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Back to the future as Ayr gives its Canadian namesake a glimpse of the past

 07 July 2017  |  


Ann Galbraith will make the presentation on behalf of South Ayrshire Provost, Helen Moonie.

Ann Galbraith will make the presentation on behalf of South Ayrshire Provost, Helen Moonie.

A transatlantic journey is set to go full circle when a gift from the people of Ayr is given to the town's Canadian namesake. A delegation is heading out to celebrate the towns shared history as part of the country's 150th birthday celebrations.

With its distinctive spire and winding River Nith there's a distinctly Scottish feel to Ayr, Ontario. And even though the settlement is now part of the North Dumfries Township, to the east of Hamilton, the town has its roots firmly planted in Ayrshire.

John Galt from Irvine, the famous novelist, became the secretary of the Canada Company in 1824 and encouraged emigration to the area. In 1840 a post office was established near the settlement of Mudge's Mill which became known as Ayr, and eventually replaced the old settlement name. The Canadian town currently has a population of around 4,100.

Given their shared history the two towns have enjoyed links in the past. In August 1969 a painting "Cedar Creek entering the Nith River" by Peter Etril Snyder was donated to the burgh by the Ayr – Paris Band. Said to be the only painting of the area from that period, a print of the painting will be presented back to the community almost half a century later.

The picture, along with a facsimile of the Burgh Charter and a copy of Strawhorn's History of Ayr, will be handed over to the Ayr – Paris band at a special concert being staged on 14 July to mark Canada's 150th anniversary. The concert will be attended by council ambassador for the event, Ann Galbraith, and the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra, on behalf of South Ayrshire Provost, Helen Moonie. 

Provost Moonie, said it was important to keep the existing bonds alive, "People from Ayrshire settled abroad in their thousands in the 19th century, helping to shape new towns around the world, which is something we should celebrate.

"Our ties with Ayr, Ontario are plain to see, and it's fitting that we continue to explore our shared bonds which stretch back through generations and make them relevant to people living in both communities today.

"I'm sure the gesture will be appreciated and with the Ayrshire Fiddle Orchestra also playing at the event I'm sure we'll leave a lasting impression. I look forward to strengthening our ties in future and would welcome a delegation from our Canadian namesakes should they ever choose to return to their spiritual home."

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