Stories of The Irish in Newfoundland, from St Brendan; to Shelia Nagueria, the Irish princess who settled in the Carbonear area in the first decade of the seventeenth century; Lord Falkland, the Lord Deputy of Ireland, who was planning to found a colony at Renews in 1623; and some local histories.

The Irish in Canada

[Shamrock] The Untold Story:
The Irish in Canada [Shamrock]  a definitive page

The Irish in Atlantic Canada Certainly the area with the largest concentration of Irish immigrants, both today and in the past, is the city of Saint John, New Brunswick. When it comes to Irish in North America, people generally think of Boston, but Saint John has as much, if not more, of a connection to Ireland as the Massachusetts city. Saint John was one of the primary ports where immigrants to the new world landed in North America. Starting around 1815, many Irish immigrants, mostly tradesman, came to the city and stayed there forming the backbone of the city's workforce.

Many Irish also found their way to the island provinces, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland. These two areas bore the most resemblance to Ireland, much of the coast-land of Newfoundland is similar to the Irish coast. Irish settlers found both provinces ideal for the kind of agriculture and fishery they were used to; even today these two provinces are Canada's largest producers of potatoes. And New Brunswick was not the only province that was referred by some as New Ireland. Because of Prince Edward Island's similarity to Ireland, it was suggested by many that it be called "New Ireland", but this effort did not succeed either.

Grosse Isle and the 
Irish Memorial National Historic Site commemorates three significant aspects of Canada's history: first, the importance of immigration to Canada, particularly through Quebec City, from the early 19th century until World War I; second, the tragedies of Irish immigrants, especially due to the 1847 typhus epidemic; and finally Grosse Isle's role from 1832 to 1937 as a quarantine station for the Port of Quebec, long the main point of arrival for immigrants coming to Canada.


Sir William Alexander. In 1621, King James granted Sir William territory between New England and Newfoundland as New Scotland (Nova Scotia). Nova Scotia First Scots in Acadia

David Thompson. The man who measured Canada ." Almost on his own, this prodigious explorer surveyed most of the Canadian-US border during the early days of the country. Covering 80,000 miles on foot, dog sled, horseback and canoe, 200 years ago, Thompson defined one-fifth of the North American continent."

Finnan Mor McDonald Finnan Mor or "the Great Redchief" as his Flathead companions called him, compare well with any of the American legends, but what he did , battling afoot on June 2, 1827 for his life against a bull bison, makes him, indisputably, the greatest frontiersman of them all. One writer, Rowland Bond claims that Finnan McDonald actually dismounted and ‘bulldogged’ the wounded animal making it the most astonishing version of the battle.

"While at this area, one of Prince Henry's loyal attendants by the name of Sir James Gunn, also from Scotland, died. In memory of the lost companion, the party carved a marker on the face of a stone ledge. It consisted of various sizes of punched holes, which depicted a Scottish knight, with a 39 inch long sword and shield bearing the Gunn Clan insignia. The punch-hole method of carving involved making a series of small impressions with a sharp tool, driven by a mallet. Where glacial scratches or rock colorations existed, they were incorporated into the man-made design. Some holes were larger and deeper than others, probably due to the dulling of the carver's tool and centuries of weathering. In the words of Frederick Pohl, 'the following are undeniably man-made workings: the pommel, handle, and guard of the sword; below the guard the break across the blade that is indicative of the death of the sword's owner; the crest above the pommel; a few holes at the sword's point; the punched-hole jess lines attached to the legs of the falcon; the bell-shaped hollows; the corner of the shield touching the pommel; the crescent on the shield; and the holes that form a decorative pattern on the pommel.' Now weatherworn and faint, one can see just enough of the carving to visualize the rest of it.

"Of course, there have been many investigations to verify the authenticity of this carving. There remains little doubt that this memorial is not a hoax, nor some Indian marking, but rather, the true monument created by Prince Henry Sinclair, nearly 600 years ago!"

Sinclair builds a 
Tower at Newport, which remains to this day. The Atlantic journey The Zeno narrative The Sinclair Voyage

The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada (31 Jan 1862)

The Royal Highland Fusiliers of Canada (14 Sep 1866)

The Lorne Scots (Peel, Dufferin and Halton Regiment) (14 Sep 1866)

The Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry Highlanders (03 Jul 1868)

1st Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (North) (10 Sep 1869)

2nd Battalion, The Nova Scotia Highlanders (Cape Breton) (13 Oct 1871)

The Cameron Highlanders of Ottawa (05 Aug 1881)

The Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment (12 Jun 1885)

48th Highlanders of Canada (16 Oct 1891)

The Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise's) (01 Sep 1903)

The Lake Superior Scottish Regiment (03 Jul 1905)

The Queen's Own Cameron Highlanders of Canada (01 Feb 1910)

The Calgary Highlanders (01 Apr 1910)

The Seaforth Highlanders of Canada (24 Nov 1910)

The Canadian Scottish Regiment (Princess Mary's) (03 Sep 1912)

New World Celts Logos designed and copyrighted by Michael S. Dunlap trademarks applied for. Copyright 2000-2010 NWC, Inc.

