THE SCOTTISH DIASPORA TAPESTRY
"A Global Adventure"
Members of the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry team, Gillian Hart and Yvonne Murphy, began their Canadian research tour in Guelph, where they met Dr. Graeme Morton the former Chair of the Scottish Studies Foundation at the university.
Their meeting provides us with an introduction to the project, which appeared on pages 6 and 7 of the Spring 2013 edition of our Scottish Studies Foundation newsletter . . . The Scots Canadian.
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David Hunter, President of the Scottish Studies Foundation, sent details of the programme at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church for Saturday, September 24, 2016, to persons who might be interested, including an attachment. The message was as follows:
When I arrived on Saturday morning, I saw the sign about the exhibit and entered by the front door instead of using the side entrance off the parking lot. Three brochures or pamphlets were available to assist the visitors . . . (1) the St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church pamphlet, (2) a sheet entitled "Scottish Diaspora Exhibition Information", and (3) a map of the exhibition site.
When you entered the display room, you were immediately struck by the special nature of the display created by Bruce McCowan, a member of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. One year earlier, he decided that he wanted something better than plain office dividers to mount the display, and a replica of Thomas Telford's Menai Suspension Bridge in Wales would fill the bill. Senior High School Student teams were invited to enter the Thomas Telford Engineering Challenge to build a four-foot model model of the central unsupported span of the Menai Suspension Bridge in Wales for a final design, which would actually be thirty-six feet long. Thomas Telford apprenticed as a stone mason in Dumfriesshire with the Thompson brothers who later settled in Scarborough. Using the four-foot long winning model, Bruce McCowan used about five different types of trees from his own property to build the full scale model.
Soon after I arrived, I met Jenny Bruce, Conductor of the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry tour. I asked if she would take my picture beside the unique display, and then took a similar photo of her in front of the "bridge". Jenny lives 15 miles from John o' Groats in Northern Scotland. She hadn't mentioned the signs stating that flash pictures were not permitted, so I continued around the room merrily snapping away. My first stop was a sales table where I bought a couple of wool samples for my wife. Then I took photos of some of my favourite panels around the room.
At 9:45 pm, David Hunter emailed the following message: "After you left, I was introduced to Patricia Liddell Russell, the eldest daughter of Eric Liddell, the 1924 Paris Olympics gold medal winner of Chariots of Fire fame. I had an item on him in the Fall 2012 issue of the newsletter (attached).
"Here are a couple of photos. Patricia is on the right, Jenny Bruce (tapestry tour guide) is on the left. You can see Eric Liddell in the (China Section) tapestry panels in the photos with Jenny and Patricia and a photo of him in the one that I'm in.
"A lot more people showed up after lunch including a contingent from Clan MacPherson (Ed Smith) as well as some SSF members."
My wife had been unable to accompany me on Saturday, so we decided to return to the display. Patricia was interested in the needlework, and she appreciated the opportunity to have a close look. For my part, I had printed some photos to hand over to Jenny Bruce but, unfortunately, she had not been present while we were there. I left the envelope of photos with one of the salespersons to deliver, and included the following sample of "Newfie Humour", which I thought Jenny Bruce might enjoy.
Please visit the official website of the exhibit,
and have a close look at the panels around the world.