University of Toronto
Thursday April 12, 2012
Margaret Atwood with Scot of the Year John Fraser
Visitors to the University of Toronto's historic Hart House on Thursday April 12 might have easily mistaken it for a Scottish castle as it came alive to the skirl of the pipes and the swirl of the tartan as the Scottish Studies Society presented John Fraser with its annual "Scot of the Year Award," honouring individuals having achieved distinction through their contribution to Canadian society or the international community at large.
At the event, distinguished guests from Canada's literary scene included Margaret Atwood and her husband and fellow author Graeme Gibson. Also present, and acting as the evening's MC, was be Douglas Gibson, former publisher and now author of "Stories About Storytellers" which provides a fascinating insight into 40 years publishing some of Canada’s sharpest minds and greatest storytellers including Alice Munro, Robertson Davies, Alistair MacLeod, Pierre Trudeau and others.
Other guests included Florence Richler, widow of the great Canadian novelist and satirist, Mordecai Richler and the Hon. Diana Bradshaw, daughter of Lord Polwarth, head of the branch of the Scott family from which Sir Walter Scott was always proud to say he belonged. Diana is the widow of Richard Bradshaw, former General Director of the Canadian Opera Company the visionary behind the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto, Canada's first purpose-built opera house.
From Scotland, guests included Raymond McGovern and Helen Webster from Scottish Development International, a joint venture between the Scottish Government and its economic development agencies aimed at solidifying contacts between Canada and Scotland.
John Anderson Fraser is one of Canada’s most accomplished academics in the field of journalism, born in Montreal in 1944 and raised in Toronto. After graduating from Memorial University he took further degrees in England and became a journalist with the old Toronto Telegram. At The Globe and Mail he made the surprising direct ascent from Drama Critic to Chinese Correspondent, which provided him with the material for his successful book, “The Chinese, Portrait of a People” (1980).
He has since written seven other books, and last month published "The Secret of the Crown -- Canada's Affair With Royalty" which explores the endurance and allure of the Crown in Canada. With his trademark wit and artful agility, John looks at the Crown's evolution from the Age of Deference to the era of celebrity to the present popular revival. The book was showcased at the event and John had his favourite pen set aside with which to sign copies.
He was the Editor of Saturday Night Magazine from 1987 to 1994, moving on in 1995 to his current position as Master of Massey College in the University of Toronto. There, besides his teaching and administrative duties, he busies himself with contributions to a host of volunteer boards. Proudly aware of his own Scottish heritage, he is an active participant in many Scottish events.
Prior to the event we were delighted to receive An Ode to John Fraser on his appointment as Scot of the Year especially composed by Scottish writer Alexander McCall Smith, author of the beloved bestselling No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series and other books. You can read the complete Ode here. You can also read John's letter from H.R.H The Duke of Edinburgh here.
Music and entertainment during the evening was be provided by Cape Breton's own Sandy MacIntyre with his Band "Steeped in Tradition" as well as by piper John Wakefield (piper to the late Queen Mother), soloist Pearle Grieve-Nixon, Highland Dancers from the Toronto's Richardson School of Dance and violinist Stefanie Hutka. A selection of paintings from Toronto-based artist Jeanne Isley's Scottish Collection was on display and representatives from the Glenfiddich Distillery conducted a tasting of 12 year old and 15 year old single malt Scotch whiskies and provided Glenfiddich 18 year old for the toast.
We do hope you enjoy the following photographs of the event, most of which were taken by Scottish Studies Foundation Director Doug Ross. A complete selection of his photogaphs can be seen here.
John Fraser introduces his new book "The Secret of the Crown"
to his friend James Anderson
Representative from the Glenfiddich Distillery captivates an audience of distinguished guests at a tasting of 12 year old and 15 year old Glenfiddich single malt Scotch
Nicola and Sharyn Thomas-Counce with Darren Purse, Cairngorm Scottish Imports.
Nicola and Sharyn are with Jesson + Company and, together with President Barbara Jesson, worked hard to ensure the Glenfiddich tasting went smoothly
Robert Buchan, Scot of the Year 2011 and Richard Wernham, Scot of the Year 2010
join John Fraser on stage for presentation of this year's award
Violinist Stefanie Hutka. Stefanie has been performing at many of our events
since her early teens. During the evening she gave a magnificent solo
performance of "Palladio" composed by Welsh Composer Karl Jenkins
and inspired by the sixteenth-century Italian architect Andrea Palladio
A still from Doug Ross's video of David Campbell giving the
"Address to the Haggis."
Click here for the complete video
Doug Ross and Mary Vigrow at the reception desk
More information about John Fraser
More information about "The Secret of the Crown"
PreviousScots of the Year
History of the Scottish Studies Foundation
The Glenfiddich Range of single malt Scotch whiskies
Media Release: Immigration and Literature Course at Humber Campus
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