Open main menu

John Macdonald (Canadian politician)

John Macdonald (December 27, 1824 – February 4, 1890) was a Canadian merchant, churchman, philanthropist, and politician in the late 19th century in Toronto. He was a major patron of the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) and the Toronto General Hospital. In 1860, he built a mansion called 'Oaklands', which is now De La Salle College (Toronto),[1] a private co-educational school in the Deer Park area of mid-Toronto.

The Hon.

John Macdonald
John Macdonald.png
Senator for Ontario
In office
Appointed byJohn A. Macdonald
Member of the Canadian Parliament
for Toronto Centre
In office
Preceded byRobert Wilkes
Succeeded byRobert Hay
Personal details
Born(1824-12-27)December 27, 1824
Perth, Scotland
DiedFebruary 4, 1890(1890-02-04) (aged 65)
Toronto, Ontario
Political partyIndependent Liberal
Alma materDalhousie University


Early lifeEdit

Macdonald was born in Perth, Scotland and came to Upper Canada in 1837 when his father's regiment was transferred there. He studied at Dalhousie University and then Bay Street Academy in Toronto before entering business.

Business careerEdit

After a few years working for others, Macdonald opened his own retail dry goods business in Toronto in September 1849. By 1853 he had moved to wholesaling and by the 1870s was taking in $1 million in sales each year.

Political careerEdit

Macdonald represented West Toronto in the 8th Parliament of the Province of Canada from 1863, when he defeated John Beverley Robinson, until he himself was defeated in 1867. After Confederation, which he opposed, he served as an Independent Liberal Member of the House of Commons of Canada for the riding of Toronto Centre from 1875 to 1878. He was appointed to the Senate of Canada on the recommendation of Prime Minister Sir John A. Macdonald on November 9, 1887. His term ended with his death in 1890.


Macdonald died in Toronto, on February 4, 1890. He is interred at his family's plot in the Toronto Necropolis Cemetery.


Building Year Completed Builder Style Source Location Image
Oaklands 1860 John Macdonald, design William Hay 8 De La Salle College  


External linksEdit