The proud Scottish – Québécois Connection
Scots have long and historic ties with the province of Québec.
When the Don de Dieu sailed up the St-Lawrence River during the first wave of colonization of French Canada, it was piloted by a Scot, Abraham Martin (after whom the Plains of Abraham, scene of Wolfe’s victory, are named). Scots were instrumental in the building of the Lachine Canal which turned Montreal into one of the most important and prosperous ports in North America. Scots constructed the first bridge across the St-Lawrence River and Henry Morgan built the first department store in Canada. McGill University was founded in 1821 with revenue from the estate bequeathed by James McGill who was of Scottish origin. The first head of this world famous university was also a Scot by the name of John Bethune. Another famous Scot, Peter Redpath, was responsible for financing the museum, the library and a University chair. David M. Stewart, a great Canadian philanthropist of Scottish descent, used the proceeds of his inheritance from the Macdonald tobacco fortune to create the Macdonald Stewart Foundation, which would go on to fund many hospitals and universities in Quebec. Scots established and funded numerous other Montreal institutions such as the Literary and Historical Society of Quebec. Scots were the driving force that built both of Canada’s national railroads. The Hudson’s Bay Company and Redpath Sugar are other prominent Canadian companies that had notable Scotsmen at their helms.
Kirk Johnstone – The father of the Games
The Montreal Highland Games Society is saddened by the passing of Kirk Johnstone, who was a member of the St. Andrew’s Society, its Council and its Activities Committee. Kirk was a pillar of the Scottish community in Montreal, and was President and Chairman of the Montreal Highland Games Society for many years. He was Pipe-Major of the 306 Wing Air Force Association Pipe Band, 401 Squadron Pipes & Drums, Pipe-Sergeant with The Black Watch (RHR) of Canada Pipes & Drums, piper with 401 Squadron Pipe Band, 438 THS Band, Clan Sutherland, City of St Laurent Pipe Band, City of Toronto Pipe Band and 78th Fraser Highlanders (Montreal). He is greatly missed.