MHS Centennial Organization: St. Andrew’s Society of Winnipeg
It is unquestionable that Canadians of Scottish descent have made incredibly important contributions to the development of Manitoba’s character starting with the Orcadian employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company who arrived on ships at York Factory in the 17th and 18th centuries. And, of course, we cannot forget the Selkirk Settlers who arrived on the banks of the Red River in 1812. Throughout the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries, numerous Scottish immigrants have chosen Manitoba as their homes.
In 1871, just one year after Manitoba joined Confederation, a group of these Scottish expatriates under President Donald A. Smith, formed the Selkirk St. Andrew’s Society of Manitoba. It gained formal recognition by the Manitoba Legislature in March 1896 as the St. Andrew’s Society of Winnipeg. Its membership list is a veritable Who’s Who of Manitoba society, including premiers, senators, MPs, MLA, mayors, city councillors, chief constables, and numerous members of the military, business community, academia, judiciary, the clergy, the arts, and professions. And their names live on today in the names of numerous Winnipeg city streets, such as Smith, Donald, Bannatyne, Taylor, Emslie, and McMicken.
The Society’s fundamental purpose is to preserve and promote Scottish culture in Manitoba and, secondarily, to promote recognition of the historic contribution of Scots and those of Scottish descent to the building of Manitoba. Among the groups’ annual events are the St. Andrew’s Day Dinner, a Selkirk Settlers Fall Commemorative, a New Year’s Levee, and an annual golf tournament. It provides annual grants in support of the St. Andrew’s Society Pipe Band and other Scottish cultural and dance groups and pipe bands. Special projects have included the erection of the Fort Douglas Cairn and the Scots Thistle Monument on Waterfront Drive in Winnipeg.
In 2015, the Society began accepting female members for the first time in its history.
An MHS Centennial Organization Award was presented by Gordon Goldsborough to Mr. Tim Flook, President of the St. Andrew’s Society of Winnipeg, on 19 April 2009.
We thank John Perrin, Robyn McCombe, and Colin T. Harris for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 4 March 2020