About This Issue

An Drochaid - The Bridge 

Each edition of the newsletter will feature a new image of a bridge submitted by our group members or otherwise sourced

This edition features a collage of front-line workers with some images licensed under the UnSplash.com license

Many thanks to all who have provided pictures, please feel free to submit your favourite images of crossings to us.  

An Drochaid is published quarterly.  

Submissions are extraordinarily welcome, though articles may be edited for length or content. 

CASSOC assumes no responsibility for content including dates for events.                                

Please verify by contacting organizers, visiting websites and other sources.

Whenever possible, please provide Word, RTF or text formats

The next issue of An Drochaid will be the Winter issue.  

Please try to provide submissions by the first week in March.

Submissions should be emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Frae the Chair

As with most of you, this last week of the year has been busy and, as with I, leaving us all more weary than we'd ever expected to be during a festive season.

Although it started out as a huge challenge to find a suitable bridge image for this edition,  the solution came as one of those waking realization earlier on this week.   I awoke with an internal dialogue about what a bridge really is.  

There's technical definitions for a bridge such as for structures over water, part of one's nose, part of a ship or a passage in music.  But I rose from sleep with the concept of it being a means of connection and transition. Especially as relieving or avoiding hardship and strife.

That is how I see our frontline and essential workers in these hard and hardening times.  Thus they form our image of a bridge for this incessant plague.  They are connecting us through and easing our transition to the eventual new normalcies.

We're weary and worrisome about becoming more so.  Imagine how they must feel.  Let's recognize how important they are for keeping our society and communities working, for pulling us away from the pit of horror and chaos we hear about happening in olden days or even today in desolate third-world countries.  Without our frontline and essential workers nowadays, the horseman of anarchy would soon be upon and between us.

For those who wish to criticize them,  remember that one can always find a fault in something that is just good.  So focus just on the good even when, in your eyes, you can barely find a good in what you see as just bad.  Move past those medieval ways that some profiteering media channels are exploiting in our nature. 

Tonight for Hogmanay I'll raise, within my bubble, a toast to our frontline/essential workers and thank them, especially those by name that I met today.

Have a happy and safe journey into the New Year.

Yours Aye,    

William Robert Petrie :   Clan Gregor                                                                  

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(December 31st, 2021)


Frae the Editor

As background for this issue we're featuring the Teacher’s Guild Tartan  Version 2. This is the third of the three beautiful tartans designed during our Tartan Day event last spring.  The ‘version 2’ comes from it being an alternate to the original design which had the black and white switched.   

In looking for a best image of the  tartan I went to the UK Government’s Tartan Register page for comparing tartan designs.    There you can enter the specifications for a tartan. It will first generate the design and then provide a list of what is considered to be comparable designs in the database.  The values I used were based upon the design done using tartandesigner.com last spring.

These were:


Thread count: W/86 B/16 R/8 Y/8 K/8

This returned a woven version shown below which didn’t seem as nice as the image we saved from tartandesigner.com.    The white came out as more of a grey/silver. 

However the original design with Black as the predominant colour came out much nicer.   This was done with the same pallet but with a thread count specification of K/86 B/16 R/8 Y/8 W/8

You can try these and other designs yourself by visiting the page at https://www.tartanregister.gov.uk/searchDesigns.aspx

Speaking of tartan and other fine Scottish artistry,  please welcome our newest business member,  House of Cassady.  More about Robin Cassady-Cain and the House of Cassady can be found later in this issue.


Centre for Scottish Studies

Student Produced Video - Signed and Sealed: The Rise of the Charter in Late Medieval Scotland

The Centre for Scottish Studies is delighted to share a student-produced video and virtual tour of the University of Guelph's Archival & Special Collections exhibit, Signed & Sealed: The Rise of the Charter in Late Medieval Scotland. The exhibit showcases the University of Guelph's collection of medieval land charters, dating from the 14th-16th centuries, and was launched earlier in November this year.

As part of an "experiential learning" initiative, the students of HIST*3560 Experiential Learning in History have created an online digital exhibit of the collection. They have also designed, filmed, and produced a short video and virtual tour of the physical exhibit. We invite you to explore both film and exhibit to learn more about the University of Guelph's valuable collection of Scottish material.

We hope you enjoy exploring the exhibit!

Digital Exhibit :


Video and Tour:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iheX7ImkPqo&ab_channel=UofGLibrary    or watch below

Best regards,

Centre for Scottish Studies

University of Guelph

MCKN 1008

50 Stone Rd E

Guelph, ON N1G 2W1




Scottish Studies Foundation

Greetings from the Scottish Studies Foundation.

As 2021 draws to a close, all of us on the board on the Scottish Studies Foundation send our best wishes to you and your family and friends over the festive season.

Thank you for your continuing encouragement, inspiration and contributions, and may you have a safe, healthy and happy 2022.

With kindest regards,

David Hunter


Scottish Studies Foundation

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House of Cassady

Editor’s Note:   House of Cassady is our newest member of CASSOC.  Welcome!

Hi there!  I’m Robin Cassady-Cain of House of Cassady, and I’m so pleased to be joining CASSOC.  Born in Barrie, Ontario, I lived most of my life in Toronto, until about 1992 when I headed off to Waterloo to pursue a university degree.  About 8 years later, I emigrated to the UK for 18 years, where I lived in Edinburgh for the last 8 years or so, before returning to Toronto in 2018. When I moved back, I started to establish my artist practice in kiltmaking and goldsmithing.

My grandmother was a Hamilton, and although she immigrated to Canada with her parents when very young, she was always quietly proud of her Scottish heritage.  I visited Edinburgh several times before eventually moving there in 2011.  Before I moved back to Canada, I decided to combine my love of textiles and sewing with my heritage, and learned to make traditional Scottish kilts.  Attending the Edinburgh Kiltmakers Academy, I learned to construct and sew all varieties of Scottish kilts, and alterations. In addition, I acted as a tutor for a short time for the school, and I look forward to passing on my skills to others.

My kilts are all made-to-measure and handstitched, to a very high standard from the best quality Scottish tartan.  I also offer customised leather straps, through a collaboration with a local Toronto leather worker.

In addition, I am a goldsmith.  Although a lot of my art jewellery is more focused on science art, I have started to embark on designing contemporary Scottish kilt pins, plaid pins and badges, through the re-interpretation of clan symbology.  Whether you’re looking for an heirloom quality kilt, or a unique clan or Scottish accessory, or just have questions about kiltmaking, I hope you’ll reach out for a conversation! 

Robin Cassady-Cain

House of Cassady



By Dr. Bruce Durie

By Dr. Bruce Durie, Shennachie to the Chief of Durie

 If the Martians ever land, it will take them about 20 minutes to realise that tartan + bagpipes + whisky = Highland Scottish. No other national group or culture has such global brand recognition. But that’s just the Highlands, and ignores the larger and historically more important Lowland culture. However, if they arrive around the end of December, they’ll soon get the picture that the world looks to the whole of Scotland for the celebration of New Year.

So why does Scotland have this reputation of celebrating the Old Year’s end and the New Year’s beginning? One reason is that Scotland has celebrated New Year on the 1st of January since 1600, but for the next 152 years, the rest of Britain and the British Empire started the New Year on 25th of March.

Of course, the celebration of the winter solstice is common to many peoples. The Romans had their Saturnalia from 17th to 23rd December in the Julian calendar (possibly why the early Christian Church chose that time of year to set the birth of Jesus, although there is no biblical authority for it). The Norse celebrated Yule, which later contributed to the “Twelve Days of Christmas”, or the “Daft Days” as they were sometimes known in Scotland, and included a ceremony of troll-banning. The Gaelic celebration of Samhain (pronounced Sah-Wane) contributed customs too. In post-Reformation Scotland, we always found Christmas not really suitable for a festival – possibly either “too Papist” (Roman Catholic) or because there was a Calvinist dislike of frivolity on the day Our Lord’s birth was observed, and “too much fun”. Christmas wasn’t much observed in Scotland (except by Roman Catholics and Episcopalians) until fairly recently, and wasn’t even a public holiday until 1958.

As a child in the 1950s, I remember Christmas as being important to my English grandfather, but not to my Scottish grandfather’s family. For whatever reason, on the 17th December 1599, King James VI, via an act of the Privy Council, disjoined Scotland from the New Year date of 25th March, as kept in England, in order that Scotland should come into line with other “well governit commonwealths”. That was far enough from Christian Christmas for the Kirk not to be able to accuse anyone of having a good time only a holy day, so the celebrations of Hogmanay stuck. That didn’t stop the Presbyterians disapproving about Hogmanay itself for the next 400 years.

These “well governit commonwealths” that James VI was referring to included (with date of adoption of 1st January):

  • Holy Roman Empire (Germany) 1544 (except Prussia)
  • Spain, Portugal, Poland 1556 • Denmark, Sweden, Prussia 1559
  • France (Edict of Roussillon) 1564
  • Southern Netherlands 1576
  • Lorraine 1579
  • Dutch Republic 1583
  • Scotland 1600

So we were quite late, really. But Russia held out until 1725 and Great Britain, Ireland and the British Empire (including America) until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar in 1752.

I have often wondered if James VI was merely enshrining in Scots Law the dates on which his mother and grandmother were used to celebrating the New Year, 1st January, ever since the Edict of Roussillon of 1564. Also, the 25th of March was Lady Day (the feast of the Annunciation to Mary that she would have Jesus nine months later), which may also have felt a bit too “Romish” for Presbyterian tastes. This was nothing to do with the Gregorian calendar, by the way. Scotland also used the Julian calendar until 1752. But since 1600 until then, there was a disjuncture as to what year we were in between 1st January and 24th March. When you see a date presented like “1619/1620” that indicates it was within those three months, and while still 1619 south of the border until 25 March, it was  already1620 above it in Scotland. This was despite the Union of the Crowns in 1603 and even the Union of Parliaments in 1707. (Incidentally, we still have a hangover of this in the UK tax year which begins on April 6 – which is March 25 plus the 12 “lost days” from the Julian calendrical change-over.)

Many Hogmanay customs I remember as a child seem to have fallen by the wayside – first-footing with a beribboned herring and a piece of coal (for food and fire); ensuring that a tall, dark man is first across your threshold after the stroke of midnight; giving visitors and well-wishers a dram and a piece of black bun (a sort of rich cake in pastry); serving steak pie as New Year’s Day dinner; “saining” the house by sprinkling water and fumigating by burning juniper branches.

.Nowadays, people tend to congregate in large-scale organised events such as the massive all-night outdoor celebrations in Glasgow, Aberdeen, Stirling, Inverness and of course Edinburgh, still the venue of the world’s largest Hogmanay party (but not in Covid-haunted 2021). For some reason, a Viking longship gets burned during Edinburgh’s celebrations, even though Scotland’s capital city has no historical connection whatsoever with the Norse invaders. In Stonehaven, Aberdeenshire, the people come out in their thousands to watch 42 people swing fireballs as they process along the town’s High Street.  Last year, as usual, we and our neighbours congregated around a bonfire on the beach outside our houses and watched the fireworks set off at midnight from Edinburgh Castle, 4 miles away. I would show you a picture of that, but my camera hand was quite shaky for some reason..

As for the derivation of the word Hogmanay itself, scholars have been debating since the late-1600s whether it is originally Scots, Norse, Gaelic, French, or Scots via French – although it’s worth noting a Latin record of the word as hagnonayse as early as 1443, in Yorkshire, England. Te earliest record I can find in Scotland is in the Atholl Manuscripts (of the family of Atholl at Blair Castle) in 1696: “I passed on of his sh[illing]s to too poor women I brought up to my chamber yesternight to heare them sing a hog ma nae song”. Linguistic scholars have largely settled on the Northern French dialogue word hoginane, from 16th Century French aguillanneuf, a gift given at the New Year (l'an neuf), and borrowed around the 1560s and the time of Mary of Guise and her daughter Mary, Queen of Scots. So who knows? What is clear, is that the Scots introduced the idea of New Year as 31st December/1st January to the English-speaking world, and everyone else since has bought into our Scottish love of a good party!


