Monday, January 24, 2011

The ineffable Shelagh Rogers . . .

Shelagh Heather Sutherland Rogers has her way with Our Hero.
If you feel a yen to visit Scotland, press the Scots tab above and follow the link to win a free trip around the Scottish Isles with Adventure Canada . . .

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Six minutes with Our Hero

This interview popped up out of CBC Calgary.
Those who crave a longer conversation (hi, Mom!) should tune in Monday to The Next Chapter, the Shelagh Rogers show on CBC Radio One (1 pm). Shelagh is arguably the best on-air interviewer in the country, and we covered a lot of ground.
For the rest, Our Hero has four day-time talks/lectures lined up in the Toronto area, three University of Toronto lectures at various campuses (Markham, Oakville, St. George), and one talk at the Toronto Reference Library (Feb. 8).
On January 30, we have dram-dispensing at the Adventure Canada polar bear dip. And evenings?
Feb. 10 is Booklovers Ball.
Feb. 12 is Manitoba Historical Society in Winnipeg,
Feb. 17 is St. Andrews Society of Toronto.
Feb. 19 is guest of honour at the Scottish Tartan Ball.


Meanwhile, in the Saint John Telegraph, the Scots have battled to the number two spot, behind only
William and Kate. Fight on, Craighellachie!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Robbie Burns saved!

All's well that ends well.
Click here to read a Fredericton Gleaner article about the salvation of Robbie Burns.
In part, it says . . ..

Mayor Brad Woodside on Monday night announced that J.K. and Jean Irving will underwrite the cost of the statue's restoration. The total cost will be between $106,559 and $120,000. There's a design contingency of $13,444 in the bid. The city is only contributing $39,000 to the rebuilding of the statue's base, out of a 2010 budget capital budget reserve carry over.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Robbie Burns inspires righteous double-whammy

The Fredericton Daily Gleaner is all over this story. . . and quite rightly.

City making 'grievous mistake' with statue
Daily Gleaner
Ken McGoogan of Toronto said he's shocked the city is refusing to fund the restoration of the statue's base along the banks of the St. John River near the ...
Funding refusal is a slap in the face
Daily Gleaner
By KEN McGOOGAN I was shocked to learn that the City of Fredericton is refusing to fund the restoration of its statue of Robbie Burns. ...
   

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Robbie Burns mistreated in Fredericton

Open Letter from Ken McGoogan, author of How the Scots Invented Canada

I was shocked to learn that the City of Fredericton is refusing to fund the restoration of its statue of Robbie Burns. I vividly remember that memorial from my sojourn in that city as writer-in-residence at the University of New Brunswick. I can’t help seeing this decision as a slap in the face to all those Scots who have played such a foundational role in the development of New Brunswick.  Having recently written and published How the Scots Invented Canada, I can tell you that people of Scottish heritage constitute 20 per cent of the province’s population (by the 2006 census, 142,560), and that they have made a formidable contribution.

I think of the Irving industrial empire, which is worth $8 or $9 billion. Founder Kenneth Colvin Irving was born in 1899 in Bouctouche, N.B., into a fourth-generation Canadian family of Scottish descent. I think of McCain Foods, the world’s largest producer of French fries and other frozen foods, which is based in Florenceville, N.B. Built by descendants of Ulster Scots, that company today has more than 20,000 employees at fifty-five production facilities. I think of Sobey’s, the second-largest food chain in Canada, which is connected to Scotland through Pictou, Nova Scotia, but has a notable presence throughout New Brunswick, including Fredericton.

I think of Max Aitken, Lord Beaverbrook, who played such a crucial role in winning the Second World War, and who is so closely connected with Fredericton. Yet another proud son of New Brunswick, David Adams Richards, probably went too far when he described Beaverbrook as “by far the most influential and important Canadian of the twentieth century.” But nobody would dispute, surely, that Beaverbrook – the son of a thundering Presbyterian minister -- is a major figure in the history of New Brunswick? And what about the Reverend James Somerville, a Scottish graduate of the University of Aberdeen, who held the first college classes in Fredericton in 1822, and did so much to spur the development of the University of New Brunswick. The list goes on and on.

The Fredericton statue of Robbie Burns, in addition to being of notable artistic merit, symbolizes the contribution of the Scots to the province of New Brunswick. The City has made a grievous mistake in refusing to restore it – a mistake that, if it is not rectified, will give Fredericton a black eye not just across the country, but around the world.

Monday, January 3, 2011

How the Scots hit the New Year running . . .

Monday, Jan. 24: With Robbie Burns Day looming, Our Hero chats about Scots with Sheila Rogers on The Next Chapter, CBC One, 1 p.m.
Tuesday, Feb. 8: Toronto Reference Library. 1-3 p.m
Saturday, Feb. 12: Winnipeg, Manitoba Historical Society. Featured speaker, 46th annual Sir John A. Macdonald dinner.
Thursday, Feb. 17. Markham. U of T Lecture Series. 1 p.m.
Thursday, Feb. 17. Toronto, St. Andrews Society. 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 19. Toronto, Royal Scottish Country Dance Society. Tartan Ball, guest of honour.
Wednesday, Feb. 23. Oakville. U of T Lecture Series. 1 p.m.
Friday, March 4. Toronto. U of T Lecture Series, 1 p.m.