FRIENDS and MEMORIES
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For the most part, Friends and Memories is a companion to Good Times and Good Memories, which appeared on the Electric Scotland conferences (especially "Thistle and Whistle" or "Banter"). Additional photos from those days have been posted on this webpage. [A very few sections may have no connection to ES friends.]
Our friends, Hugh and Mary, met us soon after our arrival in Sarnia on Friday, August 18th, 2000. Mary prepared a hearty meal for everyone. After a social hour or two, Hugh and Mary stood beside Doug for a picture at their home. Then they drove us to the 17th Annual Sarnia Supreme Highland Games at Centennial Park.
One of the main events was the Ceilidh Tent. Mary, Hugh, Pat and I are joined at the Ceilidh Tent in Centennial Park by cousin Suzanne and her husband Harry (hiding behind me).
Crowd-pleasing Bob Finlay and the Caledonians provided entertainment for the ceilidh. Canadian Astronaut (and Honourary Chieftain for the Sarnia Games), Chris Hadfield, joined in with his guitar. Mr. Hadfield, a native of Sarnia, was the first Canadian to fly as a mission specialist, the first Canadian to operate the Canadarm in orbit and the only Canadian to visit the Soviet Mir Space Station. Astronaut, Chris Hadfield, a native of Sarnia, spoke of flying over his home town a mere 90 minutes after lift-off from Florida and circling the globe on his first mission that hooked up to MIR. His availability for this event depended upon completing an assignment as chief capcom (capsule communicator) for a recent space shuttle mission at the control centre in Houston, Texas. Hadfield is preparing for his second space shuttle mission set for April 2001 on STS-100, when he will perform two spacewalks to install the Canadarm on the International Space Station.
The Tall Ships were in port during the Sarnia Highland Games. The barque, Picton Castle, from Lunenburgh, Nova Scotia, had an hour-long line-up. This great steel sailing ship is a classic square-rigger exemplifying those deep sea windships that were developed to manoeuver around Cape Horn. Patricia posed at the wheel of the ship.
Canadian Massed Pipes and Drums Tour - August 16 to September 7, 2001
Glasgow meeting with Ranald McIntyre of Falkirk - August, 2001
Pitlochry meeting with Dave Amos of Aberdeen - August, 2001
Blairgowrie Highland Games - September 6, 2001
Friends all the way from Canada! But not Electric Scotland members
In September of 1995, a Proclamation of Twinning was signed between Fergus and Blairgowrie-Rattray. Since then, there have been many visits exchanged between the two towns. After the opening ceremonies, it was our pleasure to meet fellow Canadians, Mayor George Pinkney (Mayor of Centre Wellington) and his wife Dorothy. We discussed our visit to the Fergus Highland Games back on August 10 & 11, and Chairman Philip Nappi of the Twinning Association took a photo of the group. Later, Pat managed to take a picture of the Games Chief (Laurence Blair-Oliphant) and Doug as they stood in front of the booth for the Games' Secretary.
As the games progressed, Mrs. Dorothy Pinkney tapped Doug on the shoulder and said that somebody else from Fergus wanted to say hello. Donna and Don McAlpine had been asked by cousin Lloyd Ross of Fergus to get in touch with us if our paths crossed. We noted that another cousin, Donald Ross, was the Mayor of North Wellington. Another group photo was taken. What an enjoyable chance reunion so far from home!
The final presentation is made between the twinned towns and Chief Laurence Blair-Oliphant of Ardblair retires from the field. We also learned that Fergus is now also twinned with Pleasanton, California.
Doug's internet friend, Laurie Drummond, visited us on Tuesday, May 21, with her son Bryan and his friend Andrew. Pictures were taken in front of Jenn Ross's home. Later, we went inside for a snack and a wee chat.
After breakfast at the AGM on June 14, many members took the double-decker bus tour of Victoria. We passed the BC Parliament Buildings, the Empress Hotel and other city buildings before driving along China Town, "Antique Row", and the lovely homes and gardens on Oak Bay. Our only stop was at Oak Bay Marina, where Pat took some photographs of the harbour seals. We swore that the bus driver deliberately sped up just as we arrived at Ross Bay, but Pat managed to take three fast pictures ... and her first one caught a glimpse of the Ross Chair, which Clan Ross Canada helped to restore as one of its major projects.
