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‘Fathers’ plaques in works for 2017


OTTAWA—The federal department overseeing “Canada 150” celebrations is embarking on a capital-wide project to place commemorative plaques at locations where 15 Fathers of Confederation made a home during their time in Parliament.

In all, there are 32 spots the department identified as former residences to politically-historical figures, including Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Charles Tupper, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, and Sir Oliver Mowat.

Six homes remain intact and have a heritage plaque that mentions a Father of Confederation once lived there.

Six more former residences no longer exist but the buildings in their place have a heritage plaque.

That left 20 former residences for the department to identify and prepare for plaquing.

After Confederation, 11 of the key figures who brought the country together moved to Ottawa after joining the House of Commons, but four more also lived in Ottawa after the country was born.

Many lived in hotels or rooming houses that were affordable and where the food was decent.

Many simply paid for a room in whatever housing was available.

In time, some bought homes in what were the upscale neighbourhoods in post-Confederation Ottawa.

But where once stood homes now stands office towers, government buildings, monuments, new homes to replace older ones that burned to the ground, and, in some cases, parking lots.

For example, one spot where Sir Charles Tupper lived is now the headquarters for the Canadian Red Cross while the other location is home to another Canadian icon: a Tim Hortons.

In late July, the department announced a plaque would be placed on the former home of Sir George-Etienne Cartier.

The plaque will adorn the site of what is now the Hotel Indigo—one of two addresses where Cartier lived.

The other location is around the Confederation Building where MPs have offices.

On July 31, the date the Cartier plaque was announced, then-heritage minister Shelly Glover had approved a plan to place plaques at 19 more sites.

The recommendation Glover signed off on lists the cost of the first plaque between $19,000 and $21,500.

Every additional plaque would cost between $7,000 and $9,500.

Based on those estimates, the cost for all 20 plaques would be between $152,000 and $202,000.

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