A version of this article was first published by COSCA in Claymore January 2020 .

Copyright (C) 2021 Dr. Bruce Durie, Shennachie to the Chief of Durie

Dr. Bruce DURIE, BSc (Hons) PhD OMLJ FCollT FIGRS FHEA FRSB CBiol QG Genealogist,

Author, Broadcaster, Lecturer

e: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

w: www.brucedurie.co.uk


Fellow, University of Edinburgh

Academician, Académie Internationale de Généalogie

Right of Audience at the Court of the Lord Lyon

Freeman and Burgess, City of Glasgow


Editor's Note:   Subsequent to the newsletter publication, the author provided the following addition about Auld Lang Syne

You may wonder where the practice comes from of crossing and linking hands while singing Auld Lang Syne. It originates in the Masonic tradition of ending a Lodge meeting with a linked-hands and singing - called a "circle of unity" or "chain of union".

Burns wrote the words of Auld Lang Syne from fragments of earlier folk songs in 1788. The tune did not appear alongside the song until after his death in 1796. The first recorded example of this at a Burns Supper was at an Ayrshire lodge in 1879. But the practice also gained some traction in the USA - there are reports from the 1850s of the song's use at American college graduations. This popularity in America, long with its Scots origin, may be why in 1877 Alexander Graham Bell used it as a demonstration of the telephone, and it was one of the first songs recorded on Emil Berliner's new-fangled gramophone in 1890. About the same time, the singing of the song  at New Year emerged among Scots gathering outside St Paul's Cathedral in London, and others living abroad. By 1929, the New Year tradition was so well entrenched that lines from the song were displayed on the electronic ticker in Times Square, New York.

So, this may well be another "ancient Scottish tradition" actually brought to its full flowering in America and re-imported to Scotland, as were modern Games and Gatherings. The real mystery is why people wear kilts and tartans at Burns Suppers, while Robert Burns himself would not have been caught dead wearing either.

And, for the record, the verses end with "For Auld Lang Syne". Anyone heard singing "For the sake of Auld Lang Syne" will be taken out and shot!

 Photo of fireworks by Chris Flexen : Free to use under the Unsplash License

Discover the History of Highland Clans

Editor's Note: Our thanks to the Clan Sinclair Association of Canada for this submission

Discover the history of the Highland clans

Our Canadian Clan Sinclair genealogist, Wanda Sinclair, shared this info:

This website teaches you about the clans. I understand that the course is free, but you have to pay for the certificate.”

The Highland, Gaelic speaking clans are a vital part of Scotland’s history. They also shape how the world imagines Scotland today.

This course uses the expertise of University of Glasgow academics to explain the structure, economy and culture of the clans. It covers the centuries between the fall of the MacDonald Lords of the Isles in 1493 until around 1800, when the clans dissolved away as a result of social economic change. It then discusses how the legacies of clanship shaped global images of Scotland up until the present.


Castle Sinclair Girnigoe

Image Credit:  Annie Spratt  @anniespratt

Wick KW1 4QT, UK, Highland, United Kingdom Published on DJI, FC220  Free to use under the Unsplash License

Christine Sinclair

There's a Christine Sinclair documentary in the works  

by Rob Williams, Daily Hive 


The spotlight will shine on Christine Sinclair again, as the wheels are in motion for a documentary film featuring the legendary Canadian soccer player. Uninterrupted Canada, in partnership with Bell Media, will be producing SINC: The Christine Sinclair Story this fall, with the documentary set to air on TSN and Crave next year.

My goal with the women’s national team has always been to elevate Canada’s position on the world stage,” Sinclair said. “I’m excited that our story of determination, teamwork and heart can be told as we seek to inspire all generations of Canadian soccer players and fans.

I’m also hoping that my story can serve to inspire and empower girls and women pursuing their own dreams, whatever they might be.”

Sinclair has starred for the Canadian national women’s soccer team for more than two decades, winning three Olympic medals, including gold for the first time earlier this year at the Tokyo Olympics.

It was a moment the 38-year-old never thought she’d see during her career.

To be a part of this group now standing on the top of the podium, honestly I never thought I’d be part of that group,” Sinclair said after becoming an Olympic champion.

I thought that Canada was capable of it at some point, but it happened fast.”

The film will look at the life and times of the Burnaby, BC native, according to a media release, as she perseveres through “adversity and personal tragedy” to become a Canadian icon.

Off the field, Sinclair is well known for spending considerable time helping to raise awareness and millions of dollars to fight multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that her mother, Sandi, lives with.

Producing strong, character- driven content that focuses on confident, ambitious female athletes with a mission is central to who we are,” said Karen Volden, vice president of Production for Uninterrupted Canada. 

That’s why it was so important to tell Christine’s story in a dynamic way and champion her extraordinary journey as we continue to show how athletes can inspire future generations both on and off the pitch.

Editors Note: More photos and info are available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christine_Sinclair

Image of Christine Sinclair  By Johnmaxmena (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_talk:Johnmaxmena) - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sinclair_allstar.jpg, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9647717


ScotlandShop Press Release

 Newly Launched Scottish Store Brings Scotland to the US in 2022

At a time when international travel is still proving to be challenging, ScotlandShop is bringing a taste of Scottish culture, heritage and luxury directly to Americans through a series of pop-up events, and a newly launched multi-purpose permanent store.

Already an established and revered purveyor of high-end Scottish goods, ScotlandShop are offering US customers the opportunity to start 2022 in the most stylish way possible with the launch of their US pop-up series.  Private consultation and fittings will be available in Boston on the 11th and 12th of January 2022, in the Albany region of New York State on the 14th and 15th, and then in New York City on the 19th, 20th and 21st. The new ScotlandShop HQ and store is due to open in early February in Latham, NY.

The tartan consultation and measurement event on the 11th and 12th of January will be the first time that ScotlandShop has travelled to the city of Boston.   Appointments for the pop-up, which will be taking place at Carr Workplaces, Ten Post Office Square, Suite 800 South, can be secured via this link.  https://appointments.scotlandshop.com/meetings/tartan-events/boston-pop-up-january-2022

For those interested in attending the New York City event on the 19th, 20th or 21st of January, at Carr Workplaces, Midtown Office Space, 200 Park Ave, appointments can be secured with the above link.

With over 500 clan tartans available, as well as luxury fabrics and cashmere, ScotlandShop offers an exciting array of Scottish clothing, accessories, and interiors - all customizable to fit the wants of the most discerning customers.

The company has already made a splash in the US, working with both the White House Historical Association, and local governments, to create new tartans and products specifically in honor of official US organizations.

Whether online and or in person, ScotlandShop can help create matching styles from their collections of beautiful tartans, with options for the whole family (even beloved dogs).  From sophisticated tartan dresses to traditional kilts, the thoughtfully and sustainably made garments can be adapted and tailored to find the most comfortable and stylish fit.  All the tartan fabrics used are proudly woven in Scotland- a hub of excellence for textiles and weaving.

The company are launching a new Scottish cultural hub and retail center in early February 2022 in New York State. The store is guaranteed to become a local favorite for shoppers looking for everything from quality clothing to luxury textiles and authentic Scottish craftwork and home décor.  

With their expansive tartan database and friendly consultation services, the ScotlandShop store will encourage visitors to seek out their family history and become adorned in a piece of their own ancestral history.   

Appointments for fittings, consultations and tartan interiors are already filling up for 2022. Pre-bookings can be made through the website to ensure that any customers who want to be one of the first people to experience the store and enjoy a fully tailored Scottish experience can secure their space now.

Founder and Managing Director, Anna White commented:

"After a lot of hard work and planning we are incredibly excited to be officially launching ScotlandShop in the US. 

We see this as the beginning of a new era for our company, and for our relationship with our wonderful customers in the U.S.  Whether you have deep ties to Scotland, or you are just looking for a special, thoughtfully-made gift, we are confident that we are going to have something for you. 

If you can't make it along in person to our pop-up shops or new store in New York State, our U.S website is the perfect place to arrange an online consultation and get your tailored-made tartan gift today. 

We can't wait to bring a touch of Scottish hospitality and craft to your home soon."

If you are interested in learning more or have any questions, please do get back in touch.

Michael McCuish 

Director of PR

USA: +1 201 205 5548

UK : +44 78431 85495

WhatsApp: +1 201 205 5548

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Year of Stories 2022

The story unfolds

Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 tells tales of the nation with celebratory events revealed 

Book festivals, musical journeys, favourite cartoon characters and fresh takes on our culture and heritage, will form part of a dazzling programme of events to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022.

A nationwide programme of more than 60 events presented by a range of partners from national organisations to community groups has been unveiled today (14 December 2021) in recognition of the wealth of stories inspired by, written, or created in Scotland. Additional events will continue to be added throughout 2022.

The programme was launched along with a new promotional video featuring the voice of Game of Thrones star James Cosmo. The Clydebank-born actor, known for his role in the fantasy epic as well as numerous Scottish film and TV shows, lends his distinctive timbre to inspire visitors and locals to explore Scotland and celebrate the Year of Stories.


The story begins across January-March with:

  • Glasgow’s Celtic Connections presenting ‘Whisper the Song’, a series of five newly commissioned events celebrating Scotland's rich tradition of stories, interwoven with music, song and film.
  • Once Upon a Time in South Ayrshire, beginning with a celebration of Burns then featuring a varied programme of events, exhibitions and experiences that will run across the year.
  • Spectra – Scotland’s Festival of Light - returns to Aberdeen in February, celebrating the humour, seriousness and sheer gallus of Scotland’s storytellers, including ‘Writ Large’, which will beam the country’s finest contemporary storytellers’ prose and poetry in large scale projections and neon.


Turning the page into Spring 2022 (March-April) events:

  • Stanza, Scotland’s International Poetry Festival presents Stories like starting points, exploring the role of stories in poetry and introducing a brand-new Young Makars poetry initiative.
  • Stornoway’s An Lanntair presents Seanchas, a series of events, films and special commissions celebrating tales from the Hebrides both real and imagined, modern and ancient.

Summer (May-September) provides plenty to write home about:

  • Borders Book Festival returns to Melrose with a special programme celebrating and exploring tales with themes from Walter Scott, to the Great Tapestry of Scotland
  • The Wire Women project taking place as part of Perth and Kinross’ Year of Stories with community groups, creatives and cultural organisations sharing the stories of women, all connected through objects in the collections of the new City Hall Museum
  • Celebrating its 75th anniversary, Edinburgh International Film Festival will bring Scotland’s Stories On Screen to iconic and exciting places and spaces
  • The Dundee Summer (Bash) Street Festival will hail Dundee as the home of comics, celebrating its characters, stories, history and upcoming talent. The city will be declared as BEANOTOWN, with pop-up comic museum, workshops, talks, screenings, street fun and world record attempts
  • The world-renowned Edinburgh International Book Festival presents Scotland’s Stories Now – proving everyone has a story to tell with tales gathered from across the country and then shared at the flagship event.
  • In Skye, SEALL and Gaelic singer Anne Martin lead An Tinne, a collection of songs, stories and objects from across the centuries exploring the deep and fascinating connection between Scotland and Australia
  • Moray’s Findhorn Bay Festival will offer a journey of exploration and discovery, celebrating the area’s heritage, landscape and people
  • The Wigtown Book Festival in Scotland’s National Book Town will present two new commissions, Into the Nicht, an immersive Dark Skies tour, and Walter in Wonderland, a whirlwind theatrical tour through the history of the nation’s literature
  • The Northern Stories Festival led by Lyth Arts Centre in Caithness promises a spectacular celebration of the stories of the Far North.

