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Canada and Caledonia

THE links between Scotland and Canada are rightly cherished; Scots did much to build the modern nation across the Atlantic, and it in turn gave refuge and succour to many thousands from these shores.

Among the most celebrated Scots Canadians were John A Macdonald, Canada's first Prime Minister, whose Glasgow home has recently been the subject of international attention in anticipation of the bicentenary of his birth.

Now another renowned political figure whose forebears made the arduous journey across the ocean in the early part of the 19th century, John Diefenbaker - who in 1957 became Canada's 13th Prime Minister - is to be celebrated in his native heath.

Tomorrow the Timespan Museum in Helmsdale launches its Diefenbaker's North project, which for the rest of the year will focus on the story of Mr Diefenbaker and his Bannerman mother's ancestors, who departed the strath of Kildonan in 1813. It is fitting to recall that in 1968 on a visit to honour his Highland heritage Mr Diefenbaker unveiled a memorial cairn to John A Macdonald.

Canada holds its Caledonian connection in high esteem; the affection is undoubtedly mutual.

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