- Prince Charles in President’s Chair May 21 in St. Andrew’s Square to sign guest book
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 25, 2011 – Fredericton
NEW BRUNSWICK SCOTTISH-CULTURAL ASSOCIATION (NBSCA)
Tickets for Burns Statue Re-Unveiling Dinner On Sale Now
On 10 September 2011, the last chapter in the restoration story of the statue of Robbie Burns, which has stood on the Fredericton Green since 1906, will finally be closed, when the refurbished statue will be re-unveiled in a special ceremony featuring a keynote address by the Hon. Graydon Nicholas, Lieutenant-Governor of NB. Starting off the ceremony will be a parade of pipers and drummers along Queen Street from City Hall to the Beaverbrook Art Gallery. The parade will kick off at 2:30pm, and the official ceremony will begin at 3:00pm.
The organizing committee is chaired by Llewellyn Smith, President and CEO of the New Brunswick Scottish-Cultural Association, and contains representatives from the same four Scottish Societies which funded the casting and erection of the statue more than a century ago: the Fredericton Society of St. Andrew, the Highland Society of NB at Miramichi, the Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John, and the Caledonian Society of Restigouche.
This poignant ceremony, made possible by a dedicated push to have the statue returned to its former glory by New Brunswickers from across the province, and by the generosity of J.K. and Jean Irving (who will unveil the statue), will be followed by a formal dinner at 6:00pm celebrating the re-unveiling at the Fredericton Convention Centre.
The organizers are inviting the public to make plans to attend this very special dinner, which will feature a three-course meal, including haggis and all the trimmings. Participants will be treated to traditional Scottish entertainment, including Highland Dancing, a Gaelic Choir, “SONAS,” and performances by Pipe and Drum bands from across New Brunswick. A special keynote address will be offered by Rev. Ivan Gregan, a charming and humourous United Church clergyman with Miramichi roots. Other features will include the piping in of the haggis.
The weekend will be rounded off on Sunday morning at 11:00am with a special church service at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 512 Charlotte Street.
This series of events will constitute the premiere Scottish cultural event of 2011 in New Brunswick. Supporters of the Celtic culture will be attending from all parts of the province to take part in this exciting celebration.
Tickets are available at outlets in Miramichi (Scotts Pharmasave and Dickison’s Pharmasave); Saint John (Pete’s Pub – Shoppes of City Hall); and Fredericton (Lunar Rogue). If you don’t live close to one of these cities, tickets may also be purchased by contacting the NBSCA at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The New Brunswick Scottish Cultural Association (www.nbscots.com) was founded in 1980, and represents the provinces Scottish cultural communities and organizations, acting as both an information resource and promoter/defender of the Scots and their descendants who have contributed to New Brunswick’s economic, social, political, and cultural development. The Fredericton Society of St. Andrew, the Highland Society of NB at Miramichi, the Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John, and the Caledonian Society of Restigouche, all have rich histories of promoting the Scottish culture, as well as helping fellow New Brunswickers in need through, collectively, centuries worth of community projects and charitable works.
Barry R. MacKenzie
Media Contact: Barry R. MacKenzie
New Brunswick Scottish Cultural Association
David Nickerson, President, Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John
The Gentlemen of the Saint Andrew’s Society invite you to attend at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday, July 21st a very special event at FERNHILL CEMETERY by the City of Saint John and the Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John.
On June 16, 2010 Mayor Court received a letter from Mrs. Nan Hagan Gorman, wife of the long serving mayor of Hazard, Kentucky. Mrs. Gorman advised that her great, great grandfather, Lauchlan Donaldson, was twice Mayor of Saint John, 1829-1833 and 1843-1847. He was born in Elgin Scotland in 1786, came to Saint John at an early age, became a successful merchant and took an active part in community affairs .He died in 1873.
He introduced the water supply in Saint John while in office as Mayor. Mrs. Gorman and her husband visited Saint John and Sam Davis showed them around and gave them a tour of City Hall.
At Fern Hill they found the tombstone of Laughlan’s wife, Alexandrina Sophia Gilbert Donaldson. Lauchlan’s stone had been destroyed by a fallen tree during a storm in the 1950s. In a letter of last year she sought a local organization to assist in getting the stone replaced. She mentioned that her ancestor had been very active in the Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John, hence the letter was passed on to the Society, who happily agreed to look after this project for Mrs. Gorman. This has now been accomplished. Mrs. Gorman’s husband passed away last fall after serving as Mayor of Hazard for 32 years. She was elected mayor as a write in candidate. Mayor Nan Gorman will be arriving in Saint John with her daughter and ten year old grandson; her brother, his wife and their daughter on July 20th.