Continuing the story into Autumn and Winter:

  • Transgressive North bringing us Map of Stories – in partnership with the International Storytelling Festival - ‘film ceilidh’ events celebrating the most iconic voices from Scotland’s oral storytelling traditions will invoke the places and landscapes from which they emerge
  • Stirling Castle plays host to Tales from the Castle, an after-hours event that opens the gates to extraordinary stories and takes you on a journey through language and time.
  • Scotland's Stories – Community Campfires, led by Scottish Book Trust will take place across the country, engaging with communities and showcasing people's tales from their own lives - featuring Luke Winter’s Story Wagon and culminating at Book Week Scotland in November.

There are also a number of events that will take place across the year, with some touring the country:

  • Edinburgh, Benmore, Logan and Dawyck Botanic Gardens will host Of Scotland’s Soils and Soul - a multi-sensory journey celebrating stories inspired by Scotland’s rich and diverse plant life.
  • The Scottish Storytelling Centre & Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust present Figures of Speech with prominent and emerging figures responding to our iconic stories and imagining them afresh, sparking new dialogues and directions.
  • The RSNO bring us Yoyo and the Little Auk, a new story celebrating our diverse cultures for Early Years Audiences with an animated film and live performances at events and festivals across Scotland.
  • Songs from the Last Page from Chamber Music Scotland will take place at book festivals, libraries, and community spaces and will create new songs from the last lines of our great and favourite fiction: turning endings into beginnings.

The events programme will bring Scotland’s places and spaces to life, sharing stories old and new covering everything from local tales to oral traditions, iconic books, to tales told on the big screen. They will be told by diverse voices and discovered in many different places, showcasing the many sides of Scotland’s distinct culture.

Across the country, from national to community organisations and businesses, people are preparing to tell their tales of Scotland, shining a spotlight on iconic stories and storytellers, tales of our people, places and legends and stories inspired by nature.

For 2022 the Themed Year will include a brand new events programme strand. The Community Stories Fund has been designed to support organisations and community groups to take part in and celebrate the year, spotlighting the unique stories that matter to them. The fund is being delivered in partnership between VisitScotland and Museums Galleries Scotland with support from National Lottery Heritage Fund, thanks to National Lottery players.

Around 100 events will be supported through the Community Stories Fund including:

  • Weaving with words: the magic of Highland Storytelling at Hugh Miller's Birthplace Museum will feature a series of guided storytelling walks around Cromarty from April to October, inspired by the life and works of the 19th century geologist, folklorist and social justice campaigner.
  • In March the distinctive story of Easterhouse will be shared in Mining seams and drawing wells: a living archive for Easterhouse, led by Glasgow East Arts Company with local residents.
  • A Yarn Worth Spinning led by The Great Tapestry of Scotland will tell the story of the history and culture of textiles in the Scottish Borders from April to June, including an exhibition and fashion show.
  • A cross generational project led by Catherine Wheels Theatre Company, The Phone Box – East Linton voices shared down the line, will take place in August with a rich soundscape of stories, memories and music.

In addition to the directly funded programme of events, VisitScotland will work with the widest range of partners to showcase and promote the full gamut of events and activities that celebrate Scotland’s many and diverse Stories across 2022. From the wider programme of Burns events in January, including National Trust for Scotland’s Burns Big Night In on 22 January, to the 75th Anniversary of our World Festival City to wonderful stories from our National Theatre of Scotland, including Enough of Him a remarkable story based on the life of one man who changed the course of history, and the ambitious programme coming to Scotland as part of UNBOXED, a UK wide celebration of creativity and innovation, 2022 is going to be a year in which stories are shared, and created on a huge scale.

Culture Minister Jenny Gilruth said: “2022 is the year we celebrate Scotland’s Year of Stories. Storytelling and celebrating our unique oral history tradition has never been more important as we continue to respond to the impacts of the pandemic.

“We must ensure our Scotland’s stories are preserved and celebrated. 2022 will have something for everyone from some of the biggest cultural events of the year taking place at the Edinburgh festivals, to small community festivals in our towns and villages.

“I’m looking forward to celebrating the very best in Scottish storytelling talent throughout 2022 - which will be absolutely vital to our continued culture recovery.”

 Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said: “Scotland’s Year of Stories, and this exciting new events programme, offers an incredible platform to showcase the many sides of Scotland’s distinct, vibrant and diverse culture.

"We are inviting the world to delve into the wonderful experiences our stories create. From icons of literature to local tales, the year encourages visitors and locals to experience a range of voices, take part in events and explore the places, people and cultures connected to all forms of our stories, past and present.

And it’s important to shout about Scotland’s new and untold stories. Year of Stories 2022 will shine a light on emerging, fresh and forward-looking talent and highlight the innovators that break boundaries across all forms of storytelling.

As our valuable tourism and events industry continues to rebuild following the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year heralds an exciting new chapter while also providing quality opportunities for artists, creatives and audiences.”

Actor James Cosmo

It is an honour to be involved with Scotland’s Year of Stories.

I know first-hand the impact our nation’s stories have on the world and to have a full year dedicated to sharing them from all corners of Scotland, is incredible.

I am really excited to see the year unfold, and all these events take place. It’s so important that we share how Scotland’s stories, in all their forms, make our country so special.”

Many more partner events celebrating the theme will be joining the programme over the forthcoming months.

Scotland’s Year of Stories 2022 will begin on 1 January 2022 and run until 31 December 2022. For more information www.visitscotland.com/year-of-stories

Join the conversation #YS2022 and #TalesOfScotland                                              Click here for a video

Image of James Cosmo by Patrick Subotkiewiez - https://www.flickr.com/photos/28781447@N04/13807966993/, CC BY 2.0,



Kennedy Society of NA

Since the last issue, things have been very active for the Kennedy Society. On the games front, it has been represented at Laurinburg NC, Stone Mountain GA, and Charleston SC.

Laurinburg is in Scotland County, which is obviously named for its earliest European settlers. The games featured almost 20 pipe bands, the most at any game since the pandemic started. Our scholarship recipient, Anderson Pritchard, won first in junior piobaireachd and came in second in junior marching, good enough to be named junior piper for the games. The weather was fabulous: an autumn day with Carolina Blue skies!

Stone Mountain shifted some things around and limited the number of pipe bands, but in the end it wasn’t noticeably different in terms of attendance or activity. As a matter of fact, all of the games at which the Society had tents were extremely well attended and buzzing. And, as with all of the  respective games, the weather was once again tremendous. Then it was on to Charleston…

Well, all good things have to come to an end. And Charleston had all of the ingredients to do just that: heavy rain, flooding, extremely high tides, and high winds - all the result of a strong coastal low. Combined with the reality that Charleston is barely above sea level, these factors forced the cancellation of the games on Saturday morning. To get a better idea, when I turned on the Weather Channel back at the hotel, their broadcasting crew was camped out only a few miles away. Deputy Chief Sean Carrick posted a short video on the KSNA Facebook page that gives a good picture of the situation. The weather was bad Friday evening and even worse the next morning. Bad luck for the games, especially as they were being held at a new location. And bad luck for everyone involved. The best laid plans go aft agley! On the other hand, Anderson Pritchard finished 1st and 2nd in two events before the games were shut down.

However, games weren’t the only things happening. First, authorization was given at the AGM to develop a new website. This work began in earnest at the beginning of October, and it is expected to be operational by mid January. The new site will give the Society several new options for member communication in addition to automating many aspects of member information management. Second, the Kennedy Society is now active in CASSOC not only as a member but also represented on its board of directors by me. Third, Lydia Kennedy, daughter of our late Canada Chieftain John Kennedy, will be convening a tent at Fergus next August. I also am planning to be there.

On behalf of the Kennedy Society, please have a safe and merry Christmas, coupled with an excellent Hogmanay! Avise la fin!!!

Dave Carrick

Society Chief

Kennedy Society of North America

 Sean and Tammy Carrick (front), Dave and Amy Carrick (back) at the Charleston patron-sponsor reception


 Dave Carrick and Anderson Pritchard - Stone Mountain

MacDowell Artist Colony

The MacDowell Artist Colony by Jennifer Kenway

The influence and impact of Scottish and Irish artists throughout history is an amazing story to tell. One key influencer in that story was American musician and composer Edward MacDowell.  In the September 2020 issue of The Tartan, we detailed MacDowell’s early days, and his rise to prominence in the world of music.

In his search for musical accomplishment and artistic expression, Edward came to find a kindred spirit in his wife, Marian. It was Marian who would become his most stalwart supporter and loyal confidant. She would often encourage Edward to balance his artistic nature with calm surroundings; nature became a balm to his soul, and allowed him some respite from the often stressful world of a professional musician. Some years into their marriage in 1896, Marian encouraged Edward to purchase an abandoned farm in upstate New Hampshire. Named Hillcrest, the farm became the center of the MacDowell’s home life, and eventually, their creative endeavors as well.

Edward and Marian MacDowell (c) MacDowall.org

Later in life, Edward had suffered several setbacks in his health, which in addition to personal struggles at Columbia University ­ set him back severely in terms of his mental attitude and physical stamina. Eventually, Edward sought solace in his personal cabin retreat at Hillcrest. He was most at peace in the idyllic setting of the woodlands, and the balm to his body and soul was sorely needed. He would live out the remainder of his life on the farm, with Marian and their family.

Marian and Edward had discussed how many artists often had similar struggles to Edward: many were also of a sensitive nature; many struggled to find appropriate spaces in which they could create their art or music freely, and without interruption. An idea was born: open up Hillcrest to other artists, musicians, writers and the like; build more cabins such as Edward’s; allow these creative minds to enjoy the peace and tranquility of the woodland, and create their art freely and in peace.

In 1907, Edward and Marian formally began accepting musicians and artists at Hillcrest, offering them a place in one of the Nation’s earliest artist’s residency programs. Edward was very fond of this concept and was thrilled to see the first artists begin to enjoy what he knew would be such a help to them in their work; sadly, he would die in early 1908, before seeing it come to fullest fruition. It would be Marian who would take up the torch and continue the dream they had planned together.

It became Marian’s mission to keep this dream alive. Marian, herself a talented pianist, began to travel the country giving piano recitals of her husband’s compositions to raise funds for what was initially called the “Peterborough Experiment”, named after the town local to Hillcrest. Recognizing this “experiment” as a valid and worthwhile effort, many organizations came to its aid, and Marian was soon heading up a very successful program. She would go on to head the organization until her own death in 1956.

For the majority of its existence, the “Peterborough Experiment” would come to be called the MacDowell Artists Colony, named in similar fashion to artist colonies throughout the world. In early 2020, the organization dropped the word “colony”, and became known simply as MacDowell. Across the decades, MacDowell lived on beyond the beautiful dream of its founders, becoming a shining light for those city dwelling artists who were beauty starved and begging for a respite for their world­worn souls.

Famous writers, musicians, and painters have made their mark on the world and left a bit of MacDowell within their creations. One such example is that of author Thornton Wilder, who came to MacDowell in 1937. Having studied theatre in Japan and other nations, he was in possession of a big idea and needed somewhere to flesh it out. While in residence at MacDowell, Wilder finished his famous play “Our Town”. The local town of Peterborough was a heavy influence on Wilder while he was writing from his MacDowell studio; the famous “Grover’s Corners” in his play is a clear reference to Grove Street in Peterborough. Following the play’s hit release, the town of Peterborough embraced Wilder, as he had embraced them while at MacDowell. Many businesses named after “Our Town” exist there to this day.

MacDowell, Peterborough, NH (c) MacDowall.org

Other artists could tell similar tales of how their time at MacDowell influenced their creations; composer Amy Beach was inspired to compose her “Ode to a Hermit Thrush” from listening to one of the little birds outside her MacDowell studio window. As typically urban artists were captured by the pines and fields and mountains and ponds, their art came to reflect that gentle, moving influence.

