I would like to see the statue moved to the grounds of The Empress. This would be a good compromise that would respect all parties. It is important to remember that two decades ago, it was the supporters of Sir John A. Macdonald who wanted the statue moved away from City Hall and to a more prominent and respectful location. Here is a Times-Colonist article from February 11, 2000:
A brewing custody battle over the home for Canadian forefather Sir John A. Macdonald proved too complex Thursday for Victoria city councillors who ordered a staff report.
On behalf of the Sir John A. Macdonald Historical Society, lawyer Chris Considine asked councillors permission Thursday to move a statue of Canada's first prime minister from City Hall's side door to The Empress hotel.
"I cannot think of a really more fitting place for him to be appreciated by so many more people in a historical context as well as a cultural context," said Considine.
The society is offering to pay the $10,000 cost of moving the city-owned statue, the cost of a plinth and new plaque so that the statue can be installed across from the legislature and the Royal B.C. Museum.
"It's a wonderful opportunity to share Sir John with many people from around the world to convey a sense of the history of this country," he said.
The Tory prime minister was also Victoria's MP 1878 to 1882, although he never visited here until 1886.
But concerns expressed by Couns. Pam Madoff and Dave McLean over ownership, placement, cost and a replacement statue caused councillors to request a staff report and to call an extraordinary meeting of the little-known Public Art Advisory Committee.
McLean likes Sir John A. where he is and if he must move, he wants a replacement.
"Do we want to have a public art precinct around the Inner Harbour and the legislature or do we want art and historic memorabilia throughout our whole core and the community. That's an issue," said McLean.
But Considine said since Macdonald spearheaded the Canadian Pacific Railway, his statue should be on CPR grounds at the Empress. Further, despite other statues downtown, this would be the "first truly Canadian statue."
"(It's a) very important location symbolically and historically," said Considine.
The Victoria lawyer later increased his bid and said he will "recommend the society place some seed money with the city in trust for the purposes of whatever else they'd like to put there."
Madoff searched the city's archives and said she can not find support for the society's claim that the City Hall location was to be temporary.
And although Madoff supports the society's right to ask to move the statue, she disagreed with some of its reasons.
Madoff said the statue's location -- on Pandora Avenue across from a pub and a corner known for drug dealing and prostitution -- is not obscure and that it does not need a plinth.
"One of the things I've always found so delightful about Sir John A. is that he's on a pedestrian level which creates a different kind of interaction with the art," said Madoff.
Victoria Mayor Alan Lowe said "it may be fitting" to move the statue.
"There are a few concerns we have at this point. With some meetings with the proponents we will be able to resolve them, I hope."
Lowe wants answers on the city's responsibility of the statue while on private land, although the Empress has said it will maintain the art.
Here is another article, this time from February 10, 2000, in which the City of Victoria was accused of breaking its promise to place the statue in a more prominent location than City Hall:
Where's the statue of Sir John A. Macdonald, the father of Confederation and former Victoria MP?
No one knows, says Victoria lawyer Chris Considine, a member of the Sir John A. Macdonald Historical Society.
And that's the problem.
Considine wants to move the statue, currently at City Hall's "obscure" side door on Pandora Avenue, to a flowerbed at The Empress.
"He's a founding member of our country and he should have proper prominence for bringing together this country," said Considine Wednesday. He'll make his request to city council today.
Considine said only reporters and City Hall staff know where the statue is.
Moreover, the intersection of Pandora Avenue and Broad Street is notorious for drug dealers and prostitutes -- giving Sir John A. Macdonald an eyeful.
Whereas a move to The Empress will give Macdonald "a prominent home from which he may view and reflect upon Victoria as it enters this new century."
Councillors Pam Madoff and Dave McLean took offence to the negative references to City Hall's location.
"We're just now spending a lot of money on the Broad Street revitalization from the Eaton Centre to that entrance. I quite like Sir John A. right there," said McLean.
McLean maintains Victorians do see the statue and moving it will only benefit tourists. But if the statue does go, McLean wants compensation -- an Emily Carr statue, perhaps.
"We're not going to let it go for nothing," he said.
Macdonald immigrated to Canada from Glasgow, Scotland and was first elected to the legislative assembly at the age of 29.
By 1857 he was the associate prime minister of Upper Canada and he forged the alliances necessary to make possible Confederation in 1867. He was also integral to the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Macdonald represented Victoria from 1878 to 1882, and died in office in 1891.
"He's an outstanding representative of Canada and Canadian unity, as well he gives us a sense of our history both as British Columbians and Canadians," said Considine, whose grandfather was Macdonald's private secretary and official biographer.
Considine would like to see the statue moved by Canada Day, July 1. When the Sir John A. Macdonald Historical Society donated the statue to the city in the early 1980s, the idea was it would be placed in an ideal location.
Inexplicably, said Considine, the city "reneged on its commitment to provide a prominent location for the commissioned statue and rather placed it, without a plinth, at a rather obscure location near the side entrance to City Hall."
Madoff said the Pandora Avenue entrance is not obscure but could be convinced to move it -- if the "obscure" location was not a factor.
"They could say they'd like to move it to an even more prominent location and that would be fine," she said.
The historical society has offered to pay to refinish the statue, transport it, and set it on a four-foot plinth with a plaque containing biographical details.
In a letter to Considine, Empress general manager Ian Powell, said the statue is welcome at The Empress.