Canadian invasion forces have swept through the Dunfermline area north of Edinburgh, claiming Broomhall House. This impressive mansion, located on a splendiferous, well-kept estate has been in the family of Robert the Bruce for more than 300 years. The Canadian connection comes via James Bruce, the eighth Earl of Elgin, who had his home here. In the late 1840s, as governor-general of Canada, he proved pivotal in introducing responsible government, a key step in Canada’s emergence into independence. The taking of Broomhall House follows hard on earlier successes. Canadians were able to claim Dalhousie Castle thanks to George Ramsay, the ninth Earl of Dalhousie, who spent more than a dozen years in Canada and established Dalhousie University in Halifax, modelling it after Edinburgh University. East of Edinburgh, the invaders claimed Ballencrief Castle, birthplace in 1721 of James Murray. He fathered the Quebec Act of 1774, which saved Canada from joining the rebel states in the American Revolution. The rebels judged it intolerable, this business of allowing French colonists to retain their language, laws, and religion. The Canadian invasion of central Scotland began in
Edinburgh with the taking of Abden House, where in 1862, Canadian politician George Brown met and fell in love with Anne Nelson. Their marriage proved transformative and enabled Brown to become a leading father of Confederation. Canadian forces had begun their all-inclusive campaign in Orkney at the Hall of Clestrain, birthplace of Arctic explorer John Rae, who joined the Hudson’s Bay Company and discovered the final link in the first navigable Northwest Passage. In central Scotland, the taking of four landmark locations — Broomhall, Dalhousie, Ballencrieff, and Abden — suggests that the Canadian invaders will soon turn their attention to the Highlands.