John Alexander Macdonald


The last man to carry the first prime minister's family name was the only son Sir Hugh John Macdonald.

John Alexander Macdonald was named after his grandfather but preferred the name Jack.

Dealing with diabetes

Jack was diagnosed with diabetes as a child, which was difficult to treat during the Victorian era since there was no cure or proper treatment to manage it. So, in an effort to curb his suffering, the Macdonalds took Jack on several trips to seek help from various medical communities.

Known hobbies

Despite being sheltered due to his illness, Jack managed to live an eventful life. He was an avid rower and competed in several competitions through Winnipeg’s rowing club.

Jack won the 1-1 mile in 1:37 with his teammates Claude Heuback, and P. Baker Walles McMillian. They beat Claude Aldous, Bay Thompson, Theo Monk, and Charlie Pances, according to The Winnipeg Tribune.

Jack’s team received pewter mugs for the win. His mug sits in his room at Dalnavert Museum and Visitors' Centre to this day.

His education

In 1899 he attended Upper Canada College in Toronto as a boarder and lived on the fourth floor (the attic). But, Jack returned to Winnipeg after one semester. Later in life, like his father and grandfather, Jack had his eye on law. He studied law at the University of Manitoba, but died at home before he could finish his degree.

Jack’s funeral

Jack’s funeral was at All Saints’ Anglican Church. The cortege started at Dalnavert at 2:30 p.m. and proceeded to the church where Rev. Canon Murray performed the service. His friends, Burke Wood, Crawford Richards, Louis Coldwell, Harry Hastings, B. MacCachen, Willie White, and former rowing mate Heuback were Jack’s pallbearers. He is buried alongside his family in St. John’s Cemetery.

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