International tapestry project celebrates P.E.I.’s Scottish roots
Published Saturday, October 15, 2016 3:14PM ADT
From the Cape Breton Highlands, to northern New Brunswick, thousands of families’ ancestors first arrived in the Maritimes from Scotland.
Many people on Prince Edward Island can trace their lineage back to the Glenaladalesettlers, who landed on the island in 1772. Now, Islanders of Scottish descent have joined an international tapestry project honouring their heritage.
More than 1000 stitchers worldwide have contributed to 305 panels of the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry, which was inspired, in part, by the French Bayeux tapestry.
It took 43 stitchers in P.E.I. two and a half months to finish the stitching of five intricately stitched panels. They say many long nights of work gave them a chance to reflect on the voyages of their ancestors.
“It was a means of honouring our ancestors,” says Mary Gallant of the P.E.I. Scottish Settlers Historical Society. “You reflect on what it was like for them. They came here for a better life, which we are the ones that are enjoying that now.”
The five island-made panels have been touring the world for two years, and made its first visit to Charlottetown this week.
Each panel tells a story of the impact of the Scottish people, from Canada’s confederation, to John McCrae’s famous poem, In Flanders Fields.
“This is a very, very unique project, as communities throughout the world have actually developed a kinship together,” says the tapestry’s tour director Jenny Bruce. “This is a history that has been forgotten, how Scots had taken this entrepreneurial, enterprising adventure and made good with it, and made a good life for themselves.”
Scottish families from Europe and Australia plan to fly in for the exhibit early next week. Then the tapestry moves on to Nova Scotia, before returning to Europe.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Cami Kepke.