Unfortunately, since the onslaught of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020 we have been unable to continue with the Scottish Studies "Oor Club." From its first meeting in 1993, the Club was essentially an informal monthly gathering of people who had an interest in matters relating to Scotland, and although attendees had an interest in Scottish studies, it was not officially connected with the Scottish Studies Foundation or Society. However, at each session attendees donated about $10 to the Scottish Studies Foundation and so it was one of our donors.

At the Club, guests were invited to give presentations on a variety of topics of interest to members of the Scottish Studies Foundation and others interested in the things that Scots in Canada and overseas are getting up to. The presentations usually last about an hour (pronounced "oor" in Scots), hence the name. Everyone was invited to attend as the meetings were open to all.

The idea came from Scottish folk singer and artist Enoch Kent (pictured above) who moved to the Toronto area from Glasgow. Enoch had heard about the original Oor Club where people met in two old tenement houses next door to one another in Duke Street in Glasgow back in the 1700s. The wall between the two tenements was knocked down with one house forming the speakers' room and the other the bar. Notable speakers were invited to deliver a topic on which they had expertise, with a set time limit of no more than one hour. Legend has it that that Robert Burns paid a visit to the original club which was the exact opposite from the already established and rather snobbish clubs in the city which subjected would-be members to detailed scrutiny. Instead the original Oor Club prided itself on having no members and no rules, something Enoch Kent wanted to replicate in Toronto. A short clip of a young Enoch Kent on Scottish Television can be seen here.


For many years, our Oor Club coordinator was Pearl Grieve-Nixon seen in the above photo from the cover of one of her CDs (her stage name is Pearl White). Pearl was, and still is, an accomplished jazz singer. In her role as our Oor Club coordinator,Pearl enthusiastically came up with a wide variety of interesting presenters who come along to educate, inform and entertain everyone present.Thanks to Pearl's hard work in making the Oor Club such a great success the donations received from the Club totaled many thousands of dollars. At the Oor Club a few years ago, Pearl teamed up with pianist David Restivo to entertain us with a repertoire of jazz classics and you can listen to her singing here.