The City of Saint John and the Saint Andrew’s Society have organized a DEDICATION SERVICE jointly sponsored by the two organizations. We trust that there will be a good turnout to recognize Mayor Gorman and her family and the Mayor who initiated the City’s water system.
We expect a good turnout of members of the Saint Andrew’s Society.
This advance notice was prepared by Jim McKenzie, immediate past president of the Saint Andrew’s Society.
For more information please contact:
Jim McKenzie Past President Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John, 832-5334
Laurie Hossack VP Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John, 847-4420
David Nickerson Current President Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John, 847-9343
April 6th, Tartan Day has been celebrated for many years by the Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John and this year has been proclaimed by Heritage Minister James Moore as Tartan Day in Canada. April 6th 1320 was when the declaration of Arbroath was signed and became Scotland’s declaration of Independence from England.
At 11:00 AM on April 6th, 2011, in front of Saint John City Hall the Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John along with Councilor Chris Titus will raise the flag of Scotland to celebrate this date in history and to celebrate the Government of Canada’s recognition of this important date for Scots and their descendants in Canada.
Since being declared Tartan Day by the Province of New Brunswick on April 6th 1993 and now the Government of Canada, Mayor Ivan Court has proclaimed Tartan Day in the City of Saint John on April 6th.
Last year ScotDance NB presented the City of Saint John with its own Tartan as a legacy gift to the City for hosting the 2007 Canadian Championship Series. In turn, Mayor Ivan Court presented the Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John with a length of the new city Tartan on Saint Andrew’s Day on November 30th 2010 and it has been proudly displayed at Burns Night and other Saint Andrew’s Society functions since.
“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” says Senator John Wallace.
Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John President David Nickerson invites all Scots and their descendants to help celebrate Tartan Day by wearing some Tartan and joining the kilted gentleman of the Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John as we raise the Saltire in front of City Hall.
Below is the proclamation from Minister James Moore.
For more information please call 847-9343
January 10 2011,
Open Letter to Mayor Brad Woodside and Council
Let me be one of the first to congratulate you and council on your very positive announcement to finalize the work needed to re-install the W.G. Stevensen statue of Scotland’s favorite poet Robert Burns. The Scots of New Brunswick are indeed most fortunate to have had Jean and J.K. Irving step up to donate the needed funds to complete the work.
We all look forward to seeing Burns return this summer to the Green. As you said in the council chamber tonight it was a wonderful gesture on their part. We join you in your excitement at the prospect of celebrating the completion of this work this summer in fine style. The fact that J.K. Irving said to “ get it done and send him the bill” is further proof that we have a province full of proud and generous Scots who are proud of their heritage.
From “John Barleycorn: A Ballad”:
“Then let us toast John Barleycorn,
Each man a glass in hand;
An may his great posterity
Ne’er fail in old Scotland
Thank you for reconsidering the completion of the restoration of Burns and on your plans to return him to public display as soon as it is advisable to do this summer. I’m sure Scots around Fredericton, New Brunswick and the world will be proud to see him standing again in our provincial capital as Fredericton’s first public art erected in 1906.
We look forward to celebrating with you this summer after the completion of this very important project. And parading from City Hall to the statue site for another unveiling ceremony.
From “Auld Lang Syne”:
And here’s a hand my trusty fiere,
And Gie’s a hand o’ thine;
And we’ll tak’ a right gude-willy waught,
For auld lang syne.
Thank You, your council and the Jean and J.K. Irving again for giving the Scots back their national poet.
“Lang may yer lum reek
Wi’ ither folks coal”
From: Woodside, Brad [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: Sunday, January 09, 2011 4:35 PM
Subject: Re: Burns Monument
The Burns statue will be up this year in the City. I will keep you posted. Thanks for your interest.
THE SAINT ANDREW’S SOCIETY OF SAINT JOHN
January 9th, 2011
Mayor Brad Woodside and Councilors
City of Fredericton NB
On behalf of the St Andrew’s Society of Saint John I am writing to ask you to reconsider as a matter of priority the completion of the restoration of the statue of Robert Burns and its return to public display.
