Plan your Visit
The McCord Museum
The Museum Team
Museum launches a major new exhibition
Scots Dyed-in-the-Wool Montrealers
From October 3, 2003 to September 6, 2004
I not French, I would choose to be a Scot.
Sir Wilfrid Laurier, 1893
Thursday, October 2, 2003
Have you ever heard of
Bonnie Prince Charlie? Can you tell the difference between
Lowlands and Highlands bagpipes? And have you ever wondered
who were the people behind "Montreal" names like
McGill, McTavish, Ogilvie and Dawson?
a short walk through Montreal's downtown core proves that the
Scots have left a tremendous imprint on the city. Historic
institutions like McGill University, the Bank of Montreal and
the Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul, not to mention the
impressive homes and public buildings in Montreal's Golden
Square Mile, are concrete evidence that here, the story of
success has often been a Scottish one. Despite this fact, many
people, even native Montrealers, are hard pressed to say why.
The McCord Museum of Canadian History aims to change all of
that with an exhibition that overturns old stereotypes,
highlights fascinating individuals and showcases rarely-seen
artifacts. The Scots Dyed-in-the-Wool Montrealers invites
visitors to discover the part played by Scottish immigrants
and their descendants in the development of the metropolis,
the province and the country. Theirs was an important role,
one that involved a lot more than just bagpipes, whisky and
to the The Scots will be initiated into the intricacies of
this cultural community's unique religious traditions and
ethnic associations, their military service and business
acumen, and of course, the ever-important rituals of curling
and golf, both of which originated in Scotland. They'll meet
face-to-face many important Montrealers of Scottish heritage,
thanks in part to the McCord's extensive portrait collection.
Some names will be familiar, like that of James McGill, whose
name is now synonymous with education in Montreal, while some
will be less familiar, like James Thompson, a soldier who
witnessed many significant historical events in his adopted
land, from the landing at Louisbourg to the battle of the
Plains of Abraham and lucky for us, paused to write down his
memories. Listen to recordings of their histories, and if the
Scottish brogue poses a challenge, let our display of a poem
by Robbie Burns broaden your Scots vocabulary.
of the more unusual objects on display include a set of
Lowlands bagpipes, a statue of St. Andrew, the Scots' patron
saint, and a tobacco store statue of a 42nd Highlander,
dressed in full military regalia and taking a pinch of snuff.
This last artifact is a favorite with Exhibition Researcher
Heather McNabb: "Before I met up with him I thought all
tobacco store figurines depicted Aboriginal peoples. Now I
know they took many forms, and this particular icon is richly
symbolic of the Scottish presence in Quebec. He represents a
soldier from a Scottish Highland regiment, a very common
figure in the early 19th-century Canadian cityscape, and he
also brings to mind the Scottish involvement in the Canadian
tobacco industry." For his part Pierre Wilson, Interpretive Planner of the
exhibition, especially admires an evening dress worn by Sarah
Ogilvie for the inaugural celebration of the Victoria Bridge
in 1860. Made from silk satin woven in the Ogilvie hunting
tartan, the dress is both an extraordinary artifact and likely
expressive of Sarah Ogilvie's pride in her Scottish heritage.
Not surprisingly, her husband, Alexander Walker Ogilvie,
became president of the St. Andew's Society of Montreal in
McCord has enjoyed the support of many individuals and
organizations from Montreal's Scottish community throughout
this exhibition's development. Partners and lenders of
artifacts include the St. Andrew's Society of Montreal, the
Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul (whose bicentennial
celebrations this year were one of the original catalysts for
this exhibition), The Stewart
Museum at the Fort, Île Sainte-Hélène, the Black
Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, and many faculties
and divisions of McGill University, as well as the British
Consulate-General of Montreal, the Canadian Museum of
Civilization, and the Société du Vieux-Port de Montréal.
