150 years of friendship between Scotland & Canada

Scottish Government presents commemorative gift.

A hand-carved stone sculpture featuring the ship that carried some of the first Scottish settlers to Canada is to be presented to the Canadian Government.

The gift, created by Historic Environment Scotland, marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation and the creation of modern day Canada.

It will be presented by Economy Secretary Keith Brown at a Scottish Government reception in Ottawa to mark the enduring friendship and cultural links between Scotland and Canada.

Crafted from a stone from the shores of Loch Broom, where Hector set sail for Nova Scotia in 1773, the gold-leaf sculpture features an etching of the 18th century ship. The timber base is made from a piece of recovered elm felled in the garden of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. The Gaelic text on the plaque translates into “Forever Friends”.

Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Jobs and Fair Work, Keith Brown, said:

“The 150th anniversary is an incredibly special year for Canadians. It is an event that symbolises what it means to be Canadian today and celebrates the proud diversity of the country.

“Scotland’s links with Canada endure for 150 years and more. It is a relationship marked by family links, a shared culture and collaboration across education and trade.

“This gift commemorates that historic friendship and celebrates the millions of people who share, and have shared, that special connection throughout the ages.

“The fantastic design also showcases modern Scotland’s artistic talent and craftsmanship. There are discussions underway about the piece being acquired by the Canadian Museum of History.”

Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Historic Environment Scotland said:

“We were delighted and honoured to be commissioned to produce this gift from Scotland to Canada. We are fortunate to have in-house specialists with the right blend of conservation craft skills capable of taking this project from design to completion.

“The finished stone is both beautiful and truly unique – a tangible piece of Scotland, which references and celebrates our shared heritage and cultural links.”


  • Today almost five million Canadians claim full or partial Scottish heritage – around 15% of the country's total population.
  • Scots were amongst the earliest settlers in Canada. Scottish settlers began to arrive as early as the 1600s, but it was the large waves of immigration between 1760 and 1860 that saw thousands of enterprising Scots move to Canada to start new lives and make their marks in the New World.
  • Hector sailed from Loch Broom, Scotland to Nova Scotia in 1773 with 189 Scottish settlers.
  • Early Scots in Canada established settlements, set up companies, built places of worship, and explored the country – playing crucial roles in the creation of the Canadian identity. Later, Scottish immigrants and their descendents became leading figures in politics, business, education.  Several of the driving forces behind the confederation movement itself were Scottish born or descended – including Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, and other ‘Fathers of Confederation’ George Brown and Alexander Tilloch Galt.
  • Although the 1867 Confederation in itself did not establish a fully independent Canadian nation, it began the process that ultimately led to Canada’s independence from Britain, and as such is regarded as the birth year of Canada.

  • The design of the sculpture uses Highland Clashach stone from their Elgin quarry. A rock from the shores of Loch Broom was hand selected, then polished and inset as the central focal point with an etched image of the Hector. This ancient rock would have been lying on the shore of Loch Broom when Hector set sail for Nova Scotia in 1773. The decorative stylised edge rope carving references both the Ship’s rigging and the strong physical and cultural bond that exists between Scotland and Canada. The Gaelic text on the plaque translates into “Forever Friends”. The timber base is made from a piece of recovered elm felled in the garden of The Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh - Her Majesty’s official Royal residence in Scotland. These elms were planted under the instruction of Prince Albert around 150 years ago.
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