Throughout its over 100 year history, MacDowell has granted over 14,000 Residencies, allowing thousands and thousands of artists to hone their creative talents among the over 450 acres of natural beauty that the woodlands offer. A MacDowell residency gives them the freedom of expression, experimentation, creativity, growth, and community they so desire, in a setting respectful of the nature of their art.

Today, MacDowell Residencies are given solely based on the merit of talent; no formal training or professional documentation is required for an artist who seeks to be accepted into the Residency program. Their work, alone, is sufficient for MacDowell to deem them worthy, and in fact many artists have made a start for themselves in just this way through the MacDowell program. Applying artists who are accepted are granted a MacDowell Fellowship; about 300 Fellowships are awarded each year to incoming Artists in Residence.

Although Residency lengths have varied in the past, modern Residents reside at MacDowell anywhere from 2 to 8 weeks. Artists granted a Residency are charged no Residency fees; all their expenses on site are covered, from their own personal studio living quarters to three meals a day. Even their travel and other expenses required to get to MacDowell can be reimbursed through special programs for artists who are struggling financially. MacDowell makes concentrated effort on artistic creativity accessible to all artists; financial constraints are not a limitation.

L to R: Paul Nordoff, Thornton Wilder,
Marian MacDowell, Nikolai Lopatinikoff,
Margaret Widdemer. (c) MacDowell.org

It is interesting to note that although Edward MacDowell was a musician, composer, and painter, MacDowell today accepts emerging and established artists in a wide variety of disciplines. These include: architecture, film / video arts, interdisciplinary arts, literature, music composition, theatre, and visual arts. This scope of creative talent has harvested literally hundreds of awards for MacDowell artists in residence over the years. According to the current tally on their official website, accolades for MacDowell Artists since its inception have included:

33  National Book Awards

8 National Medal of the Arts

111 Rome Prizes

9 Academy Awards

93 Pulitzer Prizes

33 MacArthur Fellowships

17 Grammy Awards

31 Tony Awards

868 Guggenheim Fellowships

The elevation of the arts which began with Edward and Marian MacDowell continues to this day, mirroring that same place of respect given to artists within ancient Gaelic culture. It is a source of pride and accomplishment to any MacDowell to know that this great work for the arts is still gifting the world with beauty, creativity, and artistic expression, and will continue to do so in the future.

Learn more by watching some wonderful videos on the MacDowell foundation of today or visit their website at these links below:

The MacDowell Colony & Thornton Wilder:


History, Mission, and Future:


Book Review

In Search of Angels Travels to the Edge of the World, 298 pages, Birlinn Ltd. 2020.

Sometimes I read a well written book that is so different or so interesting that I want to share it. In Search of Angels Travels to the Edge of the World is such a book. Once you open it up, this compelling book is hard to set down. The author, Alistair Moffat, is a popular Scots writer who finds almost forgotten places and events and writes their story in easily understood language. He takes you with him on his journey to view and understand the past as it was lived before it was lost in time; you will be glad he does.

Imagine a time over 1500 years ago when the Romans had recently abandoned Britain and young Christianity was succeeding more in cities than in the countryside. Its adherents were still building its earthly structure while awaiting the end of the world. However, a movement was beginning to draw religious seekers away from towns and cities into the deserts of the middle east; this was the age of ascetics and saints.  Moffat takes us through their evolution from their ascetic beginnings as solitary desert hermits seeking isolated places where they might find angels and knowledge and salvation. Soon their reputations for sanctity and religious knowledge drew unwanted visitors to them, causing their sites to evolve into little monasteries. From such desolate places thoughts, ideas, and monastic rules spread from the hot sandy deserts of the middle east to be carried by men who travelled as far as the forests of France and wet wooded Ireland in their quests for seclusion. Those ideas from the eastern Church took deep root in Ireland. Monasteries of little wattle huts thrived there at the edge of the known world as the dark ages dimmed.

Having traced the path to Ireland, Moffat then follows these Irish saints as they sail away in their little curraghs to seek salvation in isolated places; sometimes alone or in small crews of up to a dozen others like the disciples.  Their curraghs, lightly built of willow frames sheathed with tanned cow hides, bobbed like corks in stormy seas. However, many of them found landing places isolated enough to become their new diseart “hermitage”; a Gaelic word derived from “desert”. Their landing places would someday become parts of the Hebrides, Faroe Islands, Shetlands, Orkneys, Scotland, Iceland, and in the case of the well-travelled Saint Brendan who visited most of these places probably North America as well. Some remained solitary where they came ashore but others travelled widely among the Gaelic and Pictish people to bring them the words of Christianity in their own language; and the people long remembered them for this. We are fortunate that Moffat understands their Gaelic and explains the full meaning of their original words to us.  Some of those words became meaningful Gaelic place names.

Some accomplishments of these men may seem fictional but they left real evidence and Moffat takes you along broken trails to places saints went. He seeks to find what they found on rocky islands and isolated peninsulas, or in fertile landscapes and special places which still emanate otherworldliness.  You may not yet know of Brendan, Moluag, Columba, or Maelrubha but In Search of Angels Travels to the Edge of the World will introduce you to them. These are the kind of men our ancestors knew long ago; these are men we will long remember after reading their stories.

Scott MacDougall
Canadian Vice President

Reading this book is a gift which you should give to yourself.

Scott MacDougald

Editor, “The Tartan”

Journal of the Clan MacDougall Society of North America


DNA Testing

Editor’s Note:   The original article has Clan Gregor specific information  which can be used as a general guide for other clans and families.  The ending instructions on how to get started have been substituted with generalizations  for most clans and families as well as those of other descent.

The first test most people elect to do is influenced by the Ancestry.com advertisements on television for $59-79.  This is the ethnicity test, also known as the Autosomal test, which measures all your ancestors for the last five generations against population groups around the world. Similar Autosomal testing is offered by Family Tree DNA and My Heritage DNA, both of whom expand upon what you can do with this data. What it gives you is the names and addresses of others you may be related to, so if you like corresponding, it’s good for finding numerous cousins with whom you can compare genealogies. A majority of our Clan Gregor inquiries are looking for their grandparents, great-grandparents, etc., to fill in the family tree, and this is one way to go about that task. On Family Tree DNA the Autosomal test is called Family Finder - $59 when on sale. 

This test does not provide the Y-DNA (male) data which is used to construct the Surname Projects on Family Tree DNA. *To see our MacGregor Project, go to www.ftdna.com/public/MacGregor

Once you’ve done your Y-DNA you can see your place in the MacGregor Surname Project and which sept you are closest to in the clan.  We recommend the Family Tree DNA Y-37 or Y-67 Y-DNA test ($269). Our various septs and aliases are color-coded.  This test provides your haplotype (the male population you belong to) which helps define your deeper MacGregor identity.

Females can also test their haplotype, but the results for mtDNA (Mitochondrial DNA) are considerably different from the male DNA due to slower mutation rates and different migration patterns for females throughout history.  The test for your mother’s mother’s mothers, etc. line is the mtDNA (Mitochondrial) at $169 with Family Tree.  While it is revealing in many ways, bear in mind that the Surname Projects, and surnames in general are based on the male line. If you are a female looking for your MacGregor connection, you will need to find a male relation who is in the direct male line for MacGregor.

The tests described above have been useful for many years, but more recently the use of SNP’s (single mutations which can be dated) has widely become the "gold standard". "Snips" are single genetic markers which occur in all our cells, some faster, some slower, throughout time.  The science of dating the SNPs allows access to whole new view of your identity - ancient origins and the paths of your ancestors’ migrations, including dates, going all the way back to genetic Adam and Eve. Family Tree has also created the Block Tree, a worldwide genetic chart which shows your mutations down to your nearest kin who have done the Big Y 700 test ($359). With this data you can also go to http://scaledinnovation.com/gg/snpTracker.html to view an interactive map which shows where your genes have been over the millennia - in color! Also note that both males and females can see their individual results by using the SNP Tracker site above.

OF NOTE:  As current members of CGS, Susie McGregor’s male MacGregor cousin appears a few lines away from my own on the Big Y Tree, demonstrating not only that our families are related but also when and where our MacGregor ancestors split from our common ancestor some 600 years ago. If you are interested in this level of knowledge, and want a true learning experience, I’d recommend Big Y 700 with Family Tree DNA.

Keith MacGregor, North American Representative

The Clan Gregor Society of Scotland


Generalized instructions on how to get started:

  1. Order and submit an appropriate DNA test with FamilyTree.
  2. Join the appropriate DNA Project group on FamilyTree.
  3. Send an email to the project administrators to let them know about you and include your kit number.

Image Credits

DNA Photo by ANIRUDH on Unsplash

Hands on Tree Photo by Shane Rounce on Unsplash

To Historians and Genealogists

Note to all Historians and Genealogists

The Ontario Government has contracted with LDS Family Search to put the 'township papers' of all townships of all counties in Ontario online from microfilm.  This started just last week.  If you find the Family Search site hard to navigate, as I do the Ontario ONLAND land registry to find about lots and buildings, just google the name of the township and 'papers' instead.

This is fantastic news.  Equal to Ancestry's contract with the federal government last year to gift the people of Canada with the records of every soldier in WWI and WWII online as a gift on the 75th anniversary of VE and VJ Days.

Submitted by Elizabeth McDonald

Editor’s Note:  The following links may be of interest for those researching their own or others genealogy in Ontario.

Tracing your family history :


Access Digitized Microfilm Collections on FamilySearch


Archive Descriptive Database


Cover Photo by Theo Aartsma on Unsplash

Effect of George IV Visit....

The Effect by George IV’s Visit to Scotland on Clan Relationships

Editor’s Note:  The following is a transcript of Keith MacGregor’s presentation to the Scottish North American Community Conference on Sunday December 12 for the discussion about the effect by George IV’s visit to Scotland on Clan relationships.    The accompanying images were provided as slides for the talk.

We don’t have an abundance of time, so I’ll get right to it…

It has always been astounding to me how rapidly the savage struggles of Scotland’s past become romanticized in word and song and yet how long they remain in the popular historic imagination.  The times Sir Walter Scott and Sir John MacGregor Murray lived in were certainly no exception – in fact they reflect an era of accelerated change not often seen, which carries on right down to our meeting here today.  Following the Jacobite defeat at Culloden, no less than William Pitt the Elder suggests a choice be offered to all Jacobite prisoners – keep your kilts and your pipes, don the red coat and fight for the British Empire – or hang. The net result, which clearly appealed to the Scottish martial character, sees Scotland fielding some 50 regiments by the time of Waterloo.

Sir John MacGregor Murray

We don’t know exactly when Sir John MacGregor Murray and Sir Walter actually met.

MacGregor Murray served for many years in India as Comptroller for the Bengal Army and upon his return managed to get his son Evan Murray MacGregor an appointment in the Royal Highland Volunteers in 1803.  At that time, both MacGregor Murray and Scott were members of the Highland Society of London, largely for those who had done military service - an organization which in 1782 managed to have the Disarming Act (dating from Culloden) repealed, and in 1784, declared as its object the Restoration of Forfeited Highland Estates.

One has to ask, what was the real nature of their enduring friendship, which would underpin the stunning results of 1822?  We know that both men were romantics who loved the stories of the past, and were passionate about redressing the wrongs done to their kinfolk in earlier times when the Scotts were pursued as reivers on the borders as were the MacGregors in the Highlands. What many readers don’t realize is that John MacGregor Murray, born 1744, was nearly thirty years older than Walter Scott, born 1771.   One has to wonder about Murray’s role  as a possible mentor, sharing his stories and experiences with Scott; about their mutual admiration of Rob Roy,  their love of the Highlands, and even if the publication of Rob Roy itself in 1817 was  cause for their deeper friendship. 

