Is Canada really Scottish?
This is Who We Are Exhibition November 3-30, 2009
Glasgow Pub? or Vancouver Pub? Why do so many Canadians wear kilts?
A Kilts Night event at Doolin's Irish Pub in Vancouver BC, with members of the Gung Haggis Fat Choy dragon boat team and friends, – photo T. Wong
A photography exhibition exploring the connections between Canada and
Scotland through people and places has opened at Holyrood.
The exhibition, entitled This Is Who We Are, was created by Graeme Murdoch and Harry McGrath of Cultural Connect Scotland.
Running from Tuesday 3 to
Monday 30 November in the Scottish Parliament's Main Hall, this
exhibition explores the connection between Scotland and its Diaspora in
Canada through a series of community photography projects. The
exhibition seeks to strengthen the links between towns and cities in
Scotland and Canada, and also features interviews that have been
carried out with participants exploring their Scottish heritage and
knowledge of contemporary Scotland. The project has been managed by
International Cultural Connections Scotland.
I have been invited to attend a reception at the Scottish Parliament to mark the
close of the Scots in Canada Exhibition. The Reception will be co-
hosted by Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP and the First Minster,
the Rt Hon Alex Salmond MSP. The reception will take place in the
Parliament's Main Hall.
Project coordinators Harry McGrath and Graeme Murdoch put a picture of me in a Kilt and Chinese Lion's Head mask into the early editions of the exhibit that traveled in Scotland. In September, they visited Vancouver and interviewed me for the video project.
Harry McGrath (Argyle sweater) and Graeme Murdoch (hat) traveled to Vancouver to video interview Scots in Canada. Tony Breen (Yellow shirt) was born in Glasgow and is now a realtor on the North Shore. Todd Wong (red shirt and vest) is the 5th Generation Chinese-Canadian who created the Gung Haggis Fat Choy Robbbie Burns Chinese New Year Dinner, and is actively promoting Robbie Burns and Scottish-Canadian culture in Vancouver BC.
Here's some of the official information from the website:
PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION DISCOVERING THE SPIRIT OF SCOTLAND IN CANADA OPENS AT HOLYROOD
03 November 2009
A photography exhibition which explores the connections between Canada
and Scotland through people and places will open to the public at
Holyrood from today until Monday 30 November.
Settlers' cabins in Lanark County, Ontario. Photograph: Donald MacIntyre
two men travelled across Canada from Nova Scotia to British Columbia,
visiting communities which derive their names from Scottish sources and
helping people they met tell the stories of their own communities and
their connection to Scotland through digital photography, video
interviews and text.
Speaking ahead of the opening, Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson MSP said:
“‘This Is Who We Are’ is an innovative project that uses the power of
photography to emphasise the strong connections between the peoples of
Scotland and Canada.
“The stories behind
the photographs teach us more about our links to Canada and help us to
celebrate our common heritage. Around 1,000 places in Canada have names
derived from Scottish sources and 4.7 million Canadians identified
themselves as Scots-Canadian in the last census.
exhibition is a wonderfully fitting way for the Scottish Parliament to
bring to a close its programme of activities and events marking
Scotland’s Year of Homecoming.”
for Cultural Connect Scotland, Creative Director Graeme Murdoch and
Chairman Harry McGrath said: “So many good ideas start with a list and
we took the theme of places in Scotland and Canada that share the same
“The project demonstrates the strong
influence of Scots who left Scotland and moved abroad, how they connect
with Scotland now, and how they envisage this connection developing in
the future. This makes a compelling statement of who we are, wherever
The exhibition strengthens the
links between towns and cities with Scottish origins. This is
additional to video interviews that have been carried out with
participants exploring their Scottish heritage and knowledge of
Canadian places, originally named after locations in Scotland, which are featured in the exhibition include:
- New Glasgow
- Calgary (named after Calgary Bay in Mull)
The exhibition at the Scottish Parliament is supported by the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government.
Graeme Murdoch is a former artistic director of several national newspapers. Harry McGrath is former coordinator of the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.
Friday 6th November 13:00 – 13:45 Main Hall.
Exhibition Tour with photographer Graeme Murdoch and writer/academic Harry McGrath of Cultural Connect Scotland. Hear the stories behind the photographs of communities across Canada and their connections with Scotland today.
The Scottish Diaspora Today
Thursday 26th November 17:30-18:30
Join Harry McGrath, director of Cultural Connect Scotland and former Co-ordinator of the Centre for Scottish Studies at Simon Fraser University, Cairns Craig, Glucksman Professor of Irish and Scottish Studies and Director of AHRC Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies at Aberdeen University, and Henry McLeish, former First Minister of Scotland and Kenny MacAskill, Cabinet Secretary for Justice, co-authors of “Global Scots” and “Wherever the Saltaire Flies” as they discuss ideas on engaging with the contemporary Scottish diaspora.
Saturday 28th November, 11-11:45 and 14:30-15:15
Exhibition Tour with photographer
Graeme Murdoch and writer/academic Harry McGrath of Cultural Connect
Scotland. Hear the stories behind the photographs of communities
across Canada and their connections with Scotland today.
This year marks
the 10th anniversary of the Scottish Parliament. Further information
and a range of public engagement activities can be viewed at the
For latest news
and information about all aspects of Parliamentary business, MSPs and
our work, visit the Parliament's website at
For information about how you can visit the Parliament, go to http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/vli/visitingHolyrood/index.htm.
Watch Parliamentary business live at http://www.holyrood.tv/