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County to consult on proposed plan for future of Macdonald sculpture

January 13, 2022

Consultation on a proposal to relocate the Sir John A. Macdonald “Holding Court” sculpture to Macaulay Church will take place over the next several weeks.

“We are pleased to see progress being made by staff members on this important issue. They took the time to thoughtfully consider the comments offered at previous special Council meetings. In the coming weeks, we look forward to hearing from the public as we continue to work toward finalizing a plan for the future of the “Holding Court” sculpture that the community can support,” Mayor Steve Ferguson says.

The search for an appropriate public location for the sculpture has been ongoing after it was removed from Picton Main Street in June 2021. Staff have proposed a path forward whereby the sculpture would be part of a permanent exhibit exploring the local community’s reckoning with the national tragedy of the Indian Residential School system. The proposed plan is informed by the deputations made at the special Council meetings in November 2020 and June 2021.

Council has directed staff to begin consultation on the proposed plan. The first stage of consultation will involve staff speaking with key stakeholders including members of the Mohawks of the Bay of Quinte, members of the Macdonald Project, and members of the “Holding Court” Working Group that examined the future of the sculpture in 2020, as well as the sculpture’s artist Ruth Abernathy.

Following those discussions, staff will seek feedback from the broader public through a variety of means including in-person engagement opportunities (within COVID-19 health protocols).

Following the consultation period, County staff will finalize a plan that will go to Council for final approval by March 31, 2022, with the goal of launching the exhibit in the summer of 2022.

If you have questions, please contact Chris Palmer, Supervisor of Museums and Cultural Services, at 613.476.2148 extension 2521 or email

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