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An elderly lady with a strong Scottish accent told Bruce a "Burns Supper" story some years ago...

I was a teenager of decided opinion on proper behaviour [seems odd, but please go on...] When my father asked if I was going to the Burns Supper, I launched "Absolutely not! Burns was an immoral man!" My father then exploded "Young lady, SIT DOWN and listen! Robert Burns lived in immoral times."

For a description of those "immoral times", please order a copy of the McCowan Society's "Fairs and Frolics: Scottish Communities at Work and Play".

Please send us your Burns Supper stories


Newsflash!
Now Available from The McCowan Society...

"The Lowland Clearances": The Book, by Peter Aitchison and Andrew Cassell -- more of the data that was gathered for the acclaimed three-part BBC Radio Scotland Series -- Including interviews with descendants of Scarborough's Scottish families (Tuckwell Press) $29.00. Order a copy...

This publication is a followup to the BBC-Radio Scotland series this past spring. The McCowan Society was pleased to help with this exciting investigation into a little-known socio-economic disruption in Scotland.


The Rise and Fall of a Small Tenant Farmer
Robert Burns

The greatest of Scottish writers, Robert Burns, wrote to Patrick Miller, Esqr. Dalswinton, Dumfries, of his rather romantic longing to enjoy personal industry as an "old style farmer":

From something in your last, I would wish to explain my idea of being your Tenant. I want to be a farmer in a small farm, about a plough-gang, in a pleasant country, under the auspices of a good landlord. I have no foolish notion of being a Tenant on easier terms than another. To find a farm where one can live at all, is not easy. I only mean living soberly, like an old-style farmer, and joining personal industry. The banks of Nith are as sweet, poetic ground as any I ever saw; and besides, Sir, 'tis but justice to the feelings of my own heart, and the opinion of my best friends, to say that I would wish to call you landlord sooner than any landed gentleman I know. These are my views & wishes; and in whatever way you think best to lay out your farms, I shall be happy to rent one of them.(1)

Patrick Miller was about to re-organize his fields in accordance with the emerging standards of the agricultural revolution -- it was important for him to maximize his return from the land. Burns evidently overlooked the practicalities of rents rising to market levels to keep pace with the developing market economy. He wrote to Mrs. Dunlop of Dunlop in March 1790:

You kindly lament the distance between us: that distance may soon be lessened. My farm [Ellisland] is a ruinous bargain and would ruin me to abide by it. The Excise, notwithstanding all my objections to it, pleases me tolerably well: it is indeed, my sole dependance. At Martinmass 1791, my rent rises to 20 per Annum, and then, I am, on the maturest deliberation, determined to give it up; and still, even then, I shall think myself well quit, if I am no more than a hundred pounds out of pocket. So much for farming! Would to God I had never engaged in it. (2)

The economy was now much more complex than even half a century before. Agricultural trade was vital -- self-sufficiency on the ground (as an "old-style farmer") was no longer a viable lifestyle. In many cases, tenants and even bonnet-lairds completely lost their long-standing connection with the ground, sometimes due to misfortune and, other times, due to some degree of refusal to discard the old attitude of isolated self-sufficiency in favour of the new capitalism.

(1) The Letters of Robert Burns, J. DeLancey Ferguson, Second Edition Edited by G. Ross Roy, Volume I, pg. 162.

(2) The Letters of Robert Burns, J. DeLancey Ferguson, Second Edition Edited by G. Ross Roy, Volume II, pg. 22.

From When the Ground Fails -- An Economic Watershed
The Scarboro Heights Record V11 #12

 

Coming to a Robbie Burns Supper Near You...
Rabbie Burns and Robert Burns and The Lowland Clearances
Contact B. McCowan


Other Burns and
Closely Related Goin's On...
The Lowland Clearances
Contact B. McCowan


Other Burns and
Closely Related Goin's On...
Fall 2004
Other Burns and
Closely Related Goin's On...
Fall 2004

St. Andrew's Ball
Canadian Room of the Royal York Hotel. Reception at 6 PM.
Co-sponsored by the 48th Highlanders and the St. Andrew's Society of Toronto.
Nov. 15 2004

St. Andrew's Day
The Cross of St. Andrew, adopted as the Scottish National flag, is prominently displayed at this time of the year.
November 30 2004

Christmas Revels
California Revels presents the 19th Annual Christmas Revels, this year featuring stories and songs in the glorious Scottish Tradition. Featured performers will include world-renowned soprano Susan Rode Morris, storyteller and musician Kevin Carr, early music specialist Chris Caswell, singer Wendell Brooks, The Solstice Singers, the Revels Highland Dancers and Scottish fiddlers from throughout the Bay Area. Ten Performances at the Scottish Rite Theater, Oakland. For more information please visit www.calrevels.org
December 10th-19th, 2004

