Sure he was Canada's first prime minister, a nation builder and the visionary force behind building a transcontinental railway.
But how about that mix-up over Sir John A. Macdonald's birth date? Now that is worth talking about.
At least, the apparent birthday blunder is what most caught the attention of many students that were out on a special educational field trip Friday — the day Canadians celebrate Macdonald's birth.
"Getting the wrong date was pretty big for most kids that love birthdays,'' said Edwen Arbuckle, a Grade 5 teacher at Montague Consolidated School.
"Birthdays are important.''
Ten-year-old Faith Haight agrees. She once had to celebrate her birthday on the wrong date. Well, that just sort of sucks.
So Faith, too, was intrigued to learn about the uncertainty over Macdonald's actual birthday.
Macdonald's personal papers provide insight into his life, but his exact birth date remains a mystery, notes The Canadian Encyclopedia.
His father's journal lists Jan. 11, 1815 as Macdonald's date of birth but a certified extract from the registration of his birth cites Jan. 10. His family celebrated his birthday on Jan. 11.
So too did 55 Grade 5 students from Montague Consolidated when they came to Charlottetown Friday ready to make a little noise over Macdonald's 198th birthday.
"It's better than just having a bunch of books and you have to study.'' - Faith Haight, Grade 5 student at Montague Consolidated
The students took part in an 1864-inspired birthday at the Confederation Centre of the Arts sponsored by PEI 2014 Inc. in collaboration with Montague Consolidated.
The party was part of an educational field trip, which included a visit to Province House, to engage students and educate them in a fun and interactive way about Macdonald and his role as a Father of Confederation.
These students now know that Macdonald is much more than simply a bronze statue permanently parked on a bench at the corner of Victoria Row and Queen Street.
"Some of the facts that I think they will remember,'' said Arbuckle, "is that Sir John A. Macdonald initiated the first national park, Banff, that he had a vision of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (initially the Northwest Mounted Police), and the railway, of course, across Canada.''
Faith, who feels learning about Canada's history is important, believes interactive outings like Friday's educational trip is a good way to learn about Macdonald and other pieces of her country's past.
"You're having fun and learning at the same time,'' she said.
"It's better than just having a bunch of books and you have to study.''