A unique historical exhibition highlighting the achievements of Scottish settlers in Canada opens to the public tomorrow (Friday 16 March) at the Scottish Parliament.
The free exhibition in the main hall of the Scottish Parliament will spotlight the influence of the first Scots settlers in Québec, eastern Canada.
Entitled ‘Scots in Québec’ the exhibition will look at the lifestyles and pastimes of these Scottish pioneers who left their home towns in Scotland to create a new life for themselves and their families overseas.
Details of their achievements in the fields of engineering, commerce, shipping and academia are illustrated by a selection of photographs from the Notman Photographic Archives from the McCord Museum of Canadian History in Montreal.
The exhibition was developed by the Délégation générale du Québec à Londres in collaboration with the McCord Museum in Montreal and is being hosted by the Scottish Parliament.
Speaking about the forthcoming exhibition, Presiding Officer George Reid MSP said:
“Over the last eight years the Scottish Parliament has sought to engage on the international stage, to build friendships across an ever more globalised world with the aim of supporting and learning from each other’s parliamentary experiences. In that international dimension Québec has always had a special relationship with Scotland.
“This relationship has not only been built out of shared experience, but also out of the human stories of the Scots who centuries ago played a key role in the development of Québec and Canada.”
Québec’s Agent General in London, George MacLaren, said:
“Scotland has played a very important role in Québec’s history. The Scots made an immense contribution to the intellectual, medical, commercial and philanthropic development of Québec in the 19 th century. Scotland and Québec have always enjoyed a special relationship since the days of ‘la Nouvelle-France’ and this seems to me like the perfect time to celebrate it.”
This is the second public exhibition to be organised by the Scottish Parliament and follows on from their successful suffragette exhibition which ended on 9 March after 16 weeks. It is hoped that the exhibition will inform, educate and raise awareness about the story of the Scots in Québec.
The Parliament has also previously hosted the prestigious World Press Photo Exhibition, in August last year, and displayed the Declaration of Arbroath in 2005, both as part of its award-winning Festival of Politics.
The Scots in Québec exhibition will open at the Scottish Parliament on 16 March and run until 12 April 2007.
Key figures in the exhibition include:
The eldest son of an ironsmith, James McGill was born in Glasgow in 1744. He started first as a fur trader, then became a land speculator and went on to become one of the richest men in Montreal, leaving money to found the prestigious McGill University.
Alexander Walker Ogilvie
His grandfather Archibald moved to Montreal from Stirlingshire in 1800 and started a farming business. Grandson Alexander, together with other members of his family, turned a small flour milling business into a company of international standing.
Born in Paisley in 1826. Originally an amateur photographer William Notman was able to build a commercial empire from modest beginnings. The majority of photographs in the exhibition come from his collection.
Born in Saline, Fife in 1819. He apprenticed in the dry-goods trade in Glasgow and became one of Québec’s most successful retailers; he opened the first department store in Canada.
Sir Hugh Allan
Born in Salcoats, Ayrshire in 1810. He and his family were involved in the transatlantic shipping trade, and eventually founded the Montreal Ocean Steamship Company – also known as the Allan Line – which became a dominant force in shipping by the 1870s.
Born in Callander in 1834. He prospered as a merchant and businessman and was also a member of the Canadian Pacific Railway syndicate.
Lord Mount Stephen
Born in Dufftown, Banffshire in 1829. The son of a carpenter, George Stephen rose to success in banking and as an executive of the Canadian Pacific Railway. He was awarded a knighthood in 1905.
Parliament opening times are:
Business days (normally Tues-Thu)
All year: 9am to 7pm
Non-business days (normally Mon, Fri and weekdays when Parliament is in recess)
April - October: 10am to 6pm
November - March 10am to 4pm
Weekends and public holidays
All year: 10am to 4pm
Last admission 45mins before closing.
Last orders in the café 30mins before closing.