Canada Gathering 2019
Time & Location
About the Event
What a glorious and fun week we had in ONTARIO blessed with perfect walking about weather, and inside when some rain came. Our first venue was the NIAGARA area, visiting The Falls, Niagara Village and DUNDERN CASTLE. The castle, more of a 40 room grand manor house of 18,000 sq.ft. built in 1835 by Sir Allen Napier MacNab who became the first Governor of all Canada. We were treated so well and the docents were very knowledgeable not only about the castle and its grounds but Allen MacNab's history and accomplishments. Black Walnut carved staircases and banisters and innovations such as gas lights, indoor water closets and piped in hot water. We viewed the gardens and MacNabs own Innis Bhuidhe where he was originally buried but later removed and re-buried between his two wives. The entire visit was highly entertaining and educating.
Day two was mainly a travel day up to the ARNPRIOR area. Quite a few of us stopped on the way to visit Historic Kingston, also known as the limestone city on Lake Ontario. A lovely town and the site of one of Canada's premier universities. That evening we had an informal gathering in CALABOGIE at the Redneck Cafe. Next day we gathered at WABA COTTAGE MUSEUM & GARDENS in the township of MCNAB/BRAESIDE, WHITE LAKE where we were treated to a most of the day program organized by the Parks Council of the township. A cordial welcome from Tom Peckett, the Mayor and Geoff Patterson of the Parks Department preceeded by a short march lead by a very good piper to a presentation of hand woven Macnab tartan scarves. The weaver, a local man was on hand to demonstrate his craft and several of us ordered additional weavings. The old pump organ in the church was cranked up for us for the first time in fifteen years and we participated in sing along gospel songs. An additional welcome was provided by a talented muscian, singing and playing moving Scottish songs on his harmonica/ piano. We were encouraged to take a boat ride on the lake in a boat provided by the Parks Council. After lunch Jim Austin a local historian gave a talk on local history evolving around ARCHIBOLD and the MacNab Settlement. We ended the day with a visit to White Lake Cemetary just a mile away which holds a number of MacNab and related graves.
That evening we held a dinner at the Calabogie Hotel with a few speeches and a presentation by our own Loraine Smith on ARCHIBALD,17th chief which differed slightly from Jim Austins view - very interesting and a lot to think about.
A delightful Macnab dinner and gathering.
On Saturday morning The Arnprior Museum, where a number of Archibalds artifacts are prominently displayed, opened early to accommodate us. Then The Curator Janet Carlisle escorted us on a walking tour of the nearby local cemetery which sits on the confluence of the Ottawa and Madawaska Rivers and holds many Macnab and Macnab related graves plus the site adjacent where Archibold's house (Kinnell) once stood.
Basically this concluded our planned activities. Many thanks to Oran and Brittney for their organizational work particularly in respect to Dundern Castle and to my daughter Kate Roberson with regard to Waba and Calabogie.
The 'longest distance traveled award' goes to Peter & Gail McNabb from Melbourne, Australia. They also encouraged almost a dozen of their local relatives to attend one or both venues. Our grand Chief Jamie Macnab of Macnab or just 'The Macnab' was given a special welcome wherever he went. A docent at Dundern Castle told my wife how delighted he had been to be chosen over many other docents to 'tour' our chief and actually meet him. The same docent was quick to point out that our group was better informed than most visitors, plus asked more questions. At Waba Cottage the Mayor commiserated with me about Jamie not being able to attend, when I told him that Jamie was right there and pointed him out across the grounds he his face lit up and off he went to welcome and be introduced.
As you can see from the above we had a great time in Canada both from a historical and entertainment perspective. If you originally thought you might attend but for various reasons canceled - you missed a great time.