The NWC is an all-inclusive 501 (c) (3) charitable benevolent society. The New World Celts is not to be confused with, nor to be associated with and never will be associated with any racist organization. We are very proud of our members of Celtic heritage and equally proud of our members of Native American, African and Asian heritage. We disavow wholeheartedly any connection with or attempts by any racist organization to link themselves to us via the internet or by using our name or symbols to further their own cause. We are very proud to be Americans, Australians, Canadians, and New Zealanders and as such, aspire to the golden ideals of ancient Celts: that all are equals.

"Children of the Gael died in their thousands on this
island having fled from the laws of foreign tyrants
and artificial famine in the years 1847-48.

God's blessing on them. Let this monument
be a token to their name and honor from the
Gaels of America.

God Save Ireland."

(inscribed in the Gaelic on the above memorial...this English translation is markedly softened)

From the
 Irish in Canada by Gail Walsh- Read the Journal of Gerald Keegan, a fascinating story of an Irishman and his family's trials as they, having no real choice, left Ireland, their voyage to Canada, and the heartrending conditions on Grosse Isle....The Irish Holocaust...submitted by Emmit Bondurant.

Alexander McDonell was born in Glengarry, Scotland, in 1762. After ordination at Valladolid, his life was devoted to his Gaelic kinsmen in Lochaber and Canada. When they were evicted in 1792 he led them to Glasgow and later formed them into a British regiment, the Glengarry Fencibles, being himself appointed their chaplain, the first Catholic British Army chaplain in centuries. When the regiment was disbanded Father Macdonell appealed to the government to grant its members a tract of land in Canada, and in 1804 160,000 acres (650 km²) were provided in what is now Glengarry county, Canada. Father Macdonell accompanied his clan, founded churches and schools and organized the settlement. In 1812 he raised another regiment, the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles which went to the defense of Upper Canada. In 1819 he was made vicar Apostolic of Upper Canada, which in 1826 was erected into a bishopric. Five years later he was appointed to the legislative council. He founded a seminary at Saint Raphael's and a college at Kingston, and by his zealous labors merited the title of Apostle of Ontario. (from wikipaedia)

General Influence

Scots in New Scotland Clan MacKay's site regarding Scots in New Scotland (Nova Scotia) Nova Scotia History

Prince Edward Island Prince Edward Island’s Celtic heritage is still very much alive, underlying many tourism and holiday-related events. This significant presence is due in large part to the fact that, in the early nineteenth century, people of Scottish origin comprised the vast majority of the colony’s population.

from Abraham Martin (Heights of Abraham); The Fraser highlanders in Quebec; The Glengarry Settlement; The Perth settlement; the Lanark and MacNab settlements; The Huron and Bruce settlements;  Sir Richard McBride; and others.Scots in Canada3

Canadian Scottish History1

Canadian Scottish history2

Canadian-Scot index

Cape Breton During the period 1775 - 1850, some twenty-five thousand Gaelic-speaking Scots from every region of the Highlands and Islands established thriving pioneer communities throughout Cape Breton and Eastern Nova Scotia.

Nation Building


Sir John MacDonald , a Glasgow-born Scot, was Canada's first prime Minister, one of the Fathers of Confederation and credited with the creation of the Dominion of Canada. In other words: "the Father of Canada". MacDonald, Sir John Alexander History of Canada Dominion of Canada Sir John Memorial page

Alexander Mackenzie, 1822-1892 a Perthshire-born Scot, second Prime Minister of Canada

Alexander Mackenzie, 1764-1820 Lewis-born Scot explorer who was the first to trace a route across North America in 1793

Alexander MacKinnon Burgess Ottawa, Deputy Minister of the Interior of Canada, was born on the 21st of October, 1850, at Strathspey, Inverness-shire, Scotland. He is a son of John Burgess, by Ann Davidson, nee Mackinnon.

Thomas D'Arcy McGee: Irish Founder of the Canadian Nation

Sir Guy Carleton ,born at Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland. He entered the British military as a young man and saw action in Europe as well as North America. He became the Governor of Quebec in 1767 and eventually entered the peerage as Lord Dorchester.

Thomas Carleton, Colonel ,brother of Sir Guy Carleton, he was born in 1735 in north of Ireland. In 1776 he came to Canada and was appointed the first Governor of New Brunswick in 1784.

Sir Adams George Archibald ,born in Truro, Nova Scotia, descended from Ulster-Scots who moved from Londonderry, Ireland to Londonderry, New Hampshire and then who in 1762 came to Nova Scotia. He was a delegate to the Charlottetown, Quebec, and London conferences that created Canada in 1867. Later he was the first Lieutenant - Governor of the Province of Manitoba and then Lieutenant - Governor of the Province of Nova Scotia.

Reverend William McMurray, born near Portadown, County Armagh, Ireland in 1810 and brought to Canada following year with parents. He trained as a missionary and became Rector of Ancaster, Rural Deacon of Lincoln and Welland in Ontario and Archdeacon of Diocese of Niagara. He was a member of the Council of Trinity College, Toronto and on visiting England the Archbishop of Canterbury bestowed on him the honor of special preacher at the services under the Dome of St. Paul's.

