2015 marks Sir John A. MacDonald’s 200th birthday. The celebration to the bicentennial has been going strong for over a year now with The Sir John A. Walking Tour, The MacDonald Festival and a series of videos of a miniature Sir John wandering around our city, taking in the sites and hanging out with local public figures. These videos have all been made possible thanks to two Kingstonians, Jeremy Johnston and James Brown.
Johnston is a Masters student at Queen’s, studying Urban and Regional Planning and is the man behind the camera. Brown, a notable Kingston philanthropist, is the producer and “idea man” behind each video. The two have worked on several short videos now and have their art down to a science. The videos are stop motion with Brown as the puppeteer, manipulating the doll’s actions and Johnston taking rapid fire images with his camera. Each video is carefully planned and located to help promote local events and businesses in Kingston. Johnston and Brown’s main focus is to help promote the Kingston community, to instill a sense of Canadian patriotism and to raise awareness about the life and achievements of Canada’s first Prime Minister.
I actually found myself walking behind Johnston on the causeway as he held his Sir John action figure and filmed him as they made their way across the bridge. I had seen one video of Sir John wandering down Ontario Street and knew right away what I was witnessing. Mini Sir John has been all around Kingston, skating at City Hall, hanging out at K Rock with DJ Lisa Ray, and he even made a trip to PEI to see Kate and William. Most recently, Sir John visited a Kingston Symphony rehearsal at Fort Henry this past August. The Symphony was playing its annual 1812 concert with the Fort Henry Guard and Mini Sir John managed to persuade the Maestro to let him listen in and even conduct. This newest addition was released yesterday and, though I admit to being a bit biased, I think it’s my favourite so far. Check out Conductor John A. and then spend some time with the other videos on the Sir John A. 2015 YouTube channel.