Nor was it a secret that both were united in their socio-political aims of raising Scotland and the clans up.   What may not be as well known is that both men were ardent Unionists of a certain kind who wanted Scotland in the vanguard of the union and not as a vassal of England. It is not hard to imagine their excitement when Scott conjured up the vision of a pageant which so clearly and powerfully served that goal – a gala visit to Scotland by the king– the first time a reigning monarch had visited since Charles the 2nd was crowned in Edinburgh in 1651, in defiance of Oliver Cromwell.

The story goes that Sir Walter is said to have wooed George the 4th by telling him he was indeed descended from ancient Scottish kings (a bit of a stretch at best!) and by getting him into a kilt…pink tights and all!  It should be noted the Sir John, along with General David Stewart of Garth, would have been instrumental in bringing in the military elements they knew well, who were vital to a royal exposition.

What is beyond doubt is the MacGregors were given pride of place as the Guard of Honour for the Kings Regalia – the Crown (dating from 1570) and the Scepter - escorting them in the parade from Holyrood up to Edinburgh Castle with a contingent of 70 MacGregors in splashing new red MacGregor kilts financed by Sir John, and likely the envy of other clans attending.

Sadly Sir John MacGregor Murray dies in June, 1822, just two months before the king’s visit.  We have diary entries for him a year earlier when he traveled to Glen Orchy, the MacGregor homeland to see Dalmally kirk where the carved stone monuments of his ancestors lay. But it will be his son, Sir Evan Murray MacGregor, who will lead the MacGregors as chief in the 1822 march 

Nor is Sir Evan any less an inspiration than his father.  Cited for his leadership during the harsh Peninsular Campaign during the early Napoleonic wars, Evan is chosen to command a Scottish contingent in the Anglo-Maratha Wars in India (1817-19). In attempting to take the surrender of the killedar (‘commander’) of Fort Talneir, Evan and a small party of men including his cousin Peter are treacherously ambushed inside the fort.  Peter is shot dead and Evan receives 14 wounds including slashes to his face and nearly having his right arm cut off.  When the Scots break through, the killedar is hung over the outer wall with no prisoners taken.

This event will end Evan’s military career, and it is much to his credit that, a mere five years later, he ably leads the MacGregor contingent up the Royal Mile to present the King’s Honours.  He is memorialized in his toast to King George, mentioned by Clark, during the Royal Banquet at Holyrood – “To the Chief of Chiefs – the King!”.

Keith MacGregor

In the aftermath of the “Celtic Revival”, “the King’s Jaunt” or as others called it, “the 21 Daft Days”, we note the establishment of the first Scottish clan societies which now exist around the world.  In 1823, supported by a petition of some 2600 names, the Clan Gregor Society of Scotland becomes the third clan to confirm that status. 

In closing, much of the successful transition in elevating the image of Highlanders in the early 19th century is owed to Scott’s pen and his knack for embracing Scottish history.  There can be no denying the impact of the popular historic novel upon the imagination of Europeans and then the world.  That creative vision (and I romanticize a bit here), seems to come at the perfect moment in time allowing Sir Walter Scott to influence the course of both literature and history, which is never easily done.

Keith MacGregor,

North American Representative

The Clan Gregor Society of Scotland


Clan Munro

Clan Munro Association of Canada - President’s Pen December 2021

Dear Cousins

I’m finding it hard to believe that Christmas is upon us and yet another year has passed.  As I’m sure many of you can appreciate, time compresses as you get older and I’m feeling as if months can fit into teacups!  The on-going trauma that is Coronavirus probably helps the feeling of life slipping through one’s fingers, too.

Covid-19 is a major factor in many of our lives.  It’s great that vaccinations and boosters are having a positive impact on death rates and severe illness, but the pandemic is still with us.  I’m getting tired of shoving Q-tips up my nose and tickling the spaces where my tonsils used to be!  But, it’s a small price to pay, to be able to spend Christmas with loved ones, either down the street or thousands of miles away.

Photo by Drew Patterson (courtesy of BBC)

Resilience is a word particularly apt when describing this year’s UK Tree of the Year.  This beautiful Hawthorn tree near Kippford, on Scotland’s southeast coast, has been described as "not spectacular in size" but having a "striking presence".  Much like the Scottish nation, in fact.

Resilience is something we could all benefit from having in abundance - that and a liberal dose of compassion, patience and understanding.  I don’t know about you, but the pressures of bringing together families for the holidays can result in great outbursts of fun and laughter.  But there’s always a chance tensions will flare and unbridled barking, or worse, may take place.  This is the time to take a deep breath and find a quiet spot to simmer down and let bygones be bygones.

From my time in Scotland, I remember a lovely tradition that still takes place right across the country, every New Year’s Eve.  It’s great good luck for the rest of the year if a dark-haired man arrives at your front door bearing gifts of coal, shortbread and/or whisky.  The tradition of First Footing, dates back many centuries, and may be connected to the Viking raids.  Woe betide you if your First Footer has fair hair and a manic attitude!

And with that cheery thought, may I hope your first visitor following the clock striking 12 on 31st December, brings you gifts of joy rather than burdens of woe.

With all good wishes for a healthy and happy 2022.

Yours aye,



Clan Logan

Article Index

  • Clan Logan Society of Canada's wellness event
  • Black Watch Veteran's Association live meeting
  • OTTScots 10th Anniversary
  • The Sons of Scotland Pipe Band Commemoration Event
  • RCMP Regimental Dine-in 2021
  • Robert the Bruce's last crusade
  • St.Andrew's Un-ball "2.1"
  • St.Andrew's Day event




Clan Logan Society of Canada's wellness event

On November 21st 2021, we decided to do a Zoom event for our members that had a theme of wellness. It has come to our attention that certain members are going through a rough patch on a personal level. We wanted to give all our members an opportunity to share and exchange. This was meant to me an easy going conversational Zoom event to get people to talk about how they relax, what they do to feel better and so on. At this event, we also discussed a little of everything.. the purpose was really to enjoy one on one time with our members and supporters. We had plans to repeat this event in French the following weekend but due to personal issues out of my control, that wasn’t possible.

We aren't doing as many events as we would do normally and the current pandemic has brought people down. I co-hosted this event with Patrick Dionne-Kuno our Representative for Ontario. Melissa Hull, Patrick's girlfriend, joined us. For the first time, I had the pleasure of meeting her and having a good chat. We weren't many people because many had other obligations and there was a difference in time zones that made certain members unavailable that would have been there usually. We were still able to propose an event of some sort and there will be a next time!

 Black Watch Veteran's Association live meeting

 On Thursday December 2nd, I was invited to attend the Black Watch Veteran's Association live meeting. This event was greatly anticipated. Since covid begun, the meetings have been done via Zoom, however, the current restrictions did allow us to gather at the newly renovated Red Hackle Club at the Black Watch Regiment on Bleury street. Once I arrived for the 8 PM meeting, I was greeted by many smiles.

Many members attended including Black Watch Sergeant Mike Romanaskus who just happened to be in town from Germany. Montreal Branch President Gord Ritchie gave a good meeting talking about various points such as future events and what is happening with Saint-Anne's veterans hospital.

We learned that they will have a Christmas celebration of some sort but due to rigid restrictions everything is greatly cut down right to having no bagpipers since wind instruments are not allowed at this time. Fundraising was also discussed with the board asking for ideas. Your Commissioner has many ideas for this but everything in it's time. I was able to pay my dues to the Association for the next year. To make the event extra special, I brought Logan shortbread cookies that were greatly appreciated while we held dicussions together before heading home.

This meeting really felt like a party. It was nice to meet up and see our friends and acquaintances. Names were taken for the next event, The men's Christmas dinner to be held on December 18th. I am hoping I can attend and represent Clan Logan, the Black Watch Veteran's Association and the Black Watch Family Division, all of which I am a member of. We need to keep our fingers crossed.

Many thanks to the Association for such a great live meeting.


 OTTScots 10th Anniversary

 On the 24th of October 2021, the Scottish Society of Ottawa (SSO or OTTSCOTS) had their first of many events celebrating their 10th year anniversary. The event was hosted at the Heart and Crown pub from 3-6 PM in downtown Ottawa.

Upon arrival, we were greeted by restaurant staff that requested that we show proof of vaccination before entering the establishment. Once done, we were brought to the back of the pub where the society had booked a private room for the event.

Once in we were greeted by treasurer Sherry Sharpe who validated our ticket, making sure that we were all following COVID-19 protocols and also making sure that we weren’t bringing extra unregistered guests that would breach the capacity limit set for the pub. To our surprise there was a catered lunch/dinner of sandwiches, cheese and crackers as well as drinks.

Throughout the event we got to reminisce with old friends and even meet some new ones, talking about the events during the last decade of the society’s existence. All over the room you could hear the playing of instruments including drums, guitar, violin and even music from good friend and fellow pipe band Sons Of Scotland, member Donald Macdonald on the bagpipes.

Overall it was a good indication of what’s to come. We can't wait to see what will unfold. Come and join us for fun!


 The Sons of Scotland Pipe Band Commemoration Event

On November 11 2021, the Sons of Scotland had an after party to commemorate and reminisce about all the remembrance day events we attended at Deacon Brodie’s Scottish Pub and Restaurant in downtown Ottawa. Once at the pub, we were brought to a grouping of tables that head of the band Pipe Major (PM) Bethany Bisaillon had reserved for us.

Throughout the afternoon and evening, we got to talk about all the events that happened during the day. The band had been asked to play at multiple events including the National War Memorial, Russell Legion in Russell Ontario, as well as the Perly-Rideau Veterans Retirement Centre. The bagpipes could be heard all over the room as members of the band walked around and played for members of the armed forces that came for pints that night. During the night, we also played at the army officers' mess around the corner where the first poppies in Canada were made exactly 100 years ago. It was an evening to remember.

 RCMP Regimental Dine-in 2021

 On November 27th 2021 the RCMP hosted a Regimental dinner (black tie) at the Orleans Legion on Taylor creek drive in Ottawa.

We decided to arrive early at 6 PM even if the dinner was at 7 PM because we wanted to take pictures before the sun set as well as a precaution in case any problems arise before being admitted to the event. We arrived just in time to take a picture in front of the legion before the sunset. Once inside we were surprised to see that not only the National Division (Ottawa) RCMP pipes and drums were there but also regular members of the force from both Ottawa and Montreal and also the Montreal RCMP pipes and drums.

During the night there was a professional photographer from the RCMP who was hired to take pictures through out the night as well as set up a booth for couples photos. Once done chatting with old friends as well as introducing my girlfriend Melissa to everyone, we sat down to eat. As the night progressed, we were served a 5 course meal which included a garden salad, beef consommé, chicken cordon bleu, cheesecake but especially the best part…HAGGIS!!! When the haggis was served we were excited because you can’t serve haggis without the ODE TO THE HAGGIS.

That evening, guests were stealing other peoples name tags to write messages/dares that that particular person had to do or say. One of the guests sang the Céline Dion song My Heart Will Go On from the movie Titanic. At the very end of the night the MC presented awards: one for longest serving member of the RCMP Pipe Band, one for most dedicated band members and so many more!

All and all, it was good to see everyone dressed up for the event. Hoping that 2022 will bring in more black tie events like this!

 Robert the Bruce's last crusade

November 20th, 2021 was a big day for the Clan Logan Society International. On this day, we had the pleasure to attend another Zoom event. This time it was about the last crusade of Robert the Bruce and the guest speaker was Charles (Ed) Logan.

