Settlers' Commemorative Celebrations in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada by Rob R. Bruce-Barron
The genesis for our Annual Selkirk Settlers
Commemorative Celebrations in Winnipeg, Manitoba, emanated from the
intent and commitment by the St. Andrews Society of Winnipeg,
(founded 1871), to ensure that the Bicentennial for the arrival of the
Selkirk Settlers in Winnipeg and the Province of Manitoba, was to be
recognised in a significant and appropriate fashion.
Subsequently, in the spring of 2005, the Society
seconded Communications Chair, Mr. John Perrin III, to approach a
fellow member of the Society, Mr. Rob R. Bruce-Barron, to enquire as
to his interest in undertaking such an initiative.
Upon reviewing the potential, Rob came back to John
and the Society with the suggestion, that what was needed was a
sustainable precursor to the 2012 Bicentennial that would serve to
steadily heighten the visibility of Scottish Heritage and Culture and
commensurately identify multiple contributions to Manitobas rich
Rob was surprised to find that there was little or
nothing in the form of a continuous inclusive event recognising and
celebrating the arrival of the Selkirk Settlers in Winnipeg. His
recommendation therefore, was that an annual event be evolved and
conducted as a yearly precursor to 2012 Bicentennial celebrations.
Consequently, Rob designed the first event, with
invaluable orientation in-put from John Perrin III, and the inaugural
Selkirk Settlers Commemorative Celebration was conducted on September
In year two, 2006, a Selkirk Settlers Core
Committee was formed under the chairmanship of Rob Bruce-Barron, and
this committee is the nub of the Committee which will ultimately be
responsible for designing and delivering the 2012 Bicentennial event,
and will selectively added to each year.
Our annual commemorative celebrations, are designed
to be inclusive of all Scots associations, organizations and interest
groups, as well as First Nations who played such an integral role in
the survival of the first Selkirk Settlers, French Canadian Voyageurs
from Fort Gibraltar, the Metis, and in the near future the North
West Company and the Hudson Bay Company (HBC).
Each year the City of Winnipeg enables us to
congregate in the Winnipeg City Hall Plaza before setting off in the
late morning, proudly led down Portage Avenue by the St. Andrews
Society of Winnipeg Pipe Band. Members of the public, members of the
St. Andrews Society of Winnipeg, related organizations & public
officials all march in appropriate regalia, to the skirl of the pipes
and beat of the drums along picturesque Waterfront Drive to the
landmark and unique Scots Monument, be-quested to the City of Winnipeg
by the St. Andrews Society of Winnipeg, situated at the historic
Selkirk Settlers disembarking location on the grassy banks of the Red
There various invited dignitaries bring greetings
from their particular agencies and each year we are then privileged to
be provided with a keynote address from different, invited, high
calibre presenters each year. In our first two celebrations our
notable presenters have been Professor J. M. Bumsted and Professor St.
John, 9th Earl of Orkney. This years keynote address will
be delivered by Mr. Bill Blaikie, M.P.
We endeavour to conduct this event as near to the
original time-line for the arrival of the Selkirk Settlers as
possible. The first landing in Winnipeg was on August 30, 1812. In
deference to the long weekend held on the last weekend in August each
year, we hold our celebration on the first Saturday following.
This year, 2007, September 8 has been selected,
which also marks a very
significant first for the Annual Selkirk Settlers
Commemorative Celebration; most notably, a vibrant ceremony
acknowledging the newly erected `Clearances Monument. Official
dedication will take place in 2008.
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