When I first noticed John A. MacDonald on a bench at the entrance to Victoria Row in the spring of 2009, I was startled to notice that he wasn’t real. That is to say, I was fooled by him repeatedly that year, walking up Queen Street thinking there was a real person sitting on the bench; when I got closer, I was surprised to note that it was “only” a statue. John A. was a huge hit with tourists that summer (and last summer too). Every hot, blue-sky day that I walked by there was someone sitting with him getting a picture snapped by a travelling companion. Sometimes a whole family squeezed onto the bench. On a summer evening, a glamorous woman might be sitting on his knee laughing as someone took a picture. Sometimes he had 3 pretty girls draped over him and at other times, a grinning man in sandals and brightly coloured shorts. He’s also popular outside the tourist season with everyday citizens. A couple of times last week I saw someone (a different person each time!) sitting on the bench talking to him, having a good ol’ chat. He’s not “only” a statue to many. Last night, walking up Queen St. with my boyfriend after a delicious dinner at The Delta, I couldn’t help but stop and take some pictures of John A. in the snow. His visage was quite transformed, grown old in a day, poor man. Doesn’t he look like he’s living through some ordeal? I must remember to sit down the next time I walk by and have a good chat.