Canada Day: Scotland’s strong and enduring friendship with Canada

July 1, 2017 by No Comments | Category International

I am proud to highlight the strong and enduring friendship between Scotland and Canada as we mark the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation today (1st July) and as Scotland prepares to welcome Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Edinburgh next week. Canada has always been one of our key cultural and business partners: threads of Scottish influence are woven through the fabric of Canadian society and Scotland has in turn been shaped by Canada, as seen in the contribution of the vibrant Scottish diaspora in celebrating the traditions and languages of Scotland. This year’s anniversary represents an excellent opportunity for our two countries to strengthen our business and cultural relationships and fruitfully build on recent exchanges in areas as diverse as social enterprise, technology development, energy, education, tourism and many others.

With its long-standing reputation for openness and multiculturalism, Canada shares many of the values Scotland holds dear. Our histories are deeply intertwined and our economic, education, trade and cultural links provide a firm foundation for the continuation of fruitful exchange in the years to come.

Canada has always attracted large numbers of Scots who, as early as in 1010 AD, were among the first to make their way to the Great White North and establish their first settlements in what later became Nova Scotia. Here, the Scottish influence is still noticeable to this day – with Glasgow-born lawyer John Macdonald and Scots-born Canadian George Brown still praised as the main Fathers of the Canadian Confederation.

To date, Scots and Scotland continue to contribute much to the culturally energetic, economic success story that is modern Canada. Of the many Highland Scots who emigrated overseas, a huge proportion ended up in Canada, where they took pride in their Scottish and Canadian identity and positively influenced Canada’s cultural life. To this day, the Highland Games, pipe band shows and rugby remain popular.

Scots and Canadians alike are proud of the shared heritage and cultural connections which support tourism to thrive on both sides of the Atlantic. Artists from Canada frequently showcase their work at our world famous festivals.

During this, the 70th year since the Edinburgh Festivals were founded, our cultural ties with Canada will be well represented. The introduction of ‘CanadaHub’, the main centre for Canadian performers in Scotland during the Edinburgh Festivals, will help us build further on the cultural relationship between our two countries and highlight our work to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. I am delighted that Creative Scotland is planning to host a joint reception this summer with the High Commission of Canada | Haut-commissariat du Canada to celebrate the relationship between Canada and Scotland, and look forward to seeing joint initiatives emerge across the arts, screen and creative industries.

The Scottish Government  plans to mark this important anniversary with a series of events.

In August I will visit CanadaHub, where I will meet key representatives of Canada’s cultural sector. My ministerial colleagues and I are planning to welcome friends from Canada to events being held throughout our festivals this year. In particular, the First Minister and I are looking forward to welcoming the Canadian High Commissioner Janice Charette to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo.

In the autumn, the Scottish Government will host events in Canada to celebrate the anniversary with the Scottish diaspora and other friends. My colleague Keith Brown, Cabinet Secretary for the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, will undertake a number of engagements to strengthen the strong partnerships between Scotland and Canada in line with the refreshed Canada Engagement Strategy that we published in December last year. In addition, we are also working with Historic Environment Scotland on plans for a formal gift to mark this year’s anniversary, which will strongly reflect the ties between our two countries in the context of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.

During the 150th anniversary year, we’re also planning to highlight Scotland’s role in Canada’s history and modern day society on our online channels. Watch this space for profiles of Scots who have been influential in the founding and development of Canada.

With our shared history, joint business endeavours and mutual love of culture, sport and common heritage, I am confident that our two great nations will continue to enjoy a close bond for centuries to come.

Watch the First Minister’s video message.

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