Question 3: TARTAN DAY What is the origin of Tartan Day?
Most people know that April 6th was chosen for Tartan Day because that day in 1320 was the signing of the Declaration of Arbroath by the Scottish nobility (including William, the Earl of Ross), declaring Scottish independence from England. It is said to be the inspiration for many future documents declaring national liberty and protecting the rights and freedoms of citizens.
James Moore, Minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages, announced on October 21, 2010, that the Government of Canada now officially recognizes April 6 as Tartan Day.
Senator John Wallace (Saint John, NB) introduced Bill S-222 in the Senate on June 22 of 2010 and spoke to it during September when it was passed in both houses.
In Canada, the Scottish Studies Society, the fundraising arm of the Scottish Studies Foundation (established in 1987), sponsors an Annual Tartan Day Celebration Dinner during April. Since the inception of this event, the following prominent Canadians of Scottish origin have been named Scot of the Year:
1993 - Major-General Lewis MacKenzie, former Commanding Officer of the U.N. Forces in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia
1994 - Madame Justice, The Hon. Bertha Wilson, retired from the Supreme Court of Canada
1995 - Lloyd Robertson, well known CTV News Anchor
1996 - The Hon. Donald S, Macdonald, former Federal Cabinet Minister and Canadian High Commissioner to Great Britain and Northern Ireland
1997 - Col. The Hon. Henry N. R. Jackman, former Lieutenant-Governor of Ontario
1998 - John Cleghorn, Chairman and CEO of The Royal Bank of Canada
1999 - Michael MacMillan, Chairman and CEO of Alliance Atlantis Films, the largest film and TV production company in Canada
2000 - Lynton (Red) Wilson, Chairman of Bell Canada Enterprises (BCE)
2001 - Katherine Macmillan, President and CEO of Goldfarb Consultants, previously holding executive positions and obtaining extensive corporate experience with Warner Lambert health care, the Campbell Soup Company and the Bank of Montreal.
2002 - Alistair MacLeod B.A., B.Ed. (St. Francis Xavier Univ.), M.A. (Univ. of New Brunswick), Ph.D. (Univ. of Notre Dame), professor and award-winning author (e.g. - Island: The Collected Stories, 2000; No Great Mischief, 1999)
2003 - (dual awards) Alastair Gillespie, former Liberal Cabinet Minister & long-time Governor on the Scottish Studies Foundation. T.Iain Ronald, prominent executive in the financial and retail industries.
2004 - John McDermott emigrated to Canada with his parents in 1965, and produced a CD of Scottish and Irish songs for their 50th Anniversary. Subsequently, his rise to international fame as a Celtic Singer/Songwriter has been phenomenal.
2005 - Douglas M. Gibson, internationally acclaimed Canadian editor / publisher, president of McClelland & Stewart, Incorporated. He was raised in Dunlop, Scotland.
2006 - Hugh Boyle, now of Ottawa, founded Zoom Airlines in May 2002 with a team of travel and aviation experts. This Scottish-born entrepreneur and chairman hired Kristopher Dolinki, a former executive with his travel company in Scotland, to become Zoom's chief executive officer. Zoom's airfares include full meals with entertainment and they are one-way, enabling customers to fly into one destination and fly out of another at no additional cost, with no Saturday night stopovers or minimum/ maximum stay. Early flight bookings receive lower fares. [Boyle's Direct Holidays travel business, featuring low fares and direct-to-consumer sales, was a brand leader in the UK, capturing ten per cent of the British holiday market, before Boyle sold it to Airtours (Sunquest's parent company).]
2007 - Jean Watson of Pictou, Nova Scotia, as the "Mother of Tartan Day", was introduced by past Scot-of-the-Year Douglas M. Gibson. She received the award from last year's winner of the award, Hugh Boyle. Thanks to Jean's untiring efforts, Tartan Day is officially celebrated by persons of Scottish descent around the world.
2008 - Donald A. Stewart, born in 1946, holds a degree in Natural Philosophy from the University of Glasgow, graduating in 1968 with first class honours. Mr. Stewart joined the Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada in London, England in 1969. He emigrated to Montreal in 1972, after qualifying as a Fellow of the Institute of Actuaries. In 1974, Mr. Stewart left the Company to pursue a career in benefits consulting in Toronto. He returned in 1980 to lead the Canadian Group Retirement Services Division. From 1987 to 1992, Mr. Stewart held overall responsibility for Information Technology. He was appointed head of Sun Life Trust Company in September 1992. In 1996 he was appointed President & Chief Operating Officer, and in 1998, Chief Executive Officer. In March 2000, Mr. Stewart led the successful demutualization of Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada. He has since grown the parent company, Sun Life Financial Inc., through acquisitions in Canada, the United States and Hong Kong. Mr. Stewart is a director of the Canadian Life and Health Insurance Association, the American Council of Life Insurers, and a trustee of CI Financial Income Fund. Scottish Government Minister Linda Fabiani, MSP, Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture presented Donald with the Scottish Studies Society's 16th annual 'Scot of the Year' award.