Many people attended from all over the USA, Australia, new Zealand and even Guam. I had the pleasure to attend with Clan Logan representative of Ontario Patrick Dionne-Kuno. This event was an important one as it gave us more information about the King of Scotland and his relation to our Clan. I was impressed by the wealth of information given that is not that readily available online. On the internet, we learn about how the Logan Knights accompanied Sir James Douglas to bring the heart of the King to the Holy Land but what is mentioned isn't complete. It is thought that the Logan Knights were in fact the bodyguards of Sir James Douglas and that there were a good 7 knight escorts and 4 clan chiefs and squires that were part of the the group.

Sir Robert Logan is mentioned as one of the knights but we must not confuse him with Sir Robert Logan of Restalrig.  The Logan knight that accompanied Sir James Douglas was not the Baron of Grugar (he came later) but in fact linked to Dominus Walter Logan, Lord of Hartside. Furthermore, it came to light that Sir William Logan was the Chancellor of Robert The Bruce's household and that he was a meticulous record keeper.

This Zoom event made the relationships to the King much clearer and it was obvious that our guest speaker had to really dig into history to find things that were not clearly mentioned before and were omitted. We would like to thank Charles (Ed) Logan for giving us quite an interesting presentation.






 St.Andrew's Un-ball "2.1"

Each year, Clan Logan always looks forward to the glitz and glamour of the St.Andrew's Society's of Montreal Highland Ball. This year like the last, the event was virtual but started started off differently. As of 6:30 PM, guests could log on to go into conversation and meet up with friends and acquaintances in various break-out rooms. I had the pleasure and honour to meet up with Sylvie Thériault from CASSOC. We were also sent this year's Un-Ball program. You can clearly see the Clan Logan Society of Canada as a donor to the event.

The event started with a video interlude from Scottish Affairs Canada as we ate our haggis, neeps and tatties. Right after, there was a welcome address by ball Chair Scott A.Mackenzie. Pipers Cameron Stevens and Gabriel Harris performed Scotland the Brave on their bagpipes. It was so nice to hear and almost feel like we were at the Ball again.

We also had opening remarks from the new President of the St.Andrew's Society Mr. Guthrie Stewart. There were greetings from Lord Duncan of Springbank, Deputy Speaker of the House of Lords who was also the guest of honour this year. There was a whisky tasting with JF Pilon and more bagpipes. Cameron Stevens and Gabriel Harris came back to perform "A Man’s a Man For A’ That". Also add a Scottish cooking demonstration about how to make authentic Scotch eggs with Chef Michel Childe from the Burgundy Lion Pub. Then the Address to a Haggis, and a highland dancing lesson and demonstration with Jennifer Stephenson and her dancers. There was a closing remark and everything came to an end with the singing of "Auld Lang Syne".

This was a lovely event and we warmly thank the St.Andrew's Society Montreal for doing it again this year. We are hoping and crossing our fingers that next year, we will be there live!

 St.Andrew's Day event

In November, I received an email from the St.Andrew's Society of Montreal. It was about an event held on St.Andrew's Day, November 30th, 2021, at the Saint Andrew Residential Centre on Cavendish Boulevard in Montreal. I decided to attend this event called St.Andrew’s Culture, Religious Heritage and Pastoral Care Day. What a good way of celebrating St.Andrew's Day.

I contacted chaplain Kosta Theofanos to let him know I was interested. He was looking for Scottish pipers and dancers, people to bring shortbread, and artists. I happen to paint for good causes in the Scottish community like the Montreal St.Andrew's ball or the Black Watch family Division so why not do something different with my art? I happened to have just the right work of art for this event and decided to also bring my Logan shortbread with me.

Through various correspondences, Mr.Theofanos asked me if I knew any bagpipers and dancers that would be willing to come for the event. I asked around and spoke to highland dancer Maureen Matulina that I know well. She managed to get Piper Gabriel Harris and Scottish dancer Makayla Cunningham to attend. I was so proud of my Scottish community for doing this.

I arrived at the same time as Gabriel and Makayla. I then met bagpiper, Mr.David Inglis, who was there to participate in the event. I set up my art, took out the shortbread and was ready for action. I briefly met Mr.Theofanos before he began his presentation 'Walking with St-Andrew'. Right afterwards, the bagpiping and entertainment began and it was all good. The residents greatly appreciated the show they got.

I then came to the front and took the microphone to talk about Clan Logan, what I do, and the painting being presented. For this event, I chose a painting I had done in 2016 of Fast Castle based on a 19th century engraving. This was a work of art never before seen that I put away just 'in case' I needed it. I was to share about how art is part of my spiritual life. Mr.Theofanos grabbed the painting to show the residents as I spoke about it. The residents gave me compliments on the painting and were very pleased I came to visit them. They loved my cookies and were so happy.

Before I left, I thanked everyone for letting us participate and reiterated that I would be interested in doing more community events with the Saint Andrew Residential Centre. It was a fun time for everyone.

Images below :

  1. Chaplain Kosta Theofanos presents Steven Logan to the residents
  2. Dancer Makayla and piper Gabriel give a show
  3. Painting of Fast castle shown to residents






Burns Nights and Suppers

Burns Night & Burns Suppers

From Celtic Canada -January 23, 2021

The National Poet of Scotland

Some hae meat and canna eat,
And some wad eat that want it,
But we hae meat and we can eat,
And sae the Lord be thankit.

Have you been practicing your Selkirk Grace?  Burns Night is just around the corner and you certainly won’t be stuck for events and Burns Suppers around the world this Burns Night!

Celebrated annually on Robert Burns’ birthday, 25 January, Burns Night gathers Scots and Scots-at-heart around the world to pay tribute to the great poet’s life and works, and the holiday is marked by a jam-packed programme of festivities across the country.

Burns Night! and Why Should it Be?

With shows and events for all tastes and ages, the ceremonies range from small, informal gatherings to large-scale dining experiences full of pomp and all sorts of entertainment, from an Interactive Haggis Hunt to light shows and more. But what they all have in common is that they centre around key Scottish traditions: there will be haggis eating, whisky toasts, poetry readings and songs, before everyone joins in the ceilidh dancing. And most importantly – good company and loads of fun! Robert Burns from a Scotsman’s point of view:

This is the first time I have the tackled the Immortal Memory and in doing so, it begs me to ask the question – why do the Scots make such a fuss about Robert Burns?

Probably, you may think, he may be popular because he was a good poet. Perhaps. Maybe it is just another excuse for a right good bevvy? Fair enough, but we can do that anytime, but bear with me while I attempt to explain the adoration which surrounds this exalted man and his work.

Robert Burns was born on 25 January 1759 in the village of Alloway in Ayrshire.

A cultural icon in Scotland and among Scots who have relocated to other parts of the world, his birthday is celebrated almost as a second national day. For much of his life he was involved with the land and physical toil and knew well the difficulties of poverty and deprivation. Nevertheless, as a young man he had taken to writing poetry, much of it in his native Scots language. This was unusual at that time – as by the end of the 18th century, Scots was no longer regarded as the speech of the “educated”.

In 1786 Burns was preparing to emigrate to the West Indies when he published a collection of his poems in the town of Kilmarnock – “Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect”. The book (now known as the Kilmarnock Edition) was an instant success and instead of emigrating he went to Edinburgh where he was welcomed by a number of leading literary figures.

The money he earned firstly allowed him to travel. During his journeys he was to collect and edit many almost forgotten songs and, of course, obtain inspiration for further poetry. Despite the money which he earned from his poems, he still had to make a living in Dumfries. While trying to cultivate an unproductive farm AND carry out his duties as an Exciseman, he continued to write – mainly collections of songs which would otherwise have been lost forever.

Consider the time in which Burns existed, from a Scottish perspective. The son of a poor farmer, Burns was taught to earn a living by handling the plough. His father also saw to it that his son received an education that was worthy of any gentleman, including the study of Latin and French. For Burns, the future poet, it would open up an incredible new world.

The first books he read were a biography of Hannibal and the Life of Sir William Wallace which was lent to him by the local blacksmith. “The story of Wallace poured a Scottish prejudice in my veins which will boil there till the flood gates of life shut in eternal rest”, recalled Burns.

By the time he was sixteen, he had made his way through generous portions of Shakespeare, Alexander Pope, the works of noteable Scottish poet Allan Ramsay, Jeremy Taylor on Theology, Jethro Tull on Agriculture, Robert Boyle on Chemistry (of course we all know Boyle’s Law don’t we?), John Locke’s “Essay Concerning Human Understanding”, several volumes on Geography and History and Fenelons “Telemaque” in the original, that is, Burns read this work in the French in which it was first written in 1699.

Burns Supper place setting at Prestonfield House, Edinburgh

His story illustrated how early reading and writing had become embedded in Scottish society, especially in rural areas. Despite the small population and relative poverty, Scottish culture had a built in bias towards reading, writing and education in general.

All this was down to the Schools Act of 1696, which was passed by the Scottish Parliament, and which ensured that every parish in the country had a school and a regular teacher. The Scottish view was that education was the right of everyone, not just the wealthy. As a result, Scotland became the first modern literate society in Europe and as the barriers of religious censorship came down, the outcome was a literary explosion.

It was mid to late 18th century, and Burns lived and worked during the time of the great Scottish Enlightenment. This was a period when Scotland produced more men of letters, more men of learning and more men of science than did any other nation on earth. For those of you who may consider this claim to be flirtatious or unfounded, it is well documented in the annals of world history, that in just about every discipline known to man, a Scot was at the forefront. David Hume was an eminent philosopher and one of the finest brains that Europe has ever known. His close friend was the eminent Scottish thinker Adam Smith whose book “The Wealth of Nations” turned the world of economics on its head when it was published, and formed the basis of modern economic philosophy. While these two were the pillars of Scottish intellectual achievement of the time, they were by no means the only heights. For Scotland had leaders in science, mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, engineering, medicine, in jurisprudence and in exploration.

In architecture Scotland led the world with the Adam brothers from Kirkcaldy, who garnered commissions from St. Petersburg in Russia to Boston in the USA. Their influence spread throughout the world.

Yet notwithstanding all these great men of that time, it was the Star o’ Rabbie Burns that rose and shone above them all, and why should it be so? Why does that star shine more brightly than any other in the firmament of Scottish life and Scottish history? Perhaps, because of what Robert Burns did to preserve the literature, the language and the heritage of Scotland. Goodness only knows HE did more than any other. What is much more significant, he did it all at a time when a wave of anglicization was almost overwhelming his country.

You see, the interference of anglicization had begun as a trickle with the Union of the Crowns in 1603. It reached spring tide proportions with the Union of the Parliaments in 1707, but it became a tidal wave following the brutal crushing of the Jacobite Rebellion at Culloden in 1746 at the hands of the Hanoverian King George II.

Amongst such acts that the people of Scotland would find imposed upon them by a tyrannical institution, the bagpipe was declared an instrument of war and the tartan was banned, a proscription that would endure for 36 long and horrible years. Hundreds were executed; many more were transported to the colonies – a direct result of which by the way, is why we have places like Nova Scotia and almost 4.5 million Canadians of Scottish descent.

Robert Burns called them “evil days” and he wrote of them:

They banished him beyond the sea but ere the bud was on the tree  Adown my cheeks the pearls ran, embracing my John Highlandman, but och! They catched him at the last and bound him in a dungeon fast, My curse upon them every one, they’ve hanged my braw John Highlandman.
And all things English were being embraced.

Even the ladies of the night on the streets of the old town of Edinburgh, advertised their attractions, (however few), in the new English tongue, and schools teaching the newly arrived language were springing up all over the country.

That rising tide reached its high water mark in 1782 when to his eternal shame, the chief architect of the New Town of Edinburgh, created a perpetual memory to the very family who had presided over the greatest carnage ever known in Scotland, when he called the streets of his new town after them, and that is why we have George Street, Hanover Street, Frederick Street and the rest.

This wave of anglicization did almost irreparable harm not just to the language, but also to the culture and the heritage of Scotland. James Beattie, a Scots Poet of the day and a professor of Moral Theology in Aberdeen wrote, “Poetry is not poetry unless it is written in English.”

