James Allan was born in Kinnears Mills Quebec on September 3rd, 1968, he is 7th generation and comes from a long line of Scottish ancestry. His parents, Lawrence Allan and Audrey Guy were active in the community.
James can trace his roots back to Bannochburn where his ancestors farmed the land prior to emigrating to Canada. When arriving in Canada his fore-bearers were granted 500 acres of land in the Kinnears Mills area and each of the three sons received 100 acres. An interesting anecdote to the parcels of land was that each lot was named after farms in Bannochburn -- Burnside farm for example is where James lives today and is named after a farm in Bannochburn -- both the Burnside Farm and the Kinnears Mills farm have streams running down through the property. Another farm in Kinnears Mills belongs to his brother and is named Blinkbonnie.
James is a carpenter by trade and also sits on City Council, he has remained in Kinnears Mills all his life and his family has continued to promote the Canadian-Scottish culture within the region of Kinnears Mills, Inverness and Thetford Mines. James is President of the Heritage Kinnears Mills and through this effort has helped to maintain celtic roots information in the area along with helping to restore and maintain the four churches in the town -- Presbyterian now United Church, the Methodist, Catholic and Anglican Church and is a member of the Megantic English-Speaking Community Development Corporation. James also dabbles in different farming activity including producing maple syrup the 'old way' by gathering the buckets with horses.
James connection to the Scottish Culture has been evident throughout his life, his uncle Richard Allan designed the Eastern Townships tartan. James learned to play piano and bass fiddle at a young age and has played with many celtic bands over the years, as well as calling square dancing. He organizes the annual Kinnears Mills Celtic festival which has blossomed over the last 8 years and with his dedicated had work continues to receives grants to help continue to grow the festival. James organizes the annual Robbie Burns evening and this event enjoys a continued growth in attendance.
Ian Aitken has been a solid supporter of the Scottish Community in Montreal for decades.
Serving on Council of the St. Andrew’s Society and then as its President, Ian quietly yet in a businesslike manner introduced new methods to running the Society while at the same time passionately promoting everything the Society did.
He was instrumental in reviving the Montreal Highland Games in 2014 and remains a generous supporter both personally and through his company – Pembroke Management, where he is the President and Chief Executive Officer. He is an organizer of the Alex Hutchison Award for piping, an Honorary Member of the Black Watch Pipes and Drums, a member of the committee establishing the McGill Chair in Canadian-Scottish Studies and a Patron of the National Trust for Scotland.
He also has the unique designation of “Keeper of the Quaichs” for the Society. Ian was recognized for his contribution in 2012 when he received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. In addition to his commitment to the Scottish community,
Ian is devoted to building a more entrepreneurial country and is the Founder and Chairman of Enactus Canada and a Director of the John Dobson Foundation.
Ian spent many summers in the Highlands of Scotland as a child and has been one of Montreal’s links to the old country. He has danced at the Royal Caledonian Ball, been invited to the Palace of Holyroodhouse and facilitated the invitation of many of the Guests of Honour to the St. Andrew’s Ball.
Ian is dedicated to his family. He was married in a kilt and his three children have each been the Page or Flower Girl at the Ball.
Ian’s passionate commitment to promoting the Scottish community and preserving its legacy over many years, in many ways,makes him a model “Scotsman of the Year”.