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ADVERTISEMENT OF THE EVENT
A two-page advertisement in the Globe and Mail on Thursday, October 27, 2005, covered the visit of the Honourable Jack McConnell MSP, First Minister of Scotland. Beneath this is my equally impressive invitation to the event.
First of all, my wife and I agree that this was a first class event. The reception in the inner foyer of the Liberty Grand building began and ended with the piper. The first photo is of the piper at the entrance to the building, which was originally the Ontario Building at the west end of the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. Many things have changed since yesteryear . . . including the highly visible windmill power generator which stands nearby.
GATHERING IN THE "ARTIFACTS ROOM"
Pat and I admired the sash with the McNabb tartan worn by one of the guests, who commented on the fact that few others had worn their tartans. I did spot a tie with a MacKenzie tartan. We had a chat with long-time acquaintance, Harold Nelson, and both of us recalled some mutual friends and a few university capers. Meanwhile, Alastair McIntyre was surreptitiously taking a couple of pictures of us, and these have been included . . . for which many thanks.
There is a general photo of Scottish Studies Foundation members, including director Janice Richardson, assembled in front of the "Artifacts Room", and we also noticed Dr. Graeme Morton (left side), who was appointed Chair of Scottish Studies at the University of Guelph.
There was a brief opportunity to discuss my personal interest in Scottish-Canadian culture with Alastair McIntyre, Manager of the Electric Scotland website (left side in the next picture) . . . just before the piper led us into the "Artifacts Room".
Guests were entertained by a Scottish String Orchestra. Seating was at a premium, and many were still standing later during the ballet, the fashion show and the luncheon which followed.
THE FIRST MINISTER OF SCOTLAND
Wendy Mesley, the announcer from the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), introduced the First Minister of Scotland, the Right Honourable Jack McConnell, who spoke about business and educational opportunities in Scotland.
ENTERTAINMENT AND FOOD
There is a shot of the attentive audience around the CBC crew that provided coverage of the event. The First Minister of Scotland addressed a few remarks in the direction of Wendy Mesley of the CBC before concluding his speech and announcing that entertainment would follow.
No pictures were taken of the Scottish Ballet group. I was afraid that the camera flash might go off and cause an international incident of disastrous proportions. Too bad, since I was right at the front and had an excellent view as the quartet performed a recent piece choreographed by Ashley Page.
Following the ballet, Scotland's fashion industry was displayed by several models, who appeared to enjoy the event as much as the guests who lined the runway on each side. Nola Crewe, Vice-President of the Scottish Studies Foundation, was close to the stage where she enthusiastically clapped to the music and cheered the models on. [I took a better photo later just before my departure.]
I have included a couple of "blurred" photos here because they seemed to capture the atmosphere of this exciting occasion. With camera held high, I attempted to get a picture of the model on the runway. Next, as the string orchestra reappeared and luncheon servers opened at three locations at the side of the hall, I attempted to display another aspect of the festivities.
Just so you may note that more tables became available, I caught up with Alastair McIntyre once again when Pat and I were seated at the opposite side of the former "ballet stage". You may visit his Electric Scotland website
for more photographs of this event. We left shortly after the luncheon, and (as I noted previously) took a better picture of Nola Crewe as we were departing.
The young ladies at the reception table were embarrassed to have their pictures taken as Pat and I left the Liberty Grand. The gift bag was equally unexpected. When we arrived home and opened it, we found an impressive treasure . . . two lapel pins (the Scottish Saltire and the crossed flags of our two countries), a 45 gram orange and cardamon flavoured dark chocolate from Kshocolate Ltd in Glasgow, a fine ballpoint pen labelled "Scotland" beside the Saltire, a 128MB USB Flash Disk complete with connectors, plus a colourful booklet Scotland, The best small country in the world
. For more information, you may visit http://www.scotlandistheplace.com