That, then, was the age in which Burns lived and wrote and that was the society in which his works appeared. Thankfully Robert Burns did not think the way of the likes of James Beattie and his ilk. When his works were published in 1787 as the Edinburgh Edition, he wrote the following letter to The Noblemen and Gentlemen of the Caledonian Hunt:

My Lords and Gentlemen,

A Scottish Bard, proud of the name, and whose highest ambition is to sing in his Country’s service, where shall he so properly look for patronage as to the illustrious names of his native Land. . . .those who bear the honours and inherit the virtures of their Ancestors? The Poetic Genius of my Country found me, as the prophetic bard Elijah did Elisha ….at the plough; and threw her inspiring mantle over me. She bade me sing the loves, the joys, the rural scenes and rural pleasures of my native soil, in my native tongue; I tuned my wild, artless notes, as she inspired.. . . She whispered me to come to this ancient Metropolis of Caledonia, and lay my Song under your honoured protection: I now obey her dictates. Though much indebted to your goodness, I do not approach you, my Lords and Gentlemen, in the usual style of dedication, to thank you for past favours; that path is so hackneyed by prostituted learning, that honest rusticity is ashamed of it. Nor do I present this Address with the venal soul of a servile Author looking for a continuation of those favours: I was bred to the Plough, and am independent. I come to claim the common Scottish name with you, my illustrious Countrymen; and to tell the world that I glory in the title. I come to congratulate my country, that the blood of her ancient heroes still runs uncontaminated; and that from your courage, knowledge, and public spirit, she may expect protection, wealth, and liberty. In the last place, I come to proffer my warmest wishes to the Great Fountain of Honour, the Monarch of the Universe, for your welfare and happiness. When you go forth to awaken the Echoes, in the ancient and favourite amusement of your forefathers, may Pleasure ever be of your party; and may Social Joy await your return. When harassed in courts or camps with the jostlings of bad men and bad measures, may the honest consciousness of injured worth attend your return to your native Seats; and may Domestic Happiness, with a smiling welcome, meet you at your gates! May corruption shrink at your kindling indignant glance, and may tyranny in the Ruler, and licentiousness in the People, equally find you an inexorable foe!

I have the honour to be,

With the sincerest gratitude, and highest respect,

My Lords and Gentlemen,

Your most devoted humble servant,

Robert Burns

Edinburgh, April 4, 1787

And so Burns wrote most of his poetry in Lowland Scots or Lallans as it was more popularly known, and in obedience to that aforementioned poetic genius.

At various times in his career, he wrote in English, and in these pieces, his political or civil commentary is often at its most blunt. He wrote against the cultural tide running at the time and he wrote in the teeth of prejudice against his native language, but, he wrote with a beauty, with a simplicity that no other, whether before or after him, has ever achieved.

The greatest tale in any language is Tam o’ Shanter, just as the greatest satire is Holy Wullie’s Prayer, which is a condemnation of religious hypocrisy and self righteousness.

O Lord, Thou kens what zeal I bear, when drinkers drink, an’ swearers swear,

An’ singing here, an’ dancin there,

Wi’ great and sma’;

For I am keepit by Thy fear

Free frae them a’.

But yet, O Lord! confess I must, At times I’m fash’d wi’ fleshly lust:

An’ sometimes, too, in worldly trust,

Vile self gets in;

But Thou remembers we are dust,

Defil’d wi’ sin.

O Lord! yestreen, Thou kens, wi’ Meg – Thy pardon I sincerely beg;

O may’t ne’er be a livin’ plague

To my dishonour,

An’ I’ll never lift a lawless leg

Again upon her.

But, Lord, remember me an’ mine Wi’ mercies temporal and divine,

That I for grace an’ gear may shine, Excell’d by nane,

And a’ the glory shall be Thine, Amen, Amen!

Burns also wrote some of the world’s greatest love songs, and while many others spend time on his notorious womanizing and his propensity to father illegitimate children, just as many ignore why his love for the fairer sex was sealed in immortality.

Till a’ the seas gang dry my dear and the rocks melt wi’ the sun

And I will luve thee still my dear while the sands o’ life shall run.

Thirty words ladies and gentlemen. Thirty, simple unforgettable words, and everyone a

monosyllable. No one else could write with such simplicity.

Green grow the rashes, O;

Green grow the rashes, O;

The sweetest hours that e’er I spend,

Are spent amang the lasses, O.

Ae fond kiss, and then we sever;

Ae fareweel, alas, for ever!

Deep in heart-wrung tears I’ll pledge thee,

Warring sighs and groans I’ll wage thee.

All of these things perhaps explain the immortality of the memory of Robert Burns to the Scots.

But for an occasion such as tonight (sic) – what of his universal appeal?

Why is he so relevant to peoples all over the world, in a way that no other writer is?

Robert Burns lived in a world of either opulence or oppression. By accident of birth all were born with privilege or in poverty. With privilege there was wealth and position. Without it, there was destitution and despair. And it was that world of privilege and position, poverty and injustice that Burns detested and constantly condemned.

The sentiments of change, drastic change in society, then being kindled in Europe, were sentiments which would drive the Americans on to Independence and the French to Revolution, they were still an abhorrence to huge swathes of the privileged in Scotland and elsewhere. Burns, however, was above all, a humanitarian, one who cared for the people like no one before him. His sympathies were with the poor and the oppressed, the common folk, his fellow man. He had a love for all men that no other writer, before him or after, of any age, or of any country, had ever shown.

And so the pen of Robert Burns became the voice of the people; and he expressed the thoughts and their hopes. He wrote

“God knows I am no saint. I have a whole host of follies and sins to answer for. But if I could, and I believe that I do it as far as I can, I would wipe all tears from all eyes. Whatever mitigates the woes or increases the happiness of others, THIS is my criterion of goodness; but whatever injures society at large or any individual in it, then this is my measure of iniquity.”

No figure in world literature had ever written with such compassion for his fellow man. Robert Burns left a message – a message for all men; for all nations and for all times. It is a message of friendship; a message of fellowship; but above all else a message of love. It is a message that is just as relevant and just as vibrant today as when it was written over two hundred years ago.

Then let us pray that come it may

(As come it will for a’ that,)

That Sense and Worth, o’er a’ the earth,

Shall bear the gree, an’ a’ that.

For a’ that, an’ a’ that,

It’s coming yet for a’ that,

That Man to Man, the world o’er,

Shall brithers be for a’ that.

These are dynamic words, with a message so powerful, that they were spoken by former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan on the 13th January 2004, when he addressed the United Nations in New York.

It was the ability of Burns to depict with loving accuracy, the life of his fellow rural Scots. His use of dialect brought a stimulating, much-needed freshness and raciness into English language poetry, but Burns’ greatness extends beyond the limits of dialect. His poems are written about Scots, but, they are in tune with the rising humanitarianism of his day, and they apply to a multitude of universal problems.

Robert Burns is celebrated throughout the world, not only in Scotland, and we should wonder at why his life is considered so important. As Scots, we have had other poets, other writers, and other heroes, yet we do not afford them the veneration that we give to Robert Burns, whose works are translated into more languages than any other poet. Only 12 years ago 100,000 copies of his works were translated into Chinese, and they sold out within the week.

Perhaps more importantly why should other nations and other peoples celebrate the birth of a Scottish poet and why are these celebrations so unique?

For example the Irish have Joyce, the English have Shakespeare and the Americans have Longfellow. Every one of them an internationally known and respected figure, but none of them is paid the homage that is paid to Burns, (even in their own country never mind abroad).

There is no international acclaim of any of these writers, great though they may be.

Yet Burns is universally acclaimed.

When Burns died in 1796, the first celebration of his birth took place five years later in January of 1801, and from that moment forward, the institution of the Burns Supper has existed, and a chain of universal friendship and fellowship encircles the world because of it.

Wherever friends meet and friends eat, the name of Robert Burns is revered. When the Burns Supper in Auckland, New Zealand is finishing, it is still under way in Perth in Australia. Meanwhile they are sitting down in Kuala Lumpur and in Singapore. An hour or two later they are seated in Delhi. This chain of friendship follows the setting sun westward, through Asia, Russia, the Middle East, Africa, across the Mediterranean to Europe, to Scotland, even to Ireland and then over the Atlantic to Canada, across the continent of North America to its western seaboard and beyond. And so on, around the world and around the clock. On 25th January each year and for many days before it and after it, there is not an hour in the day or the night, when a Burns Supper is not taking place somewhere on this planet. In fact, there are Burns Suppers in over 200 countries in the world, and there is no other institution of man of which that can be said.

There are more statues of Robert Burns than of any other figure in world literature. Indeed, if we discount figures of religion, then worldwide, only Christopher Columbus has more statues than Robert Burns. No other writer of any nationality has been afforded such universal acceptance. His face has twice been commemorated by the Royal Mail, and since 1971, has been pictured on the £5 banknote of the Clydesdale Bank in Scotland. On the reverse of the note there is a vignette of a field mouse and a wild rose which refers to Burns’ poem “Ode to a mouse”. It is interesting that prominent historical figures depicted on other banknotes include Adam Smith and Robert the Bruce, and this is the high esteem in which Burns is held by his countrymen.

Why? It cannot be just for his poetry. For every country can boast of its poets. Scotland has produced other poets of the highest quality. Nor can it be on account of his prose, because Scotland produced two of the world’s greatest ever prose writers in Sir Walter Scott and Robert Louis Stevenson. Neither is revered to the extent of Robert Burns.

I would suggest that while we recognize the significance of January 25th, few among us, if any, would know the dates of birth of the aforementioned hierarchy of Scottish literature.

Robert Burns died at the age of only 37. We can but marvel at what he achieved and wonder what he might have achieved had he lived his full entitlement of three score years and ten.

On the day of his death on the twenty-first of July 1796, the funeral procession was wending its way through the crowded streets of Dumfries. Just as it arrived at the gates of St Michael’s Kirkyard, an auld buddy was heard to enquire “An wha will be oor poet noo?” A question which remains unanswered two hundred and eleven years later.

When William Wordsworth, perhaps the greatest of England’s poets, learnt of the death of Robert Burns, he wrote:

I mourned with thousands, but as one

 More deeply grieved, for he was gone.

Whose light I hailed when first it shone and showed my youth

How verse may build a princely throne on humble truth.

Robert Burns and his memory will be immortal, not just to Scots peoples everywhere, but to people of every nation and every race and colour, whose lives have been touched by this unique genius.

Tell your children – aye – and your children’s children about him, and tell them just how lovely is he legacy which he left behind, for they will never have one that is more beautiful.

This, ladies & gentlemen, is my interpretation of the Immortal Memory.

If ever you are asked, as I have been, “why do we make a fuss about Robert Burns”, you will be able to answer.  Tell them that Burns did more to preserve the language, the culture, the heritage, the traditions, aye the very nationhood of Scotland than did any other. And he did it all when Scotland as a nation, faced the greatest threat to its very existence that it has ever known.
We Scots have a culture, a tradition and a heritage of which we should be immeasurably proud. For these are precious possessions that are equalled by few, and surpassed by none, and we owe more of that to Robert Burns than to any other individual.

I give you this toast, the proudest toast for any Scot to propose. It is also the proudest toast for any Scot to drink. For it recalls surely the greatest Scot of all time. It is a toast which we should drink with joy and with pride. Joy at his memory and pride in the heritage which he left us.

