Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Sir John Alexander Macdonald to be commemorated

From Graham MacDonell:

Sir John Alexander Macdonald, Canada's first and third Prime Minister and the Canadian-Scottish Connection will be the focus of a day-long event at Kincraig and Dalnavert (one of Scotland's first privately owned estates to become a co-operative estate) on Wednesday, May 12.

Partially funded by the Cairngorms National Park Authority, the event is being co-ordinated by the Badenoch and Strathspey Local History Group to commemorate the life and achievements of Sir John A. Macdonald in building the Confederation of Canada and the linking of the Atlantic to the Pacific with the construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway, which opened up Manitoba and the west of Canada for European settlers in 1876.

Wednesday, May 12, also happens to be Manitoba Day.

Starting at 10:30 a.m., the event will feature Scottish Government Minister Fergus Ewing introducing the Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, James R. Wright, who will unveil a memorial plaque to the Shaws of Dalnavert, the family of Helen Shaw, mother of John A. Macdonald, at the Dalnavert Farm, the home of Dr. Iain Glen, a former research scientist and Highland Councillor and aficionado of John A. Macdonald. (This will take place at 11:00 a.m. until noon and will include the raising of a Canadian flag by school children.)

Retired University of Edinburgh Professor Ged Martin, a renowned expert in Canadian Studies, now living in Ireland, will address "Who was John A. Macdonald?" before the attendees depart for Dalnavert and the ceremony at the cairn.

Walter Dempster, of the Badenoch and Strathspey Local History Group, will speak about the history of Dalnavert before the High Commissioner unveils the plaque.

After a lunch at the Kincraig Village Hall, an afternoon session of panel discussions, co-ordinated by Professor James Hunter from the Centre for History at the UHI Millenium Institute's facility in Dornoch, will feature:

a) the keynote speech on Sir John A. Macdonald and his contribution to Canada by Professor Ged Martin;
b) A panel discussion on 'Scots and the Canadians' including a presentation on 'Cuthbert Grant and the Metis' by Dr. Elizabeth Ritchie of the Centre for History; and, a presentation by Director James Hunter on 'A Macdonald in the Camp of Sitting Bull'.

Following a coffee break, the second panel on language and culture in the Maritimes (of Canada) will feature:

a) James Grant on 'Gaelic in Nova Scotia'; and,
b) Karly Kehoe on ' Storytelling and Oral Culture'.

The event will be completed by 4:30 p.m.

Attending the event will be photographer and reporter for the newly-formed Clan Donald Society of the Highlands and Islands, Graham Evan MacDonell, a graduate of the Postgraduate Certificate in Genealogical Studies at the University of Strathclyde (2008) who is currently researching possible ties by the Glasgow-born Sir John to Donald of Harlow, Lord of the Isles (progenitor of the Sleat MacDonalds), and to Somerled.

Graham has a genealogy research company based in Inverness, 'The Great Glen Genealogical Research Centre', specialising in Highland clans of the Great Glen, and in Clan Donald, in particular.

Further information regarding the event can be obtained from Graham at: greatglen45@btinternet.com or by phone: 077 992 70210

(Thanks to Graham)


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