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Remembering our Scottish roots
by Maria Thompson

James Thompson, President of the Caledonian Society of Restigouche, is passionate about promoting Scottish culture in Northern New Brunswick. His most recent undertaking is to launch a fund-raising campaign to erect a monument in memory of the original Scottish settlers to the region.

In researching his ancestors Mr. Thompson has discovered that a large number of settlers arrived in the region as a result of the Arran Clearances of 1829-1840. This was an expulsion of Scottish farmers from the Isle of Arran in Scotland. The Duke of Hamilton merged their smaller farms to create larger units and displaced many families. They came to Canada in boatloads, the largest group of more than 400 landing in Dalhousie, NB to be pioneer settlers of the Restigouche- Bay Chaleur District.

Monuments marking the experiences of such displaced peoples have been erected elsewhere, such as in Megantic County, Quebec, and Lamlash on the Isle of Arran, Scotland (raised in 1977 with the help of the Caledonian Society of Restigouche). In 2007 a sculpture called The Emigrants was forged in Helmsdale, Sutherland, Scotland and duplicated in Winnigpeg, Manitoba in honour of similar Highland Clearances.

Mr. Thompson has contacted the Scottish foundry who cast the two Emigrant monuments, Black Isle Bronze, with the hopes of having a reproduction made to be erected in Campbellton. Anyone interested in supporting this venture is invited to contact James at (506) 789-1586 or email

Scottish Clearance Monument (General Shape)

The monument uses the most universally recognized Scottish National symbol, the St. Andrews cross as the predominate shape of the work. This cross can be seen from both sides of the monument for miles away. The Cross should be created in a stainless steel . This will capture light and reflect light and make for a brilliant beacon on the water’s edge. This will be the largest Scottish Cross in Canada.

The monument has two sides and is like two sculptures, the one side will show the Scottish people coming off the ship into the new world, the other shows the empty Scottish landscape, now void of all people that they left.

The figures coming off the ship will give the viewer a sense of the historical event. Unlike most monuments that show one or two figures representing hundreds, this monument will have approximately 400 figures worked within the piece. With this number of figures, the epic sense of the event is instantly visually revealed. Also the opportunity to tell 400 different stories within the expressions of the faces. I will create fearless young men, tire old men, children crying, pregnant women, bag pipers, sad girls already missing their homeland, etc.; all with authentic garb and gestures and expressions that will reflect the historic event with authenticity. The other side will show the still landscape of the home that was left behind, which to this day is sparse with people. The bottom space provided by the St. Andrews Cross will act as a triangular shape doorway in a sense that will lead back to the area in Scotland. It will be a beautiful empty landscape with the stone where houses used to be, heavy clouds, a few sheep , a landscape that will give a sense of loss and emptiness.

Both the landscape and the figures will be created out of bronze, the only permanent material that can capture all the detail. The figures at the bottom of the monument should be at life-size.

This monument will indeed become a tourist destination.

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