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"This is my country,
The land that begat me,
These windy spaces
Are surely my own.
and those who toil here
In the sweat of their faces
Are flesh of my flesh
And bone of my bone."
~ Sir Alexander Gray
|"No Shoes, No Kilt, No Service"
Scottish culture and tradition is so ingrained in the roots of the Windsor-Essex region that it has become easy to overlook. Scots
have been settling in this region since France ceded its North American territories to Britain in the mid-eighteenth century. They
were fur traders, taming the wilderness of the Detroit frontier; they were explorers, marching deep into the dense forests of this
peninsula; they were merchants and businessmen and politicians and farmers, and their legacy is the city of Windsor that you see
Pay attention to the street signs the next time you're driving in the downtown core of Windsor. The city's Scottish heritage is
revealed through the names of its streets: McDougall, McEwan,
Cameron - these roads were built by the families that (literally) laid the foundations
of the city. Roads like Bruce, Glengarry, Braemar, Edinborough, Argyle, and Lochmoor were "named by homesick settlers wishing to have
some tie with familiar names," and reflect the instincts of the early Scottish pioneers "to surround themselves with names so
familiar to their lives in Scotland."
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It's easy for visitors, or even life-long residents, to miss Windsor's Scottish undertones. Except for the pipe bands in parades,
men don't gather together in their tartan kilts; few restaurants (aside from the Kildare House at 1880 Wyandotte Street) serve
haggis with neeps and tatties; and souvenir shops have stopped carrying tartan products, favouring instead knick-knacks featuring
maple leaves or beavers in Mountie uniforms. But the fact that the Scottish tradition isn't in-your-face just means you have
to dig a little deeper to unearth it: Windsor owes its very name to an immigrant from Paisley; its hallmark department store was
founded and run by Scotsmen; a disproportionate amount of its local politicians were Scottish-born or of Scottish descent; and even
its soldiers marched into the bloody battles of the First and Second World Wars accompanied by the rousing tunes of the Great
Among the pages of this website, you'll uncover Windsor's Scottish heritage (and Canada's too), and you'll learn why people of
Scottish descent are always so fiercely proud of their ancestry.
|"Flow gently, sweet Afton, among thy green braes,|
Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise;
My Mary's asleep by thy murmuring stream,
Flow gently, sweet Afton, disturb not her dream."
~ Robert Burns ["Afton Water"]
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- Aitchison, George, "Family Names Kept Alive," Windsor Daily Star, 1 August 1942