The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry News Release

OTTAWA – OTTAWA – The Scottish Society of Ottawa (SSO) is delighted to host the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry exhibit as its final destination of the North American tour in Ottawa. It made its debut December Hogman-eh!, the New Year’s Eve celebration – Scottish Style, at a pre-exhibit in the Horticulture Building. The full exhibit is now on display at the Main Branch of the Ottawa Public Library during regular Library Hours from January 3rd to 25th, 2017 as part of Scottish Month in Ottawa.  Click here to download the full news release.

Click to listen to an interview on the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry with Jenny Bruce by Carol Anne Meehanon on the 1310 News Carol Anne Meehan Show on January 4.

Click here to read a news item on the Sunday January 22 presentation on the tapestries at the library.


Hogman-eh! on CBC

Click here to see a CBC report on Hogman-eh!.


Hogman-eh! blog on

Click here to see an blog on Hogman-eh! from the Don Cummer.


Wire Service Press Releases on Hogman-eh! 2016

Click here to see a wire service press release.

Hogman-eh! on Resorts and Lodges Travel blog

Click here to see an interview on Hogman-eh! from the Resorts and Lodges travel blog.


 The 5th Annual Hogman-eh! News Release

OTTAWA – The Scottish Society of Ottawa (SSO) has announced the stellar lineup for “Hogman-eh!” – its annual New Year’s Eve celebration at the Aberdeen Pavilion. The event is free and each year, it attracts thousands of people who come to join the festivities, enjoy the music, sip the whisky, eat the food, watch the fireworks – and release their inner Scot.  Click here to download the full news release.

The 5th Annual Hogman-eh Launch at Earnscliffe

Members of the Scottish Society of Ottawa were guests of the British High Commissioner His Excellency, Howard Drake, at a reception on December 1 at the British High Commission residence Earnscliffe  House.  The event was to mark St Andrew’s Day and, in part, the reception was to announce the official plans for the Hogman-eh event being held at Lansdowne Park on December 31st.  Click here to see a report on the event.

Hogman-eh! receives Celebrate Ontario support

OntarioTrilliumlogo white

The Scottish Society is absolutely buzzing with news that the Province of Ontario will provide funding support for Hogman-eh! 2016 celebrations on December 31, 2016. We look forward to seeing many new and familiar faces at the Aberdeen Pavilion, Lansdowne Park on New Year’s Eve!


Communique: Hogmanay 2015

Holiday Crowds to Join Scottish Society of Ottawa to Celebrate Hogmanay 2015, SSO’s Fourth Annual Cultural Celebration of New Year’s Eve by The Scottish Society of Ottawa | Dec 15, 2015


The 4th Annual Hogmanay Launch at Earnscliffe

Around Town: Ready to ring in the New Year, Scots-style, at Hogmanay event launch reception by Caroline Phillips, Ottawa Citizen | Dec 4, 2015


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

John Ivison | Dec 26, 2012 8:01 PM ET

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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

John Ivison | Apr 16, 2012 6:00 PM ET | Last Updated: Apr 16, 2012 12:52 PM ET

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

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

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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.



Relentless Implacability

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.

SSO and other coming events

    Sir John A. Macdonald – The Musical

  1. November 2 @ 7:30 pm - November 4 @ 4:30 pm
    Centrepointe Theatre

  2. St. Andrew’s Day Tutored Whisky Tasting

  3. December 2 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Milestones – Lansdowne
    325 Marché Way #101

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