Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Scots and Canada

One of the recurring things that always struck me when I was actively researching and writing about the Isle of Bute was the number of times I read about people boarding ships bound for Canada. This was emphasised by the participation of numerous contributors at the time, who turned out to have chosen to move to Canada, or were descendants of family who had moved there in the mid to late 1800s.

The who know the island will also be aware that many departed from their place of birth, and were waved off by their families from the hill which gave the best view of the departing ships, and which came to be known as Canada Hill.

Because I was busy concentrating on other subjects, I didn’t really notice how often this was referred to (a bit of ‘wood and trees’ syndrome I think), however I have come to realise that the connection between Scotland and Canada was much stronger than I had previously thought – even though I know some of my own family departed for Ontario many years ago.

The thought was re-awoken this week, when I happened to chance upon a web site created by the Scottish Government, as part of its Learning and Teaching Scotland scheme.

This is their Scots and Canada web site, which opens with the following paragraph:

Scots and Canada

In the 2006 Canadian Census an incredible 4.7 million Canadians said that they were of Scottish origin. At the time, the entire population of Scotland was just under 5.2 million.

So, why are there so many people descended from Scots living in Canada today?

Why was there a mass emigration of Scots to the wild and unexplored shores of Canada in the 18th and 19th centuries, and why did the number of emigrants continue to rise until the middle of the 20th century?

The story of the Scots in Canada is a tale of adventure and heroism, of explorers, traders and settlers who carved a life in the inhospitable wilderness. It is a story of dangerous journeys and terrible loss, of triumph against the odds, and of hope as the Scots fought to hold on to their native culture and language.

The first is John Alexander Macdonald (1815-1891) Canadian statesman, born in Glasgow, Scotland, he emigrated to Canada with his family in 1820. The first Canadian Prime Minister (1867-1873), he served a second term in office (1878-1891).

Also included is:

Alexander Mackenzie (1822-1892) Canadian politician. Born in Logieraith, Perthshire, Scotland, he emigrated to Canada in 1842. First Liberal Prime Minister of Canada (1873-1878) and Leader of the Opposition (1878-1880).

And possibly the most well-known:

John Buchan, lst Baron Tweedsmuir (1875-1940), British author and statesman born in Perth, Scotland. Governor-general of Canada 1935. Novels include The Thirty-Nine Steps (1915) and Greenmantle (1916).


Jun 8, 2010 Posted by | Civilian | , , , | Leave a comment


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