This valued work was a prominent landmark in our Capital City from the date of its original placement in 1906 until sometime after its rededication in 2006. We have been told that it was taken down for cleaning in 2008, at which time it was learned that considerable repair was needed because of flooding over the years. We understand that significant funds have already been spent on the restoration. The decision not to approve the additional outlay required for its completion has resulted in the statue of the immortal Bard’s standing in a parking lot!
Our information is that when the City of Fredericton accepted the statue as a gift in the 1980s, it accepted as well the obligation for its care and maintenance. We feel that the treatment thus far falls disappointingly short of honouring this commitment.
Scottish Societies such as ours can do little more than support activities such as the annual Highland Games at Government House. We fully realize that municipal funds are not limitless, and that there are always competing projects. However, it would seem a colossal waste of the funds already spent, were the statue to remain as it is and not to have the project completed in accordance with the City‘s obligation.
We respectfully request your favourable and timely reconsideration of the Burns statue restoration.
David Nickerson, President
The controversy centres on his statue, some say rare, some say not, and who will pay for its remounting in downtown Fredericton. He’s already been refurbished, but he’s not yet on display because of the cost.
The statue was a gift to the city in 1906, commissioned by the Fredericton Society of St. Andrew, the St. Andrew’s Society of Saint John, the Highland Society of New Brunswick in Miramichi and the Restigouche Caledonian Society.
These same groups, as well as the New Brunswick Scottish Cultural Association, plan to meet this weekend to discuss the future of the statue. They aren’t impressed with the city’s refusal to fully fund the $81,057 cost to properly remount the statue in a flood zone.
The city, after several spirited discussions, has budgeted $40,000 for the job, hoping interested people and groups will come forward with the balance.
At least one councillor suggested that those of Scottish heritage could step up to fundraise, which quickly became a thistle in the shoe of the New Brunswick Scottish Cultural Association.
“We still believe that the city should be living up to its commitment. They were gifted that statue and they should be putting the maintenance into it,” said Dan Taylor, the group’s past president.
The official statue debate, of which they have not been a part, has irked the Scottish associations, to the point where they have called in the Robert Burns Association of North America for support, and notified the Robert Burns World Federation Ltd. head office in Scotland.
We believe the city has not handled poor Robbie Burns with the respect he deserves. It seems to want to do something, but the vote over fully funding the remounting was eight to four against. Clearly councillors are divided over their responsibility.
The mayor and a few councillors continue to hint that a compromise or a solution can be found, but so far, the city has not issued any sort of request or invitation to sit down and talk with the Scottish groups, which does not sit well with the Scots.
If the city wants help to solve the problem – and it is officially a city problem – then it’s time to talk with the groups it’s mentioned. Some fence-mending might be in order as well.
Here’s a suggestion: Cut the cost by not flood-proofing the statue’s base. Move the statue to Government House, where the New Brunswick Highland Games are held each summer. Put it close to the road, away from the river.
It makes sense and it’s cheaper, and the $40,000 budget might even cover the whole job.
There has been far more discussion than action on the statue of Robbie Burns, and in the meantime, he languishes in a city works yard, all polished up with no where to go.
It’s time he found a home.
Good Day All:
Our executive will be meeting Thursday January 6th to discuss this and other items, and myself and/or Laurie Hossack and John Watson will be attending a meeting in Fredericton to meet with the presidents of other groups to discuss a plan of action on how to best convince the City of Fredericton to put Robert back up on the Green where he has stood since 1906. We will have more details to share after those meetings.
I’ve asked our historian to look into what our involvement was back in 1906, but as I understand the story so far, subject to change pending our historian’s investigation , The Saint Andrew’s Society of Saint John and Fredericton’s Society of Saint Andrew’s, as well as the Calendonia Society of Restigouche and the Highland Society of Miramichi commissioned William Grant Stevenson ( a famous and noteworthy sculptor from Scotland) to put a statue of Robert Burns on the Green in Fredericton near the Beaverbrook Gallery.
Sometime in the 1980’s it was gifted to the City of Fredericton with the understanding they would look after it’s maintenance thereafter. In 2006 it was decided by council after the 100 anniversary to take it down for cleaning, they got around to it in 2008. When they took it apart it was discovered that the base was about to fall apart from all the flooding in that area over the years.
