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The 15th Annual General Meeting of the Clan Ross Association of Canada (since incorporation by Letters Patent on May 10, 1991) was held in London's Ramada Inn from June 23 to 25, 2006. There were many comments that this was the best attended meeting in our history. On December 1 of this year, our association will celebrate the 46th anniversary of the founders' meeting which established CRA-Canada as the oldest existing Clan Ross Society in the world.
Andy made formal arrangements to have Steven Duff as the guest speaker, and obtained the addresses of Gillian Blair and Janet Montague Jones (great-great-granddaughters of Dr. Alexander Milton Ross) in England from Steven, who had previous links with them. After Gillian received a telephone call in June 2005, she asked Janet if she would like to join the trip to Canada, and this prompted Andy to officially extend an offer on behalf of Clan Ross - Canada to make the three sisters (descendants of the Doctor) our guests of honour. Andy reports that the three of them received an outline of the AGM weekend of June 23 to 25 of 2006 and they planned to use it as a starting point for a Canadian adventure. After our gathering, Gillian Blair and her husband Patrick would travel to Owen Sound, the birthplace of the sisters' mother. Janet would go east to Kingston and later to PEI to visit friends. Sadly, the third sister, Elizabeth, was in weak health and she passed away in April of 2006; Andy sent condolences to Gillian and Janet on behalf of the clan.
On the Friday of the AGM, the host, Andrew Thibodeau, provided a tour of London for our guests from England (Patrick and Gillian Blair and Janet Montague Jones) and members of our National Executive and wives (Barbara Fletcher, Jacquie Ross, Denis Fletcher and Ian Ross). The Ramada Inn, as hotel for the AGM, put out the Welcome Sign.
Andrew Ross Thibodeau, 2nd Vice-President of CRA-Canada, served as the London host of the 2006 gathering and delivered opening remarks about arrangements for the weekend. President Denis Fletcher formally greeted all members and guests to this year's AGM. Special guest speaker Steven Duff gave a brief introductory talk about the background and inspiration of his book Hunter of Dreams.
The birthday of guest Patrick Blair of England provided a good excuse for a cake with punch and a celebration during the refreshment break. After the break, Steven Duff continued with a discussion about the sources of the fact and the fiction in his story about Dr. Alexander Milton Ross's involvement in the "Underground Railway" and the American Civil War.
Andrew's Hunter Clan in-laws, called "The Gaels", have entertained in the London area for about three decades. They accompanied various selections of Celtic vocal music with guitars, violin, flute and keyboard. Their two sessions kept everyone tapping their feet to the rhythm. You may CLICK HERE for a brief video of the group taken by my wife Pat. From left to right in the final photo, the Gaels are Tom, Lizz, Lynn, Christine and Paul Hunter.
A tasty haggis was smuggled through the Winnipeg security by Eldon and Carol Ross, and it aroused mild curiosity from the drug-sniffing dogs when they landed in Ontario. The hotel kitchen cooked it properly . . . in time for it to be piped into the Ceilidh where Ian Mackay Ross, CRA-Canada Secretary, proposed a toast and gave a lively rendition of Robbie Burns' Address To A Haggis. You may CLICK HERE for a brief video of Ian's address; alas, my disc ran out of space. YUM!!! I can still taste it.
Host Andrew Ross Thibodeau made a special presentation on behalf of CRA-Canada to our honoured guests from England . . . Janet Montague Jones and her sister Gillian Blair (and her husband Patrick), the great-great-granddaughters of the Canadian hero Doctor Alexander Milton Ross. Following the Ceilidh, Steven Duff autographed copies of his book for the members of the clan. The final picture shows Andy with his parents Judith and Charles Thibodeau.