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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.