it is. Everything I've ever read about him, he was an extraordinary man.

    @Lowell: this area is much more used in warm weather, admittedly.

    @Marianne: I do wonder what he could have accomplished with his life had it not been for the shooting.

    @Nancy: it certainly does.

    @Janis: it's fitting for him.

    @Sharon: you're welcome.

    @Cloudia: a pleasure to do so.

    @Grace: whoever actually shot him- there's debate as to if the guy they convicted had a real role in it- was a coward, shooting from behind.

    @Red: who knows if he might have made a prime minister someday?

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  12. news 2 me, thanks for the history. ( ;

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  13. Nice photos, I like a lot of the last one.

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  14. Seems as if it was one (actually two, since the man convicted of the assassination was himself hanged) more death caused by a religious dispute.

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  15. A great story William. I'm sure he has family relations over here too.

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  16. @Beth: you're welcome.

    @Orvokki: that pub is quite inviting.

    @Catalyst: and yet the convicted assassin himself may have had been little more than a patsy. The consensus is, however, that Irish nationalists were behind the murder. They saw McGee as a traitor for his changing world view. Add religion into the mix and it made it all the worse. Whelan himself is still buried, as far as I know, at the former prison where he was hung. At the very least he should be re-interred at a Catholic cemetery as some of his distant relations have asked.

    @RedPat: he's worth remembering too.

    @Bill: I imagine so. He was quite a complex man, going from Irish nationalist to a different point of view.

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  17. Seems like I've hard a song about ol' D'Arcy.

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  18. I enjoyed the post William! Love the sculpture and the last photo!

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  19. That's quite a sculpture. It seems Canada had its share of violence in that era too.

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  20. An interesting history walk. The McGee building is very attractive. I like it. And that bear has such a sense of motion.

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  21. Nice photos. In this the first photo I would prefer to visit the Subway rather than the dentist (smile)

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  22. Love the design of the Irish pub sign. And what a fascinating background to these street views. McGee must have been quite a guy to attract so much honour.

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  23. I like the modern architecture as well as that facade of the Irish pub.

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  24. It is wonderful seeing these familiar sights!!!

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