Hon. William McMaster ,born in 1811 in County Tyrone, Ireland and came to Canada in 1833. He established successful dry goods business in Toronto and then became a Director of the Ontario Bank and the Bank of Montreal. He was the founder of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. He was a member of the legislature and after confederation in 1867 was chosen a Senator to represent Ontario. He also became treasurer of the Upper Canada Bible Society.

James Baird Anderson, born in Belfast, Ireland in 1812 and came to Saint John, New Brunswick in 1840 where he was a prosperous merchant for 25 years before retiring. For many years he was also connected with the Saint John Mutual Fire Insurance Company. and was made a Justice of the Peace in 1865.

Reverend James Bennet ,born in Lisburn, County Down in 1817 and finished his education at the Royal Academical Institution, Belfast. He was ordained to the charge of a church in County Armagh. In 1854 he moved to Canada to became Minister of the Saint John Presbyterian Church in Saint John, New Brunswick. He was also editor of a church magazine called the "Canada Presbyterian".

John George Bowes, M.P.P. born at Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland in 1812. He came to Canada in 1833 and was elected Mayor of Toronto from 1851-3, also Member of the Provincial Parliament for Toronto from 1854-8.

Dr. John Gardner Robb ,born in Belfast, Ireland in 1833 and educated at Royal Belfast Academical Institution and at the Queen's College. He was licensed to preach the gospel by the Presbytery of Belfast in 1857 and in 1874 came to Canada as Minister to Cooke's Presbyterian Church in Toronto. He became known as the "Champion of Evangelical Protestantism".

Timothy Eaton, born in Clogher, County Armagh, Ireland in 1834. He left Ireland for Canada in 1854 and was the founder of the T. Eaton Company Limited in Toronto which became Canada's largest merchandising retailer with stores across the country.

Sir Sam Hughes, M.P. ,born in Darlington Township, Ontario in 1853 and son of John Hughes of Finton, County Tyrone, Ireland. He was elected Member of Parliament for Victoria County, Ontario from 1892 - 1921. Also was Minister of Militia at start of WWI and a prominent Orangeman.

Adam Crosby, M.P. ,born in Belfast, Ireland in 1859. He came to Canada was was elected Mayor of Halifax, Nova Scotia from 1902-4 and Member of Parliament for Halifax in 1908.

Edward Frederick Clarke, M.P./M.P.P. ,born at Bailieboro, County Cavan, Ireland and came to Canada in the 1860s. He was Mayor of Toronto from 1888-91, Member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario from 1886-94 and Federal Member of Parliament for Toronto West from 1896-1905.

Alan Blakeney born in Bridgewater, Nova Scotia, descended from Ulster-Scots who settled in South Carolina, USA and moved north to Nova Scotia. He became leader of the provincial New Democratic Party of Saskatchewan in 1971 and Premier of the province serving until 1982.

William Mackenzie King, 1874-1950 Three -time Prime minister who was very proud of his Scottish background

The Fenian Invasions of Canada Four separate invasions of Canada by pro-Irish Americans in 1866-1871 in an attempt to hold Canada hostage for Ireland's freedom. Fenianism Fenian raid into Canada Irish Invasion

Robert Hill Hanna, V.C. born at Aughnahoory, Kilkeel, County Down, Ireland in 1887. He came to Canada in 1905 and enlisted in the Canadian Army in 1914. Three years later while serving at Lens, France, he was awarded the Victoria Cross for capturing an enemy position and saving the lives of his fellow soldiers. He was also an Orangeman, having joined Loyal Orange Lodge # 2226 in British Columbia prior to WWI.


The Scottish Military Tradition in Canada

Regiments bearing Scottish names, their ranks filled with men wearing the "bonnet, kilt, and feather" have played an important part in Canadian military history whether they fought as Scots in the British army with Wolfe, Amherst and Carleton in the 1750's through to the American Revolution, or as Scottish Canadians in defense of their own country. The post-WW2 period to the present day has seen many reorganizations and amalgamations of Scottish militia units until now only 14 proud regiments remain on the Canadian Army List. They are, in order of precedence:

Alexander Milton Ross For decades, millions of enslaved Americans thought of Canada as the Promised Land. The Underground Railroad, a clandestine organization of routes and safe houses run by hundreds of courageous people, brought tens of thousands of fugitive slaves to freedom. One of the courageous people, Alexander Milton Ross, was a Canadian from Belleville. Dr. Ross traveled extensively through the deep south during the 1850's using his international reputation as an ornithologist to gain access to many plantations where he secretly held meetings to organize and facilitate the escape of hundreds of enslaved people. His friendship with such famous abolitionists as Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass and John Brown  is part of the story of the Underground Railroad.


Prince Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney leads the last Norse-Celtic Atlantic Expedition, landing in New England in 1396, almost one hundred years before Columbus. Affiliated with the legendary Knights Templar, stories persist that St Clair buried remarkable treasures on Oak Island, Nova Scotia, possibly the Grail itself. He landed at Chedabucto Bay, Nova Scotia, June 2 1398. In that same year, shipmate Sir John Gunn died in Massachusetts, where his rockcut memorial and arms may still be seen.