January 8, 2018 6:32 pm
Updated: January 9, 2018 5:49 pm

Sir John’s Public House to be renamed

A downtown restaurant and pub that's named after the city's most famous son is dropping Sir John A. MacDonald from its name.


Kingstonians will soon notice something different downtown on King Street — outside of Sir John’s Public House to be more specific. The management at the pub has decided to change its name to just “Public House.”

So why the change of name?

In 2017, the pub faced some controversy from some Kingstonians. Many in the community have a historical association with residential schools and strong feelings against Sir John A. Macdonald.

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“We certainly felt that there was a demonstration here in front of the pub on Labour Day,” says Paul Fortier, owner of Sir John’s Public House.

READ MORE: COMMENTARY: Kingston debates whether Sir John A. Macdonald’s name should be removed from public spaces

The management at the pub wishes to be sensitive to some clientele, and that prompted them to change their name.

Fortier says, “We wanted to be sensitive to Indigenous people so customers who said they could no longer come here, they didn’t feel that it was a safe place and we wanted it to be a safe place.”

The pub used to be Sir John’s law office from 1849 to 1860.

“We can never erase the historical association that Sir John A. Macdonald has with this building but we thought in the spirit of reconciliation, it’s time to move forward.”

READ MORE: The controversy over Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, explained

We asked Kingstonians what they think about this change. Local store owner Glen Shackleton says, “I think it will be really interesting to see what they change the name to. I really like the historic tie of the pub.”

Kingston resident Brittney Running says, “I like the name. I think that things should probably stay the way they are.”

Kingstonians will see the name changed to the Public House on Tuesday.

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