Sunday, September 30 2:00pm

Skye Pioneers by John Westlie

John Westlie, one of the two owners of Selkirk Stories, an independent Prince Edward Island publisher, will speak on “Malcolm Macqueen and the Writing of Skye Pioneers.” In his talk, he will speak about his archival research, both in Prince Edward Island and Manitoba, into the life and writing of Malcolm Macqueen (1878-1960), an “Islander abroad” who was born on Prince Edward Island but went to Winnipeg in 1904, where he made his home for the rest of his life. Skye Pioneers and “The Island” (1929) is the fruit of Macqueen’s investigation into the past of the community where he was born.

Skye Pioneers is one of the first, if not the first, published work of genealogy and family history treating the settlers from Skye, Scotland, who came to Prince Edward Island, Canada, in the 19th Century and went on to occupy positions of prominence in Canada and North America. This book is frequently cited as the source of information for later published works. This makes it an indispensable resource for anyone interested in the settlers who came to Prince Edward Island aboard the Earl of Selkirk’s three ships (the Polly, Oughton and Dykes) in 1803 or aboard the Mary Kennedy in 1829, as well as for those studying the founding of communities like Belfast, Orwell and Uigg.

The life of Malcolm Macqueen is an immigrant success story. Born in Orwell, a graduate (and later Principal) of the Uigg Grammar School, he left Prince Edward Island to pursue a Bachelor of Arts from Queen’s University in Ontario in 1903 and then went west to Winnipeg where he began a legal career. Winnipeg at the beginning of the 20th Century was one of the fastest growing cities in Canada and offered ample opportunities to ambitious young men. Macqueen seized the opportunities offered by the real estate boom in Manitoba in partnership with Major Schurman of the prominent Schurman family of Summerside, Prince Edward Island. From all appearances, he prospered and led a comfortable life. His wife, the former Harriet Murgatroyd (“Maud”) Riley, was the daughter of one of the most powerful and influential men in Winnipeg. Yet in 1918, at barely forty years of age, Macqueen seems to have retired from his real estate law practice to devote himself to studying the history of his native province, and more specifically of the Belfast area. Skye Pioneers (1929) is the first publication to come from this study, with a second book, Hebridean Pioneers to follow in 1957. Malcolm Macqueen died in 1960 in Winnipeg, where he had continued to make his home despite his devotion to the past of Prince Edward Island.

John Westlie, publisher of the 2018 edition of Skye Pioneers, will speak at the McCulloch Heritage Centre at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 30, about what he has discovered about Malcolm Macqueen and how he came to write Skye Pioneers. He will also outline his plans for further research and writing about this little-studied “Islander abroad” (as Islanders living in other provinces were called in the early years of the 20th Century). Copies of the book will be available for sale for $30 (tax included) at the talk. Copies of The MacLeods of Prince Edward Island by Harold A. MacLeod, first published in 1983 and republished in 2017, will also be available for $45 each.

The mission of Selkirk Stories is “telling the stories of Prince Edward Island.”  One way we carry out that mission is by republishing out-of-print books on Prince Edward Island and Scottish heritage such as The MacLeods of Prince Edward Island (1983) and Skye Pioneers and “The Island.” But we also publish fiction. Margaret A. Westlie, the other owner of Selkirk Stories, will read excerpts from her latest Scottish Pioneers novel, The Back Settlement (2017). Copies of The Back Settlement and other novels by Margaret A. Westlie will be available for sale for $20 each (tax included).

Tuesday, October 16 6:00 pm 

Barry Shears presents 'Play it Like You Sing It' book launch & concert 

Join us for a bagpipe book launch concert and presentation to celebrate the publication of PLAY IT LIKE YOU SING IT: THE SHEARS COLLECTION, a groundbreaking new collection of bagpipe dance music from Nova Scotia by Barry W. Shears.

The history of the Great Highland bagpipes in Nova Scotia began in the 1750s. Scottish and Highland piping traditions continued in Nova Scotia for over 250 years, through periods of immigration, community building, Confederation, economic outmigration, and two world wars. In Gaelic communities of the mainland and Cape Breton, throughout the 19th-century bagpipe music was interwoven with fiddle music, Gaelic singing, and traditional and evolving dance traditions. A unique form of dance music emerged and flourished in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, characterized by lively jigs and rousing strathspeys, reels, and quicksteps. Many of these tunes existed in multiple regional variations before the modern standardization of piping. Many also had corresponding Gaelic words known as puirt-á-beul, or mouth music, which were often used to teach and transmit pipe music within in families and communities, as well as providing enjoyment in daily life.

Volume One of the Shears Collection tells the story, through history, culture, and images, of the many families and individuals who maintained this important aspect of Nova Scotia Gaelic culture despite adversity.

Volume Two of the Shears Collection presents bagpipe arrangements and their Gaelic words as they were played and sung in Nova Scotia. The book contains 230 settings of pipe tunes, 19 fiddle tune settings connected to the piping tradition, and over 85 sets of port-á-beul lyrics.

Each volume is sold separately. Books will be available for purchase and signing by the author. 

School Programs

The McCulloch House Museum tells the story of the development and progress in education that Pictou Academy has made to the culture and identity of Nova Scotia.

The "History Detective" program was developed as a collaborative project between NS Museums and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. This Museum Toolbox was designed to meet the curriculum goals and objectives of all grade levels.

It is of special interest to participants because it involves the very beginning of public education.