Sir John A. Macdonald's 200th birthday! I suspect most Canadians don't even know who he is. Sir John was Canada's first Prime Minister.
He was born in Glasgow, Scotland in 1815. His efforts joined four upstart young provinces (Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick) into a nation in 1867.
From what I can read, Sir John felt Canada had to be formed, otherwise the Americans would take it all! He was the first to suggest we have a national police force to patrol the vast western territories. That force became the R.C.M.P. He did everything he could (some legal, some not so much) to create a national railway running coast to coast. That became the Canadian Pacific Railway.
It's no secret that Sir John drank. Stories of him discussing politics with and lecturing a favorite lamp post in Ottawa were well known. Rumor has it that after the Charlottetown Conference of 1864, in the group photo of the "Fathers of Confederation," he is one of the only ones seated -- because he had too much to drink to stand still for the lengthy exposure time! His temper was also well known. He would defend his vision of Canada to anyone in sometimes very heated debate!
He got things done! When others told him it would be impossible, he made it happen. The problems and difficulties he faced were enormous, yet he and a couple of his colleagues overcame them! Things Prime Minister Macdonald had to deal with and overcome, make current Prime Minister Harper's problems seem like a walk in the park! I believe that Canada would not exist had it not been for Sir John's persistence, and downright stubbornness.
He was no angel, but I think he deserves a higher profile in Canadian culture than he has right now!
Happy Sir John A. Macdonald Day!