 

Burns Suppers
2005

Please Call to Reserve... Now!
(In Toronto Unless Otherwise Noted)

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
The Burns Supper is a longstanding tradition at Toronto's oldest Presbyterian Church.
115 St. Andrew's Rd., Scarborough, Ont., M1P 4N2
Sat. Jan. 15 2005, 6 PM

Clan MacNaughton Pipe Band Burns Supper
www.geocities.com/macnaughtonpipeband

3105 - 101 St. S.W. (Edmonton Scottish Society - in Ellerslie)
Saturday, January 15, 2005 Dinner & Show

Scarborough Red Hackle Pipes and Drums Burns Supper
Co-hosted by and held at Branch 11 of the Royal Canadian Legion (Danforth and Dawes Rd.).
Sunday January 16

St. Andrew's Society of Toronto Burns Supper
The University Club, Toronto
Jan. 21, 2005, 6:30 pm

University of Toronto Faculty Club Robbie Burns Supper
Fri. Jan. 21 2005

Scottish Studies Foundation and Granite Club Burns Supper
The Granite Club, Toronto
Friday Jan. 21 2005

University of Toronto Celtic Society and the Canadian Celtic Arts Association
Robbie Burns Night
Charbonnel Lounge, St. Michael's College, 81 St. Mary Street.
www.geocities.com/canadiancelticarts
January 21, 2005 

Robbie Burns Banquet
Granite Brewery
Jan. 21 2005, 7:00 pm

Scarborough Pipe Band Burns Dinner
Jan. 21 2005

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 606 Burns Supper
With Highland Creek Pipes and Drums and Rintamaki Dance Group
1555 Bayly St., Pickering
Jan. 21 2005

A Nicht wi Burns
Presented by the Fergus Scottish Festival
Royal Canadian Legion, 500 Blair St., Fergus
www.fergusscottishfestival.com
Saturday, January 22, 2005, 5:30

Association for Scottish Traditions and Arts Burns Supper
Clarke Hall, Mississauga
Lakeshore Blvd. at Mississauga Rd.
Saturday, January 22, 2005

Fallingbrook Presbyterian's Burns Dinner and Ceilidh
31 Wood Glen Rd.
Kingston Rd, East of Victoria Park
Saturday, January 22, 2005, 5:30

Robbie Burns Extravaganza at the Old Mill
www.oldmilltoronto.com/
Saturday, January 22, 2005

 


An 1834 Celebration of
Robbie Burns

Participate in a Burns Club gathering the real "auld-fashioned" way!

An 1834 Celebration of
Robbie Burns

Participate in a Burns Club gathering the real "auld-fashioned" way!

Tues. January 25 2005
(Two Sittings: 3 pm and 7 pm)

Hosted by ButnBen Bakery and The Village Tea Room
2967 Kingston Rd, Scarborough
(West end of Cliffcrest Plaza)

Immortal Memory
By a Scarborough pioneer who actually met Burns

Toast to King William: By Henry Cowan, Farmer
Toast to the Army and Navy: By John Torrance, Land Surveyor
Toast to the Upper Canada Government: By James Gibson, Captain of Militia
Toast to the Young Members: By Agnes Hamilton Rae, Farmer
Toast to our Deceased Fathers and Mothers: By William Purdie, Farmer
Toast to the Poets of Scotland: By Archibald Glendinning, Storekeeper

Everyone reads a part!
Who will you be today?

The widow Mary Weir? Opinionated school-girl Catherine Bowes? Stonemason David Thomson? Or his wife, Mary, The Mother of Scarborough? ... Or one of Scarborough’s other early Scots?


St. Andrew's Society of Toronto
Gathering at the statue of Burns in Allan Gardens. Luncheon afterwards.
Jan. 25 2005

Robert Burns Malt Tasting and Dinner
The Ontario Club, 5th Floor, Commerce Court S. (Bay and Wellington St.)
Thurs. Jan. 27 2005, 6:00

Halton/Peel Club Burns Dinner
Guests welcome!
Fri. Jan. 28 2005

St. Paul's United Church Burns Dinner and Celtic Evening
Rebecca St., Oakville
Sat. Jan. 29 2005, 6:00 pm

Highland Creek Pipes and Drums Burns Supper
St. Peter's Church Banquet Hall (Markham Rd. / Milner)
Sat. Jan. 29 2005

