St. Andrew's Gathering at Sir John A.'s House

Each year at around St. Andrew's Day (November 30), the Scottish hordes descend from the Hill (or up from the Valley) to occupy a grand house overlooking the Ottawa River.  They eat the food, drink the whisky, and make their announcements, then roll up their sleeves, hike up their kilts and get ready to present several weeks of Scottish themed activities in the Nation's Capital.

Once again, His Excellency, Howard Drake, British High Commissioner, and Mrs. Gill Drake opened their home to those celebrating the patron saint of Scotland.

 His Excellency, Howard Drake, the UK's High Commissioner to Canada, extends "100,000 Welcomes." Photo:  Roman Romanovich 

His Excellency, Howard Drake, the UK's High Commissioner to Canada, extends "100,000 Welcomes." Photo:  Roman Romanovich 

“It’s always a delight to return to Earnscliffe and the hospitality of the Drakes,” said Kevin MacLeod, Chair of the Scottish Society of Ottawa (SSO). “This was the home, after all, of Sir John A. Macdonald, the architect of Confederation. During Canada’s 150th birthday, we plan to highlight his achievements.”

 SSO's Chair, Kevin MacLeod, outlines some of the Society's plans for the coming weeks.  Photo: Don Cummer

SSO's Chair, Kevin MacLeod, outlines some of the Society's plans for the coming weeks.  Photo: Don Cummer

MacLeod announced plans for the SSO’s fifth annual New Year’s Eve celebration, Hogman-eh! Alix MacGregor-William’s, the event’s coordinator, observed that the party – with live music and fireworks – has become an annual tradition for all generations. “We count down the New Year twice – first at 7 p.m. which is midnight in Scotland. Families can bring their children, then get them home in time for bed.” Admission to the event at the Aberdeen Pavillion is free.

 Don Cummer, Jackie McKeown, Alix MacGregor-Williams.  Photo: Roman Romanovich.

Don Cummer, Jackie McKeown, Alix MacGregor-Williams.  Photo: Roman Romanovich.

Kevin MacLeod also announced that the Scottish Government, whose representative, Chris Maskell, attended the event at Earnscliffe, was providing financial support to the six cities that are partnering this winter in the Third Annual Sir John A's Great Canadian Kilt Skate:

  • January 14 -- Montreal
  • January 21 -- Toronto
  • January 28 -- Ottawa, Winnipeg, Saskatoon
  • February 12 -- Calgary

A special guest at the Earnscliffe event was Mrs. Jenny Bruce, Tour Director of the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry.  Throughout the month of January, the tapestry created by over a thousand people in some 35 countries, will be on display at the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library.

 Mrs. Jenny Bruce explains the Scottish Diapora Tapestry while Heather Theoret (SSO) and Sue MacGregor (SSO) listen. Photo Don Cummer

Mrs. Jenny Bruce explains the Scottish Diapora Tapestry while Heather Theoret (SSO) and Sue MacGregor (SSO) listen. Photo Don Cummer

 The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry -- on display at the Main Branch, Ottawa Public Library, January 2017.

The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry -- on display at the Main Branch, Ottawa Public Library, January 2017.

The annual gathering at Earnscliffe marks the beginning of winter and a season of intense activity for the Scottish Society of Ottawa.  But it's also a chance to unwind, see old friends and make new ones.

 Richard Fleming (SSO), Hon. Andrew Leslie, Chief Government Whip, Erica Leslie, His Excellency Howard Drake, John Ivison (SSO).  Photo Roman Romanovich.

Richard Fleming (SSO), Hon. Andrew Leslie, Chief Government Whip, Erica Leslie, His Excellency Howard Drake, John Ivison (SSO).  Photo Roman Romanovich.

 Andrea Hughes, Fiona Murray, Erica Leslie, and Gay Cook. Photo: Roman Romanovich

Andrea Hughes, Fiona Murray, Erica Leslie, and Gay Cook. Photo: Roman Romanovich

 Pontiac Member of Parliament, William Amos, with our hostess, Mrs. Gill Drake, on his left, and an unidentified friend on his right. Photo: Roman Romanovich

Pontiac Member of Parliament, William Amos, with our hostess, Mrs. Gill Drake, on his left, and an unidentified friend on his right. Photo: Roman Romanovich

 Mrs. Jenny Bruce of the Scottish Tapestry, with three SSO members -- Heather Theoret, Lynn Fleming, and Michael Cox -- and His Excellency, Howard Drake, our host. Photo: Roman Romanovich

Mrs. Jenny Bruce of the Scottish Tapestry, with three SSO members -- Heather Theoret, Lynn Fleming, and Michael Cox -- and His Excellency, Howard Drake, our host. Photo: Roman Romanovich

 Ross May (SSO), Craig Buckley (whose Kettleman's Bakery is a sponsor of Hogman-eh!), Kevin MacLeod, and High Commissioner Howard Drake.  Photo: Roman Romanovich

Ross May (SSO), Craig Buckley (whose Kettleman's Bakery is a sponsor of Hogman-eh!), Kevin MacLeod, and High Commissioner Howard Drake.  Photo: Roman Romanovich

 Dana Cryderman and John Ivison were married in Scotland earlier this year.  Photo: Roman Romanovich

Dana Cryderman and John Ivison were married in Scotland earlier this year.  Photo: Roman Romanovich

 Hon. Andrew Leslie and Dana Cryderman. Photo: Roman Romanovich

Hon. Andrew Leslie and Dana Cryderman. Photo: Roman Romanovich

 Earnscliffe was the last home in which Sir John A. Macdonald lived, and where he died in 1891.  It is now the official residence of the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom.

Earnscliffe was the last home in which Sir John A. Macdonald lived, and where he died in 1891.  It is now the official residence of the High Commissioner of the United Kingdom.