2009 - Flora MacDonald was born in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, in 1927. She was MP for Kingston and the Islands for 16 years, through five elections, from 1972 to 1988, and served in three cabinet positions - - - secretary of state for external affairs, minister of employment and immigration and minister of communications. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada, a Companion of the Order of Canada, and a member of the Order of Ontario. She has received the Jordanian El Kawkab Medal by King Hussein for significant contribution to public service; the Pearson Peace Medal; the Churchill Society's award for Excellence in the Cause of Parliamentary Democracy; and was the first Canadian to receive the Padma Shri Award (India's highest award to civilians) from the President of India for distinguished service in the field of public affairs. She holds honorary degrees from universities in Canada, the United States and United Kingdom.
2010 - Richard Wernham B.A. LL.B has over twenty years’ experience in the global wealth management industry and was the founder and Chief Executive of Global Strategy Financial, one of Canada’s largest independent mutual fund companies. He is the Chairman of the Soutterham Group, a Special Lecturer in Law, Trinity College at the University of Toronto from 1977-1994 and remains active in the academic community holding appointments as Chair of the Board of Greenwood College School, as a Trustee and member of the Foundation’s Joint Foundation/School Strategic Planning Committee of Lakefield College School, and as a Chair of the Investment Committee for Upper Canada College. He has been a significant financial supporter of the academic community, and with his wife, Julia, funded the establishment of the Richard Wernham and Julia West Centre for Learning at Upper Canada College. Richard also co-founded Greenwood College School, a co-educational independent day school in Toronto. The Robert L. Payton Award 2010 was presented to Richard by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. He is a Governor of the Royal Ontario Museum. The award of "Scot of the year" is in recognition of his role in supporting cultural and educational activities in Canada.
2011 - Robert M. Buchan was born in Edinburgh and raised in Rosyth, Fyfe. He graduated in Mining Engineering and Mineral Economics, earning his B.Sc.(hons) at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, in 1969, and M.Sc. at Queen's University, Kingston, in 1971. He founded Kinross Gold in 1993 and continues his philanthropy and representation on numerous organizations and boards as the Director of the Buchan Family Foundation.
2012 - John Fraser attended Upper Canada College, received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Memorial University (Newfoundland) and a Master of Arts degree from the University of East Anglia (England). At 16, Fraser started summer work as a copy boy and junior reporter at the Toronto Telegram and in following summers was a journalist at the Sherbrooke Daily Record and the St. John's Evening Telegram. By 1971, he was music and dance critic for the Toronto Telegram and served briefly in the same position at the Toronto Sun. He has also written columns for the Toronto Star and the National Post. From 1972 to 1987, he held positions at The Globe and Mail. From 1987 to 1994, he was the editor of Saturday Night magazine. He has been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Time, The New Republic, George, The Spectator, Paris Match and the Far Eastern Economic Review. In 1974 he was instrumental in the dramatic defection of ballet super star Mikhail Baryshnikov, and in 1978 he addressed tens of thousands of citizens in Beijing during the short-lived and brutally suppressed Xidan Democracy Wall movement during the Beijing Spring. In 1995, Fraser was elected the master of Massey College and chair of its governing corporation for two seven year terms. He has taught university courses at York University (drama criticism) and the University of Toronto (Canadian culture, and the history of Canadian newspapers). Fraser has received honorary degrees from Memorial University of Newfoundland, King's College in Halifax, N.S., and York University in Toronto. He received Silver Jubilee 1977 and Golden Jubilee 2002 medals from the Queen. He has won three National Newspaper Awards, seven National Magazine Awards, and "Editor of the Year" from the Canadian Magazine Editors Society. His book, The Chinese: Portrait of a People was a Book-of-the-Month Club main choice in 1981 and nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award in non-fiction. A book on the American Ballet Theatre and Mikhail Baryshnikov, Private View, was a Book-of-the-Month Club alternate choice in 1989 and won a Dance Magazine "book of the year" award. In 2001, he was made a Member of the Order of Canada. [Fraser is married to Elizabeth MacCallum and has three daughters.]
Tartan Day is celebrated in Australia and New Zealand, but is held on July 1st each year for different reasons. The Act of July 1, 1782, repealed the Act of Proscription (1747) after Culloden, and the Scottish Parliament was restored on July 1, 1999. [Australia also became a Federation on July 1, 1901.]
Interestingly, it has not been celebrated in Scotland in like manner for the simple reason that the day is primarily for recognizing the contribution Scots have made elsewhere around the world.