Early Ontario Duries

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'Scots' in Ontario

During the Durie Family Gathering in 2014 we were all invited by Andrew Bruce, Earl of Elgin and Kincardine,  to attend in Dunfermline Abbey the Bruce family’s Service of Thanksgiving to commemorate the 700th Anniversary of King Robert’s victory and magnanimity at Bannockburn.  As there were several representatives of the Canadian forces taking part in the service Canadian DFA Member Gary Durie researched some of the background to this involvement for this unique event.

'Scots' in Ontario:  A Brief Overview by Gary Durie

The 2011 Canadian census indicates that 4,714,970 Canadians trace their heritage to Scotland. 

Before the Conquest of New France in 1759, the number of Scots arriving on Canadian shores was relatively small; it was based primarily on those Highlanders who were seeking political and religious freedom following the uprisings in 1715 and 1745.

However, immigration went on the upswing following the conquest, primarily from those interested in farming.  During the Pontiac uprising in the early 1760s, a number of Scots settled in Truro, Nova Scotia, from New Hampshire. The 1773 arrival in Pictou, Nova Scotia, of 200 Scots in the ship Hector is well documented, as is the 800 settlers brought by Lord Selkirk to Prince Edward Island in 1803.

The Ontario, or Upper Canada as it was then called, Scots would come in large groups, primarily following the American Revolution, which concluded in 1783.  Scots would settle in the counties of Perth, Elgin, Stormont, Dundas, Glangarry, Lanark, and Bruce.

The Georgian Bay area is home to Bruce County, the Bruce Peninsula (100 km. long by 38 km. wide), and more recently, the Bruce Trail (720 km. long footpath between Queenston Heights and Tobermory).  It is named after James Bruce, 8th Earl of Elgin, 12th Earl of Kincardine.  Elgin was Canada’s 6th Governor General, holding the position from 1846 to 1854.  

Tensions in Europe (i.e.: Crimean war) and in the U.S. (i.e., the U.S. Civil War) in the 1850s and 1860s would lead to the formation of numerous volunteer militia companies across Canada. Five such companies would be consolidated on September 14, 1866 into the 25th Elgin Battalion of Infantry.  In 1920 it was re-designated the Elgin Regiment, and during the Second World War, it became an armoured regiment.  It presently has another function and is known as the 31st Combat Engineers (The Elgins).  Its honorary colonel is Andrew Bruce, Lord Elgin, who invited the Duries to join his family for the service in Dunfermline, Scotland.

Gary Durie - July 2014

We would like any Canadian Duries or those with Durie connections who feel they could be included in this section to send us their names and some information about their lives and their families. Please send your story and if possible photographs as well to secretary@duriefamily.co.uk. All will be reviewed and may be used in a Newsletter &/or posted on the website. Durie Family Association members will, we hope, be able to provide detail they have on parents, grandparents and ancestors to help us all build up our extended Family Tree.

If you have someone or a history for us to consider adding to the website please send your copy (attached in Word Document or Plain Text only) by email, accessible from our Contact page. If possible attach photographs in Jpeg format (.jpg). All information will be reviewed and may be used in a Newsletter and/or posted on the website and shared with the family genealogist.

We hope you will also be able to provide details have on parents, grandparents and ancestors to help us build up our extended Family Tree.

There is an historical information section on Overseas Duries included in '750 Years of Duries' by Dr Bruce Durie. Click Here

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