Letter from Mr. Lockhart

“I am more than nettled by the insensitivity of Councillor Jordan Graham’s ham-handed approach to the restoration of the base to Robbie Burns statue. For many years New Brunswick’s capital city has honoured this fine Scot with a prominent location in the cultural center of the city.  Consequently, Fredericton has shared the esteem and respect accorded other Canadian cities with similar statues, viz. Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Windsor, Toronto, Montréal and Halifax.

I have every confidence that Fredericton’s mayor and council will continue to honour their obligations in this regard.  In the interim, however, I respectfully direct Councillor Graham’s attention to the difference between “frugal” and “cheap!””

How the Scots Invented Canada

Open Letter from Ken McGoogan, author of How the Scots Invented Canada

I was shocked to learn that the City of Fredericton is refusing to fund the restoration of its statue of Robbie Burns. I vividly remember that memorial from my sojourn in that city as writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick. I can’t help seeing this decision as a slap in the face to all those Scots who have played such a foundational role in the development of New Brunswick.  Having recently written and published How the Scots Invented Canada, I can tell you that people of Scottish heritage constitute 20 per cent of the province’s population (by the 2006 census, 142,560), and that they have made a formidable contribution.

I think of the Irving industrial empire, which is worth $8 or $9 billion. Founder Kenneth Colvin Irving was born in 1899 in Bouctouche, N.B., into a fourth-generation Canadian family of Scottish descent. I think of McCain Foods, the world’s largest producer of French fries and other frozen foods, which is based in Florenceville, N.B. Built by descendants of Ulster Scots, that company today has more than 20,000 employees at fifty-five production facilities. I think of Sobey’s, the second-largest food chain in Canada, which is connected to Scotland through Pictou, Nova Scotia, but has a notable presence throughout New Brunswick, including Fredericton.

I think of Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, who played such a crucial role in winning the Second World War, and who is so closely connected with Fredericton. Yet another proud son of New Brunswick, David Adams Richards, probably went too far when he described Beaverbrook as “by far the most influential and important Canadian of the twentieth century.” But nobody would dispute, surely, that Beaverbrook – the son of a thundering Presbyterian minister — is a major figure in the history of New Brunswick? And what about the Reverend James Somerville, a Scottish graduate of the University of Aberdeen, who held the first college classes in Fredericton in 1822, and did so much to spur the development of the University of New Brunswick. The list goes on and on.

The Fredericton statue of Robbie Burns, in addition to being of notable artistic merit, symbolizes the contribution of the Scots to the province of New Brunswick. The City has made a grievous mistake in refusing to restore it – a mistake that, if it is not rectified, will give Fredericton a black eye not just across the country, but around the world.

Ken McGoogan


October 2010 Minister Moore Officially Declares April 6 as Tartan Day

October 2010

Minister Moore Officially Declares April 6 as Tartan Day

OTTAWA, October 21, 2010 – The Honorable James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, announced today that the Government of Canada will now officially recognize April 6 as Tartan Day.

“A tartan represents a clan, a family, and a community, and is an enduring symbol of Scotland that is cherished by Canadians of Scottish ancestry,” said Minister Moore. “Many Canadian provinces and other countries already celebrate Tartan Day. As well, through Tartan Day, Canadians will have an opportunity to learn more about the various cultures that comprise Canadian society.”

Tartan Day originated in the late 1980s in Nova Scotia, where it was declared an official day by the provincial government. It then spread across the country, with many provinces joining in. This marks the first time the Day has been recognized by the federal government.

“By officially recognizing this Day, we encourage Canadians all across the country to celebrate the contributions that over four million Canadians of Scottish heritage continue to make to the foundation of our country,” said Senator John Wallace, who recently introduced a bill in the Senate in support of nationally declaring Tartan Day.

In Canada, Tartan Day is celebrated on April 6, the anniversary of the Declaration of Arbroath, the Scottish declaration of independence. Tartan Day celebrations typically include parades of pipe bands, Highland dancing and sports, and other Scottish-themed events.

October 2009 Saint Andrews Park


Under plenty of sun and a gentle but cold breeze, Stephen MacMurray stood near a sign that dedicated St. Andrew’s Park to the memory of his father, philanthropist Wallace P. MacMurray. His mother Norma was to be at the ceremony, but she passed away earlier in the week.

Photo by KâtÈ Braydon/Telegraph-Journal
The new home of the historic Barbour’s General Store was rededicated by the Saint Andrews Society of Saint John on Thursday. The opening also included the official unveiling of sculptures by the late John Hooper, called People Waiting. MacMurray knew he had to be there. “It’s a hard time, but I think the links to Saint John have grown thinner with my dad and my mother both gone and to me, Saint John, this was a big part of them – celebrating art and celebrating heritage,” said MacMurray, who now lives in Halifax. On Thursday amidst a sea of dignitaries, St. Andrew’s Park was officially opened at the foot of King Street along with a new home for John Hooper’s People Waiting statue and the Barbour’s General Store. Michael Wennberg is the chairman of the Saint John Community Arts Board. He said Hooper’s figures were at the main Canada Post office on Rothesay Avenue for 30 years and another three at the New Brunswick Museum before they found a new, permanent home. “People can explore all sides of the work,” said Wennberg. On the back of the statue, people can now see pigeons at one man’s feet, a puppy and one of the figures concealing a cigarette in his cuffed hand. The famous Hampton artist died in 2006. Canada Post paid for the restoration of the statues, work that was lovingly done by his wife Kathy Hooper. The federal government, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, gave $2 million for the design, construction and landscaping of the park. The provincial government’s Regional Development Corporation gave $400,000 and the City of Saint John more than $1.3 million. “Without these contributions, People Waiting would still be waiting at the New Brunswick Museum,” Wennberg said. Wallace MacMurray, as a former president of the St. Andrew’s Society of Saint John, was instrumental in securing the park’s home. He was also chairman of the committee that raised the funds to construct St. Andrew’s House – a seniors’ complex on University Avenue. MacMurray is probably best known for saving and resurrecting Lily Lake Pavilion. Many of the society’s members braved the chilly day decked out in traditional kilts and Scottish garb. The Saint John society, formed in 1798, is the oldest in Canada. The society’s president, Jim McKenzie, praised the MacMurray family and thanked them for their contribution to Saint John and the society. He also summed up how many feel about the Hooper statue that now shares the park with MacMurray’s memory and the Barbour General Store. “They are the ordinary citizens of Saint John,” said McKenzie about the 11 people depicted in the statue. Story by Jeff Ducharme Telegraph-Journal