MONTREAL TO HOST THE SCOTTISH DIASPORA TAPESTRY
Scotland’s contribution to the world comes to Montreal
The St. Andrew’s Society of Montreal hosted the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry at the Atwater Library and Computer Centre in November 2016.
The tapestry is composed of 300 panels stitched by volunteers from around the world with Scottish roots to show some aspect of their new countries and the Scots influence there.
For Montreal, Moira-Barclay-Fernie and Suni Hope-Johnston spent hundreds of hours stitching a panel to represent the Scottish history of Montreal. It includes the themes of McGill University, the Bank of Montreal, the fur traders, the first Presbyterian Church, the railway and steam ship systems - all so important to Canada’s development.
You are invited to learn of this history in a rather unique way - through a hand stitched tapestry.
The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry
The Montreal panel of this tapestry was embroidered by Moira Barclay-Fernie, Past President of the Society, and Suni Hope-Johnston, member, and sent to Scotland in good time to be steamed and stretched ready for display with the other almost 300 panels from 33 countries across the globe of which Canada and Australia completed the most panels. Mr. Bruce Bolton, another Past Present of the Society, was responsible for producing and organising the images which have been incorporated in the Montreal panel. The Diaspora Tapestry was, and is, intended to tell the Diaspora’s tales back to Scotland so that those in Scotland will be better informed and educated about Scotland’s contribution to many other countries around the globe. The eventual home for the completed tapestry will be in Prestonpans where it was created through the dedication and kindness of so many embroiders, some far and others near.
The tapestry’s eventual home will almost certainly display the exhibition by what is termed a “Cluster, i.e. the seven geographical groups in which we are displaying it. We will do it sequentially at the Prestongrange arts hub, a beautiful arts and crafts building from 1908. However, those involved in this tapestry project know from experience that artwork is best loved and seen if it tours as widely and as much as possible and this is the plan for the next 3/5 years of its destiny. Once back in Scotland for permanent residence, it will still be toured to schools and exhibitions across the nation. The permanent home arrangements are estimated in the order of $300,000 at this juncture, i.e. not having a separate building but requiring considerable preservation and interpretation. However, the immediate planning is to tour the Diaspora in areas which contributed panels and, now having toured England, the organising team will embark to the Baltic and Western Europe from March/November 2015 then to Australia/New Zealand then over to USA/Canada by early summer 2016. The group organising the display has invited The St. Andrew’s Society to host an exhibition of the tapestry in Montreal - not just a few panels but all 300 panels! The Council has agreed in principle to set up a group to look into the logistics of hosting this exhibition and hopefully many in the Society will help in different ways to make this very special event a success. Scots in Montreal have much to be proud of in what they took to their new homeland. With the exhibition of The Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, those who view it around the world, as well as those in Montreal, will be much more aware of the great contribution that Scots have made where-ever they have settled worldwide.