In anticipation of Canada's 150th Birthday Bash, Galerie Q initiated the Nation Builders project nearly two years ago.

PORTRAIT
SERIES
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Sir John A. Macdonald

(1867-1873, 1878 - 1891)

Sir John A. Macdonald was not only a founding father of Canada but also one of the country’s greatest Prime Ministers. He is portrayed holding the British North America Act, of which he was the principal author, passed by the British Parliament in 1867 to create the Canadian Confederation. The map, with one large territory and seven provinces, illustrates Canada as it was in 1891, the year of Macdonald’s death.

Prior to confederation, Macdonald helped create the Conservative party but as Prime Minister, he campaigned as a Liberal Conservative, and is portrayed with a purple-blue tie. The model train, engine number 374, was the first passenger train to arrive in Vancouver, fulfilling Macdonald’s promise to unite Canada by rail. Below it is a picture of the North-West Mounted Police, established by Macdonald to bring law and order to the Northwest Territories. Of the set of books, one is titled, "18 Years, 359 Days" for his time as Prime Minister, the others are law books he owned as a lawyer and to represent the office of Attorney General, which he held for most of his political career.
Sir John A. Macdonald
Louis St. Laurent

Louis St. Laurent

(1948 - 1957)

Louis St. Laurent ran the government with expert efficiency, paying off all Canada’s debts and gaining a surplus, with which he introduced old age pensions, hospital insurance, family allowance, unemployment insurance and funding for colleges and universities plus housing supplements for the needy, those with health issues, and students. St. Laurent made the Supreme Court of Canada the last court of appeal and partially patriated Canada’s Constitution.

He presided over the entry of Newfoundland into confederation, created the Royal Commission on the Arts, Letters, and Sciences, appointed the first Canadian-born Governor General, introduced equalization payments to redistribute tax revenues to assist provinces, as required and oversaw construction of the TransCanada Highway, the St. Lawrence Seaway and the TransCanada Pipeline. St. Laurent was a founding member of the United Nations and NATO.

Wilfred Laurier

(1896 - 1911)

Sir Wilfred Laurier presided over a prolonged period of growth and prosperity during which industry boomed, two new transcontinental railways were begun, the Royal Canadian Navy was created and Alberta and Saskatchewan entered confederation. A master of compromise, Laurier appealed to moderate Canadians and made the reconciliation of the English and French a priority of his tenure.

Laurier’s approach to resolving conflict was inspired by Aesopʼs fable proving the sunʼs warmth offers a better resolution than the windʼs bluster. Although governments frequently rage, bellow and demand obedience, he believed it was more just and more equitable to thoroughly investigate the subject of contention, bring the parties together to examine the facts, promote compromise and work out a satisfactory solution for both sides.

A lawyer and a politician, Sir Wilfred Laurier is shown wearing a ring with the University of McGill coat of arms to commemorate his law degree. Laurier was the Prime Minister with the longest uninterrupted term.
Wilfred Laurier
John Diefenbaker

John Diefenbaker

(1957 - 1963)

Presiding during a time of economic slowdown, Diefenbaker focused on developing the North while expanding the social welfare system and revitalizing western agriculture. He facilitated the sale of wheat to China, granted the vote to Canada’s native population, appointed the first female cabinet minister and the first aboriginal senator.

He made the necessary but unpopular decision to cancel the Avro Arrow. His proudest achievement was the Canadian Bill of Rights which emphasized the individual freedoms of each Canadian.

Alexander Mackenzie

(1873 -1878)

As second Prime Minister of Canada, Mackenzie was very proud of his humble background and his career as a stonemason builder. He declined a knighthood three times. The artist has placed Mackenzie in front of a wall of Fort Henry, which he helped build. The drawing behind him is the Royal Military College in Kingston which he founded, along with the militia.

He also created the supreme court which is represented by a symbol on his lapel and the office of the AUDITOR GENERAL of Canada, symbolized by the crest on the wall. Mackenzie also gave Canada the secret ballot and the wooden box in the painting is representative of one from the 1870's. His pocket watch has an engraved number "5" for his years in office and because Mackenzie was a Liberal, his tie is red.
Alexander Mackenzie