Haliburton Legion Burns Night
The Haliburton Highlanders Pipes and Drums will be sponsoring their annual Burns Night.
The band is 34 years old on St. Andrew's Day 2004. The band performs and we have local highland dancers and Scottish country dancers. The Legion ladies serve a buffet with haggis. We have recited Burns poems especially the Ode to the Haggis. We begin with the Grand March and continue with various ceillidh dances.
Saturday, Jan. 29 at the Haliburton Legion,  7:30

St. Andrew's Society of Ottawa Burns Supper
Cedarhill Golf Club, Ottawa
Sat. Jan. 29, 2005

 

Other Burns and
Closely Related Goin's On...
2005

"The Lowland Clearances": The Book, by Peter Aitchison and Andrew Cassell -- more of the data that was gathered for the acclaimed three-part BBC Radio Scotland Series -- Including interviews with descendants of Scarborough's Scottish families (Tuckwell Press) $29.00. Order a copy...

This publication is a followup to the BBC-Radio Scotland series this past spring. The McCowan Society was pleased to help with this exciting investigation into a little-known socio-economic disruption in Scotland.

MacKenzie House Robbie Burns Day Celebration
82 Bond Street
Costumed staff give tours of the home of William Lyon MacKenzie. Gas lighting and period furniture, along with a printing press and gallery make this an interesting location to visit. Regular events include scotch-tastings and the traditional Robbie Burns celebration with haggis and other Scottish specialties.
Jan. 23 2005, 12 noon to 4 pm

Robert Burns Association of North America Annual Conference
In Waukesha, Wisconsin. Hosted by the Robert Burns Club of Milwaukee.
July 29-31, 2005

The Scarboro Heights Record V12 #12

See also our Highland Games / Scottish Festivals page.


Robert Burns Suppers
2004

Please Call to Reserve!!
(In Toronto Unless Otherwise Noted!)

Note: Jan. 25 2004
In the previous two weeks, this page has received a pleasantly surprising 1,600 "hits" -- trust the Burns Suppers on this page were all sell-outs! When you're ready, please send details of your 2005 Burns Supper t
o us. In the meantime, what's the story behind your Burns Supper? Was there any particular Burns Supper that was particularly memorable -- for, perhaps, no particular reason? If you send it to me, I'll put it here.

 

Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club Robbie Burns Night
30 Ashbridges' Bay Park Road, Toronto, M4L3W6
Jan. 17 2004

Clan MacNaughton Pipe Band Robbie Burns Supper
www.geocities.com/macnaughtonpipeband/kilt.html
Sat. Jan 17 2004, 5:30

Fallingbrook Group of RSCDS presents their Annual Burns Dinner
Westview Presbyterian Church, 233 Westview Blvd. (O'Connor & Yardley)
www.rscdstoronto.org/group.html
Jan 23 2004

C Scot R Officers' Mess Robbie Burns Fundraising Supper
Mailing: 715 Bay St. Victoria, BC, V8T1R1
www.cscotrofficersmess.com
Jan 23 2004

Robbie Burns Supper
Prince Albert Legion Hall
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
Jan 23 2004, 6 pm

University of Toronto Faculty Club 25th Annual Robbie Burns Supper
Fri. Jan. 23 2004, 6:30 pm

St. Paul's Presbyterian Church: Canadian Robbie Burns Supper
100 Robinson St, B-2 Simcoe, Ont., N3Y1W8
www.stpaulssimcoe.com
Friday, Jan. 23 2004, 6 pm

Sunnybrook Hospital Burns Program
Will Fyffe and Sir Harry Lauder songs, Robert Burns poetry ... all part of a special program in the Veterans' Wing of Sunnybrook Hospital, Toronto.
Jan. 23 2004

Bayview Club Robbie Burns Supper
www.bayview.club.com/social_events.html
Friday, Jan. 23 2004

Celtic Society, University of Toronto and Canadian Celtic Arts Association
Jointly present their Annual Robbie Burns Dinner
Upper Brennan Hall, St. Michael's College, University of Toronto, 81 St. Mary's St.
Fri. Jan 23, 2004, 7 pm

St. David's Anglican Church Robbie Burns Lunch
1796 Lawrence Ave. W., Toronto
Jan 23 2004, 12 Noon

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church
The Burns Supper is a longstanding tradition at Toronto's oldest Presbyterian Church.
115 St. Andrew's Rd., Scarborough, Ont., M1P 4N2
Sat. Jan. 24 2004, 6 PM

Robbie Burns Supper and Dance
Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Mass.
The Brigadoons, Glengarry County, Ontario
www.thebrigadoons.com
Jan. 24 2004