Ladies and gentlemen, fill your glasses – aye fill them to the very brim and raise them high, as I give you the greatest Scottish toast of them all,

“The Immortal Memory of Robert Burns”


Photo by Sebastian Coman Photography - Unsplash.com


Kingsville Highland Games


In celebration of the successful return of the Kingsville Highland Games in 2019, the Town of Kingsville commissioned the creation of the Kingsville Tartan. The objective was to design a District Tartan, one that people living in the community could identify with and would find pleasing and would wear with pride. District tartans have existed alongside clan and family tartans for centuries and readily bond community members with a common identity. Tartans further link the community to the land through symbolic and imaginative use of colour.

The Kingsville Tartan was designed to be of historical significance to the Town and is comprised of 6 different coloured threads: blue, white, yellow, purple, green, and black. Each was chosen to symbolize a specific facet of the Town of Kingsville.

Blue and white mirror the Town’s logo and are now readily associated with Kingsville and the beautiful Lake Erie shoreline.

Yellow reflects the glorious sunshine the Sun Parlour region is blessed with and is known for.

Purple and green underscore the importance of viticulture and agriculture to the region and recognize the significance of their contribution to the Town.

Black celebrates the silhouettes of the millions of migratory birds and butterflies that pass through the region annually.

The Town of Kingsville Tartan commemorates all that is significant to the community in an attractive and harmonious design. It is envisioned that the design will be featured in marketing materials for events hosted by the Town and in publications promoting the area. Once approved by Kingsville Council, the Tartan will be registered and then fabric can be commissioned through tartan maker Locharron of Scotland. Tartans come in two weights and will be used for the creation of kilts, ties, scarves, and sashes among other things, for sale to the public. Conceivably, any future pipe band affiliated with the Town of Kingsville might also adopt this tartan.


Butter Tarts Recipe

ECCLEFECHAN BUTTER TARTS named after the village, known as Feehan by the locals, in Dumfries and Galloway near the English border is a wonderfully rich treat for dessert or as a snack anytime. Most like it warm with cream or custard although they can be eaten cold with ice cream. They are sometimes nicknamed border tan.


For the Pastry:

¼ cup s plain white flour

1/3 cup soft unsalted butter cut into cubes

Pinch salt

¼ cup icing sugar

I egg yolk

Orange extract

For the Filling

1/2 cup Billingtons unrefined Dark Muscovado sugar

1/3 cup salted butter melted

1 egg beaten

1 Tbs white wine vinegar

¼ cup golden raisins

¼ cup chopped walnuts

¼ cup pine nuts (or other dried mixed fruits and nuts)


Preheat oven to 360°

Mix flour, icing sugar and salt in bowl

Add the butter and rub with fingers till mixture resembles breadcrumbs (You can also do this in a food processor)

Mix the egg yolk and orange extract into the mixture (you may want to add a teaspoon of water at this point)

Knead to make a smooth, pliable dough (using more water if needed)

Wrap in plastic wrap and allow to rest for 30 minutes in the fridge

Roll out dough and using a 3" round cutter stamp out 12 discs and line cupcake molds (or you can use an 8" fluted flan ring) with rolled dough.

Prick bottom of pastry with a fork

Bake for 10 minutes (in the larger ring use beans and parchment paper to keep dough from shrinking)

Remove beans and paper and bake for 5 more minutes


Mix the brown sugar and soft butter then add the remaining ingredients

Pour into the pastry shell and bake until the center is firm

Cool in tin 5 minutes before moving to wire rack

Serve hot or cold with whipped cream or ice cream or a dusting of icing sugar

This recipe is a combination of "Baking Maid" and "Traditional Scottish Recipes" and can be found at:

https://www.bakingmad.com/recipes/ecclefechan-tarts or


Membership Report

Membership Report

We have 41 Clans & Families, 6 Societies, 6 Games and 4 Business organizations 

Member Roll - As of date of publication


Clan BELL North America

Family of BRUCE International, Inc.

Clan CAMERON Canadian Branch

Clan CARRUTHERS Society International

Clan CHISHOLM Society - Canada Branch

Clan COLQUHOUN of Canada

Clan DAVIDSON Society of North America

ELLIOT Clan Society of Canada

Clan FORBES Society, Inc

House of GORDON Canada

Clan GRAHAM Society Inc

Clan GREGOR Society - Canada Chapter

Clan HUNTER Association of Canada

Clan IRWIN Association

KENNEDY Society of North America

Clan KINCAID Association International

Clan LACHLAN Association of Canada Inc.

Clan LESLIE Society International

Clan LOGAN Society of Canada

The Clan MACALPINE Society

Clan MACAULAY Association

Clan MACDOUGALL Society of North America

Clan MACEWEN Society

Clan MACFARLANE Worldwide

MACFIE Clan Society in Canada

International Association of Clan MACINNES

The Clan MACKAY Association of Canada

The Clan MACKENZIE Society of Canada

Clan MACLELLAN of America


Clan MACLEOD Societies of Canada

Clan MACNEIL in Canada Association


Clan MACRAE Society of Canada


Clan MUNRO Association of Canada

MURRAY Clan Society of North America

Clan PRINGLE North America

Clan RAMSAY International

Clan SINCLAIR Association of Canada

The STEWART Society, Canada Branch


Greater Moncton Scottish Association

New Brunswick Scottish Cultural Association – NBSCA Scottish Studies Foundation

Scottish Studies Foundation

St Andrew's Society of Toronto

Westman Scottish Association


CALEDONIA Celtic Festival

COBOURG Highland Games Society

FERGUS Scottish Festival & Highland Games

KINCARDINE Scottish Festival & Highland Games

KINGSVILLE Highland Games



Burnett's & Struth Scottish Regalia Ltd.

House of Cassady

Taylor's Tartans



Benefits and Offers

A reminder about ongoing benefits and offers.


Your reach can extend to over 10,000 enthusiasts in our member groups and beyond through our online availability.


Post your upcoming calendar for events in our quarterly newsletter as well as online. If you've an online presence we'll include the appropriate links.

Highland Games, Festivals and other events

CASSOC provides support a voice for all our members at events so that you are represented even if not present.

CASSOC Members Binder

Your group is represented in this membership binder with such as organization information, tartans, septs and contact details that is available for us and all members to display at events. This is a terrific draw for booth visitors and a starting point for engagement with those new to Scottish heritage.

National Representation

You are part of the national voice for clans and societies in promoting all of our interests with local, provincial and federal contacts as well with international entities such as the Scottish Clan and Ancestry Forum and Scottish North America Leadership.

Special Events and Offers

To provide awareness of Scottish culture and specifically clan groups, CASSOC organizes events such as the annual Kilt Skate. Support and awareness is also provided to other events provided by you as a member. We also provide the means for specific offers such as the discounts that follow.

Burnett's & Struth - We're pleased to announce the continuing member benefit of a 15% discount with Burnett’s and Struth Scottish Regalia Ltd. For further details on how to use this discount, restrictions and locations, please visit their CASSOC page at Burnett's & Struth.

ScotlandShop - Plaid fashion, gifts and accessories designed and tailored in the Heart of Scotland. Authentic Custom Made Scottish Tartan. Made Right In the Heart Of Scotland. Worldwide Delivery. Over 500 Tartans. Types: Tartan Fabrics, Tartan Suits, Tartan Dresses, Tableware, Gifts. Members of CASSOC receive a 10% discount when using the code ‘CASSOC’.

Pipers and Speakers

The following are affiliated with our membership and available for bookings. 

More details are available on the CASSOC website.




Contact Info

Tait Leslie Goss


Meg Leslie (Mom/Manager)

519-501-0680  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Ron Freeman


905-577-0608 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                  

Rory Sinclair


http://www.caledoncounty.com  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Steven Sirbovan

Orillia/Barrie/North Toronto

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                             

Jamie Douglas

Durham Region           

416-930-7552 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                    

Iain Dewar

Durham Region           

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.                                       

Mike Chisolm  

Greater Vancouver Area

604-628-8140 http://bagpipervancouver.com              

Callum Gauthier

Ottawa / Rideau River / Toronto

613-620-1014 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.        




Contact Info

Christine Woodstock

Scottish Genealogy

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rory Sinclair

Scottish History and Culture

http://www.caledoncounty.com  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




Founded in 1976, CASSOC’s purpose is:

  • To advance Scottish Cultural Heritage in Canada, such Scottish culture be defined to include, but not be restricted to, traditional Highland, Island and Lowland cultures, whether in Scotland, Canada or wherever Scottish Culture may be expressed;
  • To foster the organization of and co-operation and communication between Scottish federations, clans, societies or groups through the initiation and co-ordination of projects and undertakings;

Membership in CASSOC is open to any and all organizations which promote or encourage some aspect of Scottish tradition or culture, represent a link between the Scottish people and their descendants and relations in Canada, or seek to develop an understanding of the role Scotland and its culture has played in the development of Canada and its history.


  • Charles Edward Bruce, Lord Bruce, DL MA MSc FSA Scot
    Major The Hon. Sir Lachlan MacLean of Duart, Bt. CVO DL

Meetings 2021—2022:

  • The last General Assembly meeting will be held November 28, 2021 2pm to 5pm virtually. Scheduling of regular meetings from 2022 onward is pending progress with  the pandemic.
  • The 2022 Spring Delegate’s meeting will be held Sunday April 3 as a Tartan Week Party.

AN DROCHAID – The Bridge is the newsletter of CASSOC and will be published in March, June, September and December. 

  • Items for publication should be submitted to the Editor, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Guidelines for submissions are:

  • Submissions due by the first of the month of publication
  • Word/text readable format is preferred
  • A grant of right of use for publication and posting on the web is implied
  • Submitter must be able to legally provide the contents.  For instance, please ensure that you have image rights for persons in photographs.
  • Publication of material is at the sole final discretion of the newsletter editor
  • Format, length and content may be adjusted by the editor as deemed necessary
  • CASSOC, the editor and agents assume no responsibility nor liability for submitted content in terms of factual correctness or right of use.
  • All submissions will be published with the implied or explicit attribution of source.
  • Any member group of CASSOC may submit an advertisement to the newsletter at no cost.

Website (www.cassoc.ca)

  • The website contains, among other things, a list of Scottish and Celtic Events in Canada, Canadian Regional tartans, and a list of our member groups with a link to their websites and other digital media, as well as their membership contact information.  On the Events list, for each date, our member group events are highlighted with a link to their website.       

Games, Festivals and Other Events

As of publication, check the CASSOC website (www.cassoc.ca) for the latest listings.

In-person gatherings will be subject to ongoing restrictions for public gatherings.

As the date for these events approach, please contact event organizers for up-to-date information.


Description : Location

For More Information


Great Canadian Kilt Skate 

Various Cities



A Celebration of Robbie Burns                                

Coquitlam, BC



St Andrew's Society Toronto, Burns Dinner         

Toronto, ON



Gaelic Society of Toronto Online Céilidh - Oidhche nam Bàrd : Online



Royal Scottish Country Dance Society                  

Vancouver Burns Night : Online



Calgary Burns Club Burns Supper : Calgary, AB



Scottish Society of Ottawa - Gala Burns Supper & Ceilidh : Ottawa, ON



Cobourg Highland Games Burns Dinner & Ceilidh 

Cobourg, ON



Kelvern Celtic Society  Robbie Burns Day             

Okanagan, BC



St Andrew's Society Toronto Burns Statue Celebration :

Toronto, ON



Gaelic Society of Toronto Online Céilidh - Oidhche nam Bàrd : Online



St. Andrew's Society Montreal Whiskey  Fête 

Montreal, QC



Gaelic Society of Toronto Online Céilidh - Oidhche nam Bàrd :




St Andrew's Society Toronto Tartan Day Pub Night 

Toronto, ON



Gaelic Society of Toronto Online Céilidh - Oidhche nam Bàrd : Online



Gaelic Society of Toronto Online Céilidh - Oidhche nam Bàrd :



May 21-22

Saskatchewan Highland Gathering & Celtic Festival :

Regina, SK


May 21-22

Victoria Highland Games & Celtic Festival            

Victoria, BC