Setting up a Scottish-style New Year’s
Around Town, Ottawa Citizen by Caroline Phillips | Dec 1, 2013
It was time to tartan up and head to British High Commissioner Howard Drake’s official residence Wednesday for a reception he hosted to promote the upcoming Scottish-style New Year’s Eve party at City Hall.
iPolitics: Pre-Hogmanay at Earnscliffe
By Cynthia Münster | Nov 28, 2013 10:37 am
British High Commissioner Howard Drake hosted a pre-Hogmanay reception for the Scottish Society of Ottawa, repeating last year’s reception. It was a well-attended affair, with MPs and ministers Candice Bergen and Diane Finley mingling with Scottish Society members, including author Grete Hale, journalist John Ivison and former Usher of the Black Rod Kevin MacLeod.
John Ivison: Rekindling the ‘old love’ for Scotland by throwing a traditional Hogmanay party
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images Men dressed as Vikings lead the 2010 torchlight procession in Edinburgh, Scotland. The Scottish Society of Canada, composed of prominent Canadian politicians and other patriotic Scotsmen and women, are holding the first ever Hogmanay this year — a traditional Scottish New Year’s Eve party. The hogmanay will happen on city hall grounds on Dec. 31, 2012
Journalists don’t join. They certainly don’t volunteer. They distrust society, which may explain why it distrusts them back. Their perfect mood is cynical, edgy and miserable.
Reporters are, in Nora Ephron’s memorable phrase, the wallflowers at the orgy — detached from the rest in order to protect their objectivity.
I have never really bought into that, siding with Hunter S. Thompson’s contention that, aside from race results and stock market tabulations, there is no such thing as objective journalism. “The phrase itself is a pompous contradiction in terms,” he said.
Yet I have never invested myself in the community. I coached soccer for years, but that was motivated by self-interest — I had to be there anyway and I didn’t want my son coached by someone who called it “soccer-ball.”
Scottish Society brings tradition of Hogmanay to Ottawa
By SHAAMINI YOGARETNAM, Ottawa Citizen November 30, 2012
Senator Doug Finley says the Scottish Society of Canada will hold Ottawa’s first hogmanay this year, a traditional Scottish New Year’s Eve party. The hogmanay will happen on city hall grounds.
Photograph by: Bruno Schlumberger , The Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — Should auld acquaintance be forgot, Ottawans will still have a party to go to on New Year’s Eve — as long as they can remember how to pronounce it.
A traditional Scottish New Year’s Eve is being planned at City Hall by the Scottish Society of Ottawa, a party known by no lesser name than Hogmanay.
“We were kind of fishing around with an idea for a way to reconnect people with our Scottish roots,” John Ivison of the Scottish Society of Ottawa said in a strong, lilting brogue.
Like the self-proclaimed Irish on the March 17 holiday-which-must-not-be-named, Ivison says we all have a bit of Scot in us; certainly our country does.
Canada’s first prime minister was a Scot, John A. Macdonald. So was Alexander Graham Bell. James McGill might have founded a university in Quebec. But bred in Scotland he was.
“I think Canada and Scotland have an umbilical link for five million people who self-identify as Scottish,” Ivison said.
With strong waves of immigration before Confederation, the founders of the country were largely Scottish, and so Scottishness became part of the Canadian identity, but a largely forgotten one.
“A lot of people are obviously born Scottish, a lot of people have Scottish parents, uncles, whatever, but a lot of people become Scots by osmosis. They just enjoy the Scottish thing,” added Senator Doug Finley, another Scot spearheading the party.
Of course, all this planning was necessitated by visitors and locals in Ottawa having few options on New Year’s Eve.
“It’s like Ottawa’s the place that fun forgot,” Ivison quipped.
Some might question the connection between the new year and Scotland, but it isn’t a leap at all. For centuries in Scotland, New Year’s Eve was more important an event than Christmas.
“New Year’s Eve sort of became the national Scottish party day,” Finley said from his office on Parliament Hill, the former office of one John A. MacDonald.
Hogmanay is the name for both the last day of the year and the heavy celebrating that comes with it. The Scottish-style, family-friendly street party at City Hall will be free to the public.
Revellers can expect a large main stage with performances by internationally-renowned Canadian Celtic bands including a special headliner that organizers will announce in the coming weeks.
Highland dance groups and pipers will entertain the masses. The Rink of Dreams will be open for ice skating. There will even be an ice sculpture of the Loch Ness monster, or Nessie as she’s known to lovers of both modern mythology and the Scotland of yesterday.
At midnight, the band will lead the partygoers in a rendition of Auld Lang Syne, which, for those unaware, is a Scottish song, as fireworks light the night sky.
Scottish food and Scotch tastings will be available as well, though not for free, but “they’ll help the merriment along,” Finley said.
But that name. Hog-ma-nay.
John Ivison on Tartan Day: A time to show Scottish-Canadian pride
| Apr 16, 2012 6:00 PM ET | Last Updated: Apr 16, 2012 12:52 PM ET
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images The sun rises over Edinburgh Castle in Scotland.
My father was an educated man, but not what you would call cultivated. He loved his family, his dog, meat and potatoes and football, usually in that order.
He also loved Canada. I remember him saying in his speech at my wedding how comfortable he felt in the country that’s been home to me since I left The Scotsman’s North Bridge fastness 14 years ago.
It’s small wonder he felt at home. The people he met in small-town Ontario were just like the people he knew in Dumfries — small-town Scotland.
Five million Canadians lay claim to Scottish ancestry and the author Ken McGoogan was being only slightly preposterous when he wrote a book called How the Scots Invented Canada.
Pour a wee dram! Hogmanay celebrations coming to Ottawa
Governor of the Bank of Canada Mark Carney and Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.
British High Commissioner, Dr. Andrew Pocock, and wife, Julie, welcomed tartan-clad friends of the Scottish Society of Ottawa to Earnscliffe to hear Mayor Jim Watson announce that the nation’s capital will host this Scottish New Year’s event on City Hall grounds.
Literary Review of Canada, January 2011
One ethnic group has its fingerprints all over this place.
How the Scots Invented Canada Ken McGoogan HarperCollins 415 pages, hardcover ISBN 9781554682331
Peter C. Newman, the iconic author of a trilogy on the Hudson’s Bay Company, once told me an anecdote about meeting a new quartermaster general of the HBC. The man was Jewish and Newman asked him if he had ever been the subject of discrimination. “Yes, as a matter of fact I have,” he replied. “I’m the first Englishman ever to be quartermaster general of the Hudson’s Bay Company.”
The rest, of course, were Scots.
The Scots Fight Back
October 21, 2011
Hugo Rifkind, The Dorchester Review
On the top of Calton Hill in Edinburgh you’ll find an unfinished brownstone acropolis. Once intended to be the focus point of a city some still call “the Athens of the North,” it has remained unfinished since 1829 when the money ran out. Some call it “Scotland’s Disgrace” but they are wrong. Actually, Scotland’s disgrace was a statue of William Wallace which used to stand 30 miles inland, in Stirling. Only, it didn’t look like William Wallace. It looked like Mel Gibson. It was one nation’s celebration of how a film from another nation thought that first nation ought to be.