Essential support has also been received from the Québec
Government, the Canadian Pacific Railway, and BMO Bank of
Montreal, a member of BMO Financial Group. "We are proud
of the Scottish heritage of many of the founders of Canada's
First Bank, the Bank of Montreal," said L. Jacques Ménard,
President of BMO Financial Group in Quebec. "Prominent
executives of Scottish origin include our First President John
Gray and three other co-founders of the Bank in 1817, the
Honorable John Richardson, Robert Armour and George Garden and
subsequently Peter McGill and Donald Smith (Lord Strathcona),
to name but a few.We
are therefore very pleased to support this unique exhibit."
those acquainted with Scottish Montreal are sure to learn
something new in an exhibition resplendent with art, artifacts
and intriguing historical anecdotes. With more than 250
artifacts stretching over 4,000 square feet, The Scots
Dyed-in-the-Wool Montrealers is a veritable Scottish feast for
the eyes, ears and mind.
related to the exhibition
The Scots Dyed-in-the-Wool Montrealers
Walk Through Scottish Montreal
Sundays, October 5, 12, 19 and 26 at 11 am (bilingual)
Discover Montreal's Scottish heritage through an hour-long walking tour of the city's 19th-century "Golden Square Mile." Offered as part of CBC Montreal Matters.
Adults $12, includes Museum admission. Reservations necessary.
Dance and Music
Saturday, December 27 at 1:30 pm (bilingual)
Come discover (or rediscover) traditional Scottish dance and music with the Montreal Highland Dancing Association and bagpipe player Jeff McCarthy. Afterwards, try a few steps on your own! Adults $12, children $6.
and reservations: (514) 398-7100 ext. 234
Come the Scots!
It was a beautiful spring day when John McMurray arrived in Quebec, carrying with him the ancient traditions of his homeland. Little did he know the impact he and his countrymen and women would have, weaving into the North American fabric their beliefs, values and myths, not to mention their very recognizable music and dance. At the McCord your Scottish experience will include listening to a legend and dancing to Scottish airs.
For primary (cycles 1 & 3) and secondary school classes. $5.50 per student, minimum 15 and maximum 100 students. One chaperone admitted free for every 15 students.
and reservations: (514) 398-7100 ext. 222
information for the exhibition
The Scots Dyed-in-the-Wool Montrealers
at the McCord Museum from October 3, 2003 to September 6, 2004
4,000 square feet
of artifacts: 250+
Institution: McCord Museum of Canadian History
and Lending Institutions: Québec Government; BMO Bank of
Montreal, a member of BMO Financial Group; St. Andrew's
Society of Montreal; The Church of St. Andrew and St. Paul;
British Consulate-General of Montreal; Canadian Pacific
Railway; The Canadian Museum of Civilization; The Stewart
Museum at the Fort, Île Sainte-Hélène; The Black Watch
(Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada; Old Port of Montréal
Corporation; McGill University; Canada Science and Technology
Museum; Knox Crescent Kensington & First Presbyterian
Church; Redpath Museum; Montreal Highland Games Society; Board
of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal
Heather McNabb and Pierre Wilson
- Silk dress in Ogilvie hunting tartan, worn by Mrs A.W. Ogilvie,
1860. McCord Museum.
- 42nd Highlander tobacco store figure, 1825. McCord
- Scottish thistle cup (about 1720) and snuffbox (1775-1821),
belonging to James Thompson. McCord Museum.
- Lowlands bagpipe, 17th century. McCord
Kingdom of the Mind: The Scottish Influence on the Development
of Canada (forthcoming)
team biographical information
The Scots Dyed-in-the-Wool Montrealers
McNabb, Exhibition Researcher, McCord Museum
McNabb has been associated with the McCord's Notman
Photographic Archives since 1981, first as a volunteer, then
as a cataloguer and researcher for this exhibition. Her mixed
ancestry includes Scottish great-great-grandparents on both
her mother's and father's side; her curiosity about these
Scottish roots led her to search out the Scottish images in
the Notman Photographic Archives, which in turn inspired her
to write a Master's thesis on Montreal's mid-19th-century
Scottish community, completed at Concordia University in 2000.
Ms McNabb's pastimes include teaching and competing in
Wilson, Interpretive Planner
Wilson has been associated with the firm of Pinceau d'Arlequin
for the past 11 years, as a director of production, project
manager and evaluator. He has directed and participated in
numerous exhibitions at the Musée de la civilisation in
Quebec City, the Centre d'histoire de Montréal, the Cosmodôme,
the Montreal Botanical Gardens and the Pointe-à-Callière
Museum. Most recently, Mr Wilson wrote the audio guide to the
Grosse-Île quarantine station for Parks Canada, created the
scenario for the exhibition Water Delights at the Biosphere,
and headed the team charged with refurbishing the permanent
exhibition at the Musée d'art de Saint-Laurent, now known as
the Musée des maîtres et artisans du Québec.
available upon request
Source and Information:
Tel: (514) 398-7100, ext. 251