Burns has been sitting under a tarp in a works garage parking lot since 2008, the city of Fredericton has to date spent just under $100,000 of the estimated $135,000 to put the statue back up and the council has not voted to spend the last $40,000 to finish the job. W.G. Stevenson also put up other Burns sculptures in North America and the one in Chicago in 1906 is similar to the one in Fredericton, he of course has many sculptures in Scotland, Burns was one of Stevenson’s favorite subjects it seems.
Once we have met in Fredericton we will have more of an idea for how to best approach the situation. But since Burns day is fast approaching I’d like each of our members who feel strongly about Burns and enjoy his works to call Stan Carew the host of Weekend Mornings 91.3 FM CBC radio 1-888-737-0338 and ask for a Burns tune or call in with a small bit of his poetry. I’ve called him to suggest the idea of a Burns Show and hoping you will all do the same.
Also I invited his listeners to contact councilors in Fredericton to ask to have Burns put back in his rightful place and finish the job. If you can make request for a Burns tune or call in a poem and start sending emails to Fredericton councilors, maybe they will change their minds if enough people flood the email boxes with letters. Their email addresses and phone numbers are on the City of Fredericton’s web site just click the link below:
Also you may wish to read the recent story in The Gleaner by clicking this link:
I’m not sure Stan will do a show or not, but the more people that call in with requests the more likely the chance he will. He may or may not edit my request to have people email or call the council in Fredericton, if so it is up to you all to get the word out and get the emails and calls going to Fredericton yourselves. The NB Scottish Cultural Association is already on the move to get people writing.
I know more than a few of you are gifted at crafting letters. Let’s get on this. Let the City of Fredericton know that they cannot ignore our history.
Lang may yer lum reek
Wi’ ither folks coal
Subject: RE: Robert Burns Statue Fredericton – Restoration
Noted, with some interest (although I’ve not much of an ear for poetry)…
Now, …since the City of Fredericton just happens to host the annual NB Gathering of the Clans and takes some pride in hosting this Scottish cultural event, wouldn’t it make a lot of sense for the rededication of the statue to be part of said event? Perhaps someone has already thought to request the assistance of the organizing committee in making this a part of the contribution of the City of Fredericton and in having this added to the programme for the event this summer (which is the 30th anniversary of this event). This might have some impact on the number of attendees and tourists that include Fredericton in their summer travel plans.
In similar fashion, most of the Clans which regularly participate in the Fredericton event also happen to publish web sites and regular newsletters. They may be willing to publish an article drawing attention to the plight of the bard ( or praising the City of Fredericton for honouring their obligation to our culture.
I submit these humble thoughts for your consideration,
PS, if our petitions are not successful there are many forms of subtle humiliation (and perhaps even blackmail) that may have the desired effect. I just hope we don’t have to unsheathe the trusty broadsword! You see, there is more to Scottish culture than poetry.
As Mayor I support you. Brad Woodside On 2011-01-03, at 9:05 AM, "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com> wrote:
> To the Mayor and Council, City of Fredericton: > > With respect, this is a plea to all members of City Council to support
enthusiastically and to accord some priority to the restoration of the statue of Robert Burns to its rightful place in the city.
> > In 2006, as President of the St Andrew's Society of Saint John, I attended
the ceremony honoring the 100th anniversary and the re-dedication of this treasured work. This event, organized by the New Brunswick Scottish Cultural Association, brought together representatives from many such entities throughout the Maritimes. It was also attended by our Lieutenant Governor. It was a most moving ceremony,with a grandchild of the sculptor in attendance, and it was such a thrilling moment to watch a band of one hundred pipers marching down Queen Street.
> > It goes without saying that Scottish Culture and Heritage are alive and
well in New Brunswick. Robert Burns, whose memory is especially honored each January, is the greatest proponent of these throughout the world. His statue in Fredericton has long since been their valued representation.
> > We have been told that when accepting the statue as a gift during the
1980s, the City of Fredericton undertook the obligation for its care and maintenance. If this be so, surely the honorable course of action would be to end its lengthy languishing under a tarpaulin, complete its restoration and return it to its rightful place on the public green.
> > May I respectfully ask for your enthusiastic support for the completion of
this most worthwhile project.
> > Sincerely yours, > > James E Kupkee > 506-847-1018 > >