McCord Museum of Canadian History
The Photographic Studio of William Notman

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The Fathers of Confederation
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The Fathers of Confederation

It is 1864, and the men who will become known as the Fathers of Confederation, visit the Notman studio.


Transcription

William Notman
My Dear Sir, You will see by the papers that at present there is a movement to unite the provinces in this quarter under one government. I hope whatever may be the issue that it will prove a benefit to the country. We have had the principal visitors with us to be photographed and so far as the movement has gone, it has been a profit to me. I am yours very affectionately, William Notman.
Narrator
It is 1864, and the men who will become known as the Fathers of Confederation, visit the Notman Studio. It is a delicate matter, creating a new country. A matter of balance, of compromise. Yet all take time out from the serious business of attempting to create Canadian unity from fraction and discord, to present themselves for history.
Narrator
They may all have other things on their minds as they pose for Mr. Notman but you would not know it. Sir John A. Macdonald remarks that they are all mere petty provincial politicians. “Perhaps, by and by,” he adds, “some of us will rise to the level of statesmen.”

Roger Hall, Historian, University of Western Ontario

Roger Hall
I think he’s the man you see later on, quite nattily dressed, kind of a sly look about him, and he was called Old Tomorrow, there’s a hint of that there too. He’s a politician through and through: shake hands and count your fingers.