A Scattering of Seeds: The Creation of Canada
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A LAND AS GREEN AS THE SEA
Immigration History
Legacy

Scottish communities pocketed across Canada remained for many years as distinctive ethnic enclaves that preserved their Highland heritage. It was largely because of their influence that the preponderant culture in Canada was British, rather than English. Distinctive Scottish influences can be found in Canadian education and moral attitudes such as observing the Sabbath Sunday with no work or play, and Temperance(9).

Over the generations, however, the Scots have become increasingly assimilated into Canadian society. The Scots have nevertheless preserved certain aspects of their heritage, focussing on a few highly visible symbols of their origins, such as clans, tartans, bagpipes and Highland dancing. The number of Gaelic speakers has declined in Canada, as well as in Scotland. Only a few thousand people, mainly in Cape Breton, keep the language alive in Canada(10).

Scots were highly visible in early Canadian business and politics. Scots dominated the fur trade, the timber trade, banking and railway management. The first two Canadian prime ministers, Sir John A. MacDonald and Alexander Mackenzie, were both born in Scotland. As was Canada's # prime minister, William Lyon Mackenzie King(11).

Scots have been also involved in Canada's development as explorers, writers, academics and artists. Among them are Harold Innis, Blair Fraser, Norman Bethune, Farley Mowat, Douglas Campbell and Norman McLaren(12).

And Gertrude Hogg and Arthur Balmer-Watt must be included in these ranks. They settled in Edmonton, Alberta - a society of newcomers - and quickly made a contribution to the young community. The first year there, Gertrude published a book of her experiences entitled "A Woman in the West." And soon after the couple set up a weekly newspaper, the Saturday News. After a while they got ambitious and started a daily, The Capitol, but the city was too small and the papers went bankrupt. Arthur Balmer-Watt went to work for the larger newspaper chain that had put him out of business. It was later, as the editor of the Edmonton Journal, that Arthur would challenge the press censorship law of William Aberhart, the Social Credit premier of Alberta. Aberhart threatened to throw Arthur in jail. Once again, the family could have lost everything. But Arthur Balmer-Watt stood his ground and in 1938 the paper was awarded the first Pulitzer Prize ever given outside the United States(13).

Endnotes:
1-13 - The 1998 Canadian & World Encyclopedia
(McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, 1998).

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