Rambling around Scottish Highlands? Canada is always in your face

Here we have the church at Kildonan, Scotland, in the heart of the Highlands. Most of the Selkirk settlers who emigrated to the Red River Settlement in Canada in 1812 and 1813 had attended this church. Among those who sailed to Churchill, Manitoba, was George Bannerman, a great-grandfather of once-prime minister John Diefenbaker.  In 1968, Diefenbaker journeyed here and unveiled a plaque on the church in memory of Bannerman and “all the Selkirk settlers from Kildonan.” It’s a modest plaque on the wall to the right in this photo. And it is just one of many links connecting Scotland and Canada. Presto! Below we discover a second. In the early 1800s,

George Simpson, later the “little emperor” who served as governor of the Hudson’s Bay Company, went to school on the ground floor of this edifice in the heart of Dingwall. A bastard “both by birth and by persuasion,” as Peter C. Newman once observed, Simpson lived in the flat on the second floor with his uncle and his cousin, Thomas Simpson. After he grew up, Thomas joined his older cousin in the HBC, but then came to a bad end.  I’ve written about that here and there.

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