On Sunday morning, June 16, some of Doug's internet friends (Marilyn Mowat, Graham Donachie and Bob Fraser) met us for a brunch in Samuel's Restaurant at the Victoria Inn Hotel. Returning to the suite of Doug and Pat Ross, there was time for a wee dram of "The Water of Life", before the Annual General Meeting of the Clan Ross - Canada. Marilyn Mowat generously offered to drive Pat and Doug over to Ross Bay after the meeting, and both Graham and Bob drove over to continue our visit. Several pictures were taken on the site of the Ross Chair, above.
Janice Leslie, one of Doug's internet friends gave a holler, "Yea, Clan Ross! Hi Doug! We'll see you after the parade," as Clan Ross was entering the Avenue of the Clans in Centennial Park. After the parade, there was a brief reunion when she introduced her friend, Mark Shephard of the RCMP Regimental Pipes and Drums from Alberta. (Photo by Wendy Ross) Mark had hoped to join the massed bands on the inspection field, but just missed the opportunity. The Scottish Foods Pavillion had line-ups afterwards, and Janice and Mark were delayed a bit.
During Janice Leslie's absence, Lord Rothes (Ian Lionel Malcolm Leslie), the 21st Earl of Rothes and Chief of Clan Leslie made the rounds of the tents on the Avenue of the Clans. As honourary Festival Chief and head of the featured Clan Leslie, he was introduced to all. Doug, as the only representative present at the Clan Ross tent, shook his hand and requested a photo opportunity for the website. Pat took the picture.
Janice and Mark returned to the Ross Tent after lunch, and Pat took another opportunity for a photo of Doug and his internet friend. Doug has treasured every meeting with his internet friends whom he has met this summer. All have contributed greatly to his "Good Times and Good Memories". Pat suggested that we move next door to the Clan Leslie tent, where the sun was shining brightly. Several photos were taken, and the group continued their chat back at the Clan Ross tent until it was time to depart. (Group photo by Margaret Montgomery, past secretary-treasurer of CRA-Canada)
One of Doug's internet friends, Bill Sivier, drove down from Owen Sound with his wife Janet and their pet "Buddy". A good visit and chat at the Varney Inn was had until dusk. During this year, we have met so many members from our favourite Scottish chat club. The toast, "Here's tae us Wha's like us", truly fit each and every meeting. All of us felt as though we were with family ... including "Buddy" as the first pet of our travels!
The Clan Farquharson booth was in the same tent and directly across from Clan Ross. Pat was the first to spot Jan Lyons-Barnett in her dancing outfit. Jan had been competing while we were in the parade, and she was still quite busy putting costumes away. Nevertheless, we didn't lose an opportunity to get some photographs with another delightful internet friend from Electric Scotland. Multi-talented Jan is also the contact person for Clan Farquharson in Colorado.
As you can undoubtedly see, that quaff of the "Water of Life" from the quaich certainly hit the right spot. Deoch Slainte! Here's to your good health, Jan.
There wasn't sufficient time for me to say that a Doctor William Farquharson and my Grandfather Reverend John A Ross became close friends as neighbours in Toronto after their retirement; they could play at checkers together for hours. Pat and Jan would have enjoyed exploring their mutual interest in zoology.
Alastair McIntyre is the manager of the Electric Scotland website, and Pat and I sent him an email with a promise to take him to dinner at the CN Tower when he visited Toronto. In my opinion, Electric Scotland is arguably the best source of all things Scottish on the internet. While in Toronto, Alastair stayed at the home of Harold Nelson and Nola Crewe. He met Nola through her connection with the Foundation for Scottish Studies which supports the preservation of Scottish materials and courses at the University of Guelph. Harold was the godfather of my best man's son ... and we shared many acquaintances and friends from the early 1950's at Victoria University.
Our waiter at the CN Tower's 360 Restaurant took a couple of photographs for us before we began to eat. Both the meal and the service were excellent.
The CN Tower affords visitors the opportunity of seeing Toronto from many levels ... from the 360 Restaurant where we had eaten, the Glass Floor and the main Observation Deck on the next level down and the Sky Pod at the uppermost level.
Before we took Alastair to dinner on July 6, we sent him a photo of the CN Tower and Sky Dome as seen from the Empire Sandy during our excursion in 2000. Now, we were fortunate to capture a picture of the tall ship Empire Sandy from the heights of the CN Tower.
