Fathers of Confederation

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A Canadian 3 cent stamp from 1917 based on Robert Harris's 1884 painting "Fathers of Confederation".

The Fathers of Confederation are the 36 people who attended at least one of the Charlottetown (23 attendees) and Quebec (33) Conferences in 1864 and the London Conference of 1866 (16) in England, preceding Canadian Confederation. The following lists the participants in the Charlottetown, Quebec, and London Conferences and their attendance at each stage.[1][2]

Queen Victoria has been called the "Mother of Confederation".[3] Her role in Confederation is recognized by the celebration of Victoria Day in Canada.

Four other individuals have been labelled as Fathers of Confederation. Hewitt Bernard, who was the recording secretary at the Charlottetown Conference, is considered by some to be a Father of Confederation.[4] The leaders most responsible for bringing three specific provinces into Confederation after 1867 are also referred to as Fathers of Confederation,[1] the provisional government established by Louis Riel ultimately negotiated the terms under which Manitoba entered the Canadian Confederation in 1870.[5] The leadership of Amor De Cosmos was instrumental both in bringing democracy to British Columbia and in bringing the province into Confederation in 1871,[6] the province of Newfoundland entered the Canadian Confederation in 1949 under the leadership of Joey Smallwood, who was then referred to as the "only living Father of Confederation".[7]

Table of participation[edit]

Participant[2] Portrait Province (Current) Charlottetown Quebec City London
Sir Adams George Archibald
Adams George Archibald.jpg
Nova Scotia Yes Yes Yes
George Brown
Ontario Yes Yes No
Sir Alexander Campbell
Sir Alexander Campbell.jpg
Ontario Yes Yes No
Sir Frederick Carter
Newfoundland and Labrador No Yes No
Sir George-Étienne Cartier
George-Etienne Cartier.jpg
Quebec Yes Yes Yes
Edward Barron Chandler
Edward Barron Chandler.jpg
New Brunswick Yes Yes No
Jean-Charles Chapais
Jean-Charles Chapais.jpg
Quebec No Yes No
James Cockburn
James Cockburn.jpg
Ontario No Yes No
George Coles
George Coles.jpg
Prince Edward Island Yes Yes No
Robert B. Dickey
Robert B. Dickey.jpg
Nova Scotia Yes Yes No
Charles Fisher
New Brunswick No Yes Yes
Sir Alexander Tilloch Galt
Sir Alexander Galt.jpg
Quebec Yes Yes Yes
John Hamilton Gray
John Hamilton Gray (1811-1887).jpg
Prince Edward Island Yes Yes No
John Hamilton Gray
John Hamilton Gray.jpg
New Brunswick Yes Yes No
Thomas Heath Haviland
Thomas Heath Haviland 2.jpg
Prince Edward Island No Yes No
William Alexander Henry
William Alexander Henry.jpg
Nova Scotia Yes Yes Yes
Sir William Pearce Howland
Ontario No No Yes
John Mercer Johnson
John Mercer Johnson.jpeg
New Brunswick Yes Yes Yes
Sir Hector-Louis Langevin
Quebec Yes Yes Yes
Andrew Archibald Macdonald
Andrew Archibald Macdonald.jpg
Prince Edward Island Yes Yes No
Sir John A. Macdonald
Ontario Yes Yes Yes
Jonathan McCully
Jonathan McCully.jpg
Nova Scotia Yes Yes Yes
William McDougall
William McDougall.jpg
Ontario Yes Yes Yes
Thomas D'Arcy McGee
Quebec Yes Yes No
Peter Mitchell
Peter Mitchell.jpg
New Brunswick No Yes Yes
Sir Oliver Mowat
Oliver Mowat.jpg
Ontario No Yes No
Edward Palmer
Edward Palmer.jpg
Prince Edward Island Yes Yes No
William Henry Pope
William Henry Pope.jpg
Prince Edward Island Yes Yes No
John William Ritchie
John William Ritchie.jpg
Nova Scotia No No Yes
Sir Ambrose Shea
Ambrose Shea.jpg
Newfoundland and Labrador No Yes No
William H. Steeves
William Henry Steeves.jpg
New Brunswick Yes Yes No
Sir Étienne-Paschal Taché
Étienne-Paschal Taché.jpg
Quebec No Yes No
Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley
Samuel Leonard Tilley.jpg
New Brunswick Yes Yes Yes
Sir Charles Tupper
Nova Scotia Yes Yes Yes
Edward Whelan
Edward Whelan.jpg
Prince Edward Island No Yes No
Robert Duncan Wilmot
Robert Duncan Wilmot.jpg
New Brunswick No No Yes

Historic photographs[edit]

Delegates from the Legislatures of Canada, gathering on the steps of Prince Edward Island's Government House for the Charlottetown Conference – Photo by George P. Roberts on September 11, 1864. 
Delegates of the Legislatures of Canada gathering at the Quebec Conference – Photo by Jules I. Livernois on October 27, 1864. 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Fathers of Confederation". CanadianHistory. 2008. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
  2. ^ a b Bélanger, Claude (2001). "Studies on the Canadian Constitution and Canadian Federalism". Department of History, Marianopolis College. Retrieved 2010-06-21. 
  3. ^ Bouard, Arthur; Toffoli, Garry (1991). Royal Observations. Toronto: Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 10. ISBN 1-55002-076-5. Retrieved September 14, 2010. The Queen's role in promoting Canadian unity truly made her the "Mother of Confederation" and at her death Victoria Day, that uniquely Canadian holiday, was created as a memorial day... 
  4. ^ Harrison, Robert A (2003). The conventional man. Canadian Legal History by University of Toronto Press. p. 627. ISBN 0-8020-8842-2. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  5. ^ The Heritage Centre. "Louis Riel The Provisional Government". Archived from the original on 10 August 2007. Retrieved 23 September 2007. 
  6. ^ Frances, Stanford (2002). Canada's Confederation. S&S Learning Materials. p. 44. ISBN 1-55035-708-5. Retrieved 2011-09-02. 
  7. ^ Argyle, Ray (2012). Joey Smallwood, Schemer and Dreamer. Dundurn Press. ISBN 9781459703698. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]