Glenview Burns' Dinner
You are invited to join Glenview social group for their Burns' Night -- an evening of poetry, dance and song. Traditional Scottish Fare, catered by Peter Asmus, will feature a succulent roast beef dinner followed by Peter's legendary sweet table. This is a "not to be missed" event.
Reception 7:00 p.m. Dinner 7:30 p.m.
Lawrence Park Community Church, 2180 Bayview Avenue, Toronto
Saturday, January 24, 2004

A Nicht wi Burns
Presented by the Fergus Scottish Festival and Fergus Robbie Burns Society
Fergus and District Community Centre
550 Belsyde Ave., Fergus, Ont.
www.fergusscottishfestival.com
Saturday, January 24, 2004, 5:30

Robbie Burns Supper Celebration at the Old Mill
www.oldmilltoronto.com/robbieburns.html
Saturday, January 24, 2004

Renfrew Highland Pipes and Drums Robbie Burns Supper
Tickets available from band members or at the Legion, Renfrew, Ontario.
www.renfrewontario.com/events/events.htm
Saturday, January 24, 2004

Association for Scottish Traditions and Arts Burns Dinner and Ceilidh
Clarke Hall, Mississauga
Sound and light rendition of Burns' famous poem, "Tam O'Shanter".
Saturday, January 24, 2004

5th Annual Bobbie Burns Dinner
The Tartan Dinner Group of Marin County, California
Jan 25 2004

NWT Pipe Band Burns Night
Yellowknife Elks Hall. Northwest Territories. Tickets available at Sutherland's Drugs.
www.nwtpipeband.ca
Saturday, January 31, 2004



Other Burns and
Closely Related Goin's On...
2004

"The Lowland Clearances": The Book, by Peter Aitchison and Andrew Cassell -- more of the data that was gathered for the acclaimed three-part BBC Radio Scotland Series -- Including interviews with descendants of Scarborough's Scottish families (Tuckwell Press) $29.00. Order a copy...

This publication is a followup to the BBC-Radio Scotland series this past spring. The McCowan Society was pleased to help with this exciting investigation into a little-known socio-economic disruption in Scotland.

Rutherford House Robbie Burns Poetry Readings
A family event featuring dancing, address to the haggis and haggis-on-a- cracker.
Rutherford House Provincial Historic Site
11153 Sask Drive, Edmonton
Sunday, Jan. 18 2004, 12 noon to 4 pm

MacKenzie House
82 Bond Street
Hours: Sat & Sun: Noon - 5 pm
Costumed staff give tours of the home of William Lyon MacKenzie. Gas lighting and period furniture, along with a printing press and gallery make this an interesting location to visit. Regular events include scotch-tastings and the traditional Robbie Burns dinner of haggis and other Scotch specialties.
Sunday, Jan. 25 2004, 12 noon to 4 pm

The Red Hackle Dinner
48th Highlanders Warrant Officers and Sergeants Mess in Moss Park Armories.
www.blackwatchcanada.com/en/torassoc.htm
January 10 2004

Robbie Burns 8Km Road Race
Central High School, Burlington, Ont.
www.burlingtonrunners.com/contact_us.html
Jan. 25 2004, 9:30 am

Scarborough Sunday Concert -- Robbie Burns Day Celebration
Peter Glen Band
Jan. 25, 2004, 2 pm

Agincourt Fiddlers Ceilidh Concert
Melville Presbyterian Church, 70 Old Kingston Rd., Scarborough
All proceeds to Habitat for Humanity, Toronto.
Jan. 30, 2004, 8 pm

Howick in the Park
This annual event in Auckland, New Zealand, routinely attracts 20,000 visitors. The event is based on the Chinese New Year but each year a different theme is featured. For 2004 a Scottish theme has been chosen with a tribute to Robbie Burns foremost. With massed pipe bands, Clan march past, Highland Games, Scottish dancing etc.
Auckland, New Zealand
Jan. 31 2004

Christmas Revels
California Revels presents the 19th Annual Christmas Revels, this year featuring stories and songs in the glorious Scottish Tradition. Featured performers will include world-renowned soprano Susan Rode Morris, storyteller and musician Kevin Carr, early music specialist Chris Caswell, singer Wendell Brooks, The Solstice Singers, the Revels Highland Dancers and Scottish fiddlers from throughout the Bay Area. Ten Performances at the Scottish Rite Theater, Oakland. For more information please visit www.calrevels.org
December 10th-19th, 2004.

Robert Burns Association of North America

The Scarboro Heights Record V12 #1

See also our Highland Games / Scottish Festivals page.

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