Welcoming the First Minister of Scotland, The Hon. Jack McConnell, MSP, at the Liberty Grand in Toronto on October 27, 2005
Advertisement of the Event
A two-page advertisement in the Globe and Mail on Thursday, October 27, 2005, covered the visit of the Honourable Jack McConnell MSP, First Minister of Scotland. Beneath this is my equally impressive invitation to the event.
First of all, my wife and I agree that this was a first class event. The reception in the inner foyer of the Liberty Grand building began and ended with the piper. The first photo is of the piper at the entrance to the building, which was originally the Ontario Building at the west end of the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. Many things have changed since yesteryear . . . including the highly visible windmill power generator which stands nearby.
Pat and I admired the sash with the McNabb tartan worn by one of the guests, who commented on the fact that few others had worn their tartans. I did spot a tie with a MacKenzie tartan. We had a chat with long-time acquaintance, Harold Nelson, and both of us recalled some mutual friends and a few university capers. Meanwhile, Alastair McIntyre was surreptitiously taking a couple of pictures of us, and these have been included . . . for which many thanks.
There is a general photo of Scottish Studies Foundation members, including director Janice Richardson, assembled in front of the "Artifacts Room", and we also noticed Dr. Graeme Morton (left side), who was appointed Chair of Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph.
There was a brief opportunity to discuss my personal interest in Scottish-Canadian culture with Alastair McIntyre, Manager of the Electric Scotland website (left side in the next picture) . . . just before the piper led us into the "Artifacts Room".
Guests were entertained by a Scottish String Orchestra. Seating was at a premium, and many were still standing later during the ballet, the fashion show and the luncheon which followed.
Wendy Mesley, the announcer from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), introduced the First Minister of Scotland, the Right Honourable Jack McConnell, who spoke about business and educational opportunities in Scotland.
There is a shot of the attentive audience around the CBC crew that provided coverage of the event. The First Minister of Scotland addressed a few remarks in the direction of Wendy Mesley of the CBC before concluding his speech and announcing that entertainment would follow.
No pictures were taken of the Scottish Ballet group. I was afraid that the camera flash might go off and cause an international incident of disastrous proportions. Too bad, since I was right at the front and had an excellent view as the quartet performed a recent piece choreographed by Ashley Page.
Following the ballet, Scotland's fashion industry was displayed by several models, who appeared to enjoy the event as much as the guests who lined the runway on each side. Nola Crewe, Vice-President of the Scottish Studies Foundation, was close to the stage where she enthusiastically clapped to the music and cheered the models on. [I took a better photo later just before my departure.]
I have included a couple of "blurred" photos here because they seemed to capture the atmosphere of this exciting occasion. With camera held high, I attempted to get a picture of the model on the runway. Next, as the string orchestra reappeared and luncheon servers opened at three locations at the side of the hall, I attempted to display another aspect of the festivities.
Just so you may note that more tables became available, I caught up with Alastair McIntyre once again when Pat and I were seated at the opposite side of the former "ballet stage". We left shortly after the luncheon, and (as I noted previously) took a better picture of Nola Crewe as we were departing.
The young ladies at the reception table were embarrassed to have their pictures taken as Pat and I left the Liberty Grand. The gift bag was equally unexpected. When we arrived home and opened it, we found an impressive treasure . . . two lapel pins (the Scottish Saltire and the crossed flags of our two countries), a 45 gram orange and cardamon flavoured dark chocolate from Kshocolate Ltd in Glasgow, a fine ballpoint pen labelled "Scotland" beside the Saltire, a 128MB USB Flash Disk complete with connectors, plus a colourful booklet Scotland, The best small country in the world. For more information, you may visit http://www.scotlandistheplace.com.
November 8 to 11, 2006: A Side Trip to Gosford, Central Pacific Region, New South Wales, Australia
A Picnic at Avoca Beach on the Way to see the Pelicans at The Entrance
Elda & Mal Quinton and Patricia & Doug Ross
The Australian Reptile Park at Somersby on November 10, 2006 and a Surprise Visit by Euan Brownhill
Followed by Lunch at the RSL (Retired Soldiers League similar to a Canadian Legion Club)
Ettalong Beach followed by a Ferry Ride to Palm Beach and a Return to Sydney
August 8, 2009: A Trip to Falkirk, Scotland, to see Ranald McIntyre.
CLICK HERE to enjoy the visit.