By Frédérique Mayer, first year student
Once upon a time, the English and the Scots came here
Once upon a time, the English and the Scots came here. Here, it’s Montreal. The English were the first, actually. Did you know that today’s institutions like private schools or Anglican Church come from them? The Scots have also influenced a lot our society, either back in the XVIII century or now. It’s thanks to them (and others) that we have MgGill University, Royal Montreal Curling Club and Royal Montreal Golf Club (the firsts in North America).
The short story of the English
They either came here directly from England or through American colonies, from rural and urban areas, for economic or political reasons (like the offer of free land). In Quebec, there were enclaves in Montreal and eastern townships. They tended to become assimilate less quickly, of course because they didn’t speak or understand the language of the people, the French (as a first reason). The biggest waves of immigration from England were between 1867 and the 1920s, when children were given free passage to Canada, between 1890 and 1914, for the Prairie provinces and between 1947 and 1967, so they can find jobs. Today, our parliamentary system is based on the British Cabinet system and the English Common Law is still applied today.
…And the Scots!
Scots didn’t arrive before the Conquest, or Seven Years’ War, in 1759. They formed the North West Company to compete with the Hudson’s Bay Company and took over the control of fur trade. Then they merged and formed partnerships. Like today, Scots were usually very educated people, so there was even a surplus of engineers, doctors and entrepreneurs in Scotland. That’s one of the reasons why they came in Canada, with the British, who had the capital.
What about today?
Today, Scots are a little bit like Quebecers in Canada: They don’t feel that they fit in so much, not sure if they still want to be part of United Kingdom or not. They always perceived themselves as superior to